Membo to expand virtual farmers market delivery across Europe

Estonia based Membo has plans to expand its locally produced groceries operations across Europe.

Membo is an app-based marketplace for local food producers to sell directly to customers, cutting out middlemen and ultimately getting higher margins than selling through high street stores.

The food producers display their goods on the Membo app that the firm describes as a ‘virtual farmer’s market’ and allows customers to buy from multiple high quality local producers and to have it all delivered in one go.

Producers send their goods to a central warehouse where it is packaged for individual customers.

At present the Membo system offers one of three delivery days a week for goods to be sent to the customers, who can have their goods delivered in 24 hours after delivery.

Currently Membo operates in Tallin and Tartu in Estonia, and makes commission from the vendors on its marketplace.

Launching in December 2020, it has seen a 30% month on month revenue growth over the last eight months, amounting to more than 4,000 orders sent out and customer numbers growing to 1,400.“Everything that we’re doing stems from the insight that people ordering their weekly groceries actually care much more about freshness and quality of their food than they actually care about 15-minute deliveries,” says co-founder and CEO Vahur Hansen, who cut his startup teeth working as an early engineer for TransferWise (now Wise).

“Coming from that insight we set out to build a model that can guarantee that when you order from us, every item in your cart always arrives as the freshest version possible. As an example… when you order trout from us the same trout was caught the day before. You get dairy produce that was specifically prepared for your delivery. You get oranges that were picked from the tree 24 hours ago. That’s the sort of reality that we’re focused on.”

“The product, from a fundamental point of view, is built for Europeans — and sort of for the European mentality,” he also tells TechCrunch. “It’s not new for people [here] to have this sort of mission/feel on being able to consume local produce. Europeans all over, in every country, they know that they need to support their local producers but they also know that local producers really make the best products for them. And for us the bigger goal is to build a cross-European, high-quality producer network — coupled with very efficient logistics — so that we can, anywhere, deliver high-quality local producers across Europe.”

Currently the last-mile delivery side is outsourced to delivery parters while the firm focuses on the overall logistics side.

“When we started with this product we realised that we’re more of a logistics company than an actual store. So everything that we do is logistics in trying to figure out how to organise the quickest producer to end customer delivery.”

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