Airmart has raised $8.2M to make eCommerce more affordable for food producers

Airmart has raised $8.2M from investors of Airbnb, Facebook, and Eventbrite to make eCommerce more affordable for food producers. The a16z and Craft Ventures-backed startup offers free stores for the growing number of farms, chefs, and bakeries looking to sell online. In the last two years, Airmart merchants have had $100 million in revenue from 1.5 million orders from 150,000 customers in 200+ cities.

These days, food businesses cannot afford not to be online. Online orders currently account for about 40% of restaurant sales. Experts predict food and beverage sales will represent 21% of total eCommerce revenue in the US by 2027. Airmart’s mission is to make sure no business owners are left behind.

“This funding will help us develop the best ecommerce solution for food producers, so businesses of all sizes can grow and thrive,” said Airmart CEO Leo Liu.

The Pandemic Pivot

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, food businesses scrambled to pivot to online ordering. Airmart’s user-friendly solution offered an easy way to sell online.

Unlike the leading eCommerce platforms Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace, Airmart has the preordering, inventory, and fulfillment tools necessary for selling food. While other food-focused apps like DoorDash, Barn2Door, and Farmigo charge hefty fees, Airmart has remained affordable for small, family-owned businesses and first-time entrepreneurs.

The platform also provided a source of income during a time when many people were out of work. Bakers like Priscilla and Kei used Airmart to open their own businesses during the pandemic.

Airmart even helped a San Francisco coffee shop launch a new cannoli delivery venture when the cafe business was slow.

chocolate cannoli pistachio cannoli
Cannoli & Co. cannoli

Bringing Farmers Online

Due to the pandemic and the growing demand for sustainable, organic products, farmers in particular are increasingly adopting eCommerce platforms. Selling directly to consumers online allows farmers to save time and maximize profits.

Many farmers have joined Airmart to offer delivery and CSA subscriptions:

180 Fruit Stand: Owner Joseph Hsu shares his Airmart shop link in Facebook groups to reach customers all over the Bay Area.

Oya Organics: This family-owned farm switched to Airmart when their WooCommerce site became difficult to maintain. “The Airmart mobile app is perfect for farmers, who are often out in the field and have no time to sit at a computer,” says co-owner Marsha Habib.

The Oya Organics family

Urban microgreen farms are currently a fast-growing vertical, with new microgreen farmers signing up for the platform each week.

#1 Platform for Group Buying

Thanks to the support of investors, Airmart will continue to establish itself as the ideal e-commerce platform for food producers.

Currently, Airmart is the #1 e-commerce platform for community group buying in the US. The nonprofit Giving Fruits utilizes group buying by bulk ordering produce from farms for individual neighborhoods. The organization then donates the cost savings and leftover food to the homeless and other local causes.

Founder Maria Gregorio got the idea from a Nextdoor post where a neighbor offered to organize a group buy of farm-fresh cherries for their neighborhood in Palo Alto. She reached out to the cherry farmer and steadily built a list of farm contacts to create a thriving nonprofit where neighbors help neighbors through community group buying.