Crowd Cow, a Seattle-based online platform linking independent “craft meat” producers with consumers, has raised $8 million in Series A financing led by Madrona Venture Group. A company news release says new participation came from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary's Sound Ventures, and from existing investors including Joe Montana of Liquid 2 Ventures.
Crowd Cow says the new financing will help add more ranches and farms to its online platform, “further improve its innovative supply chain, and go all-in on the search for new and unique flavors in categories like Craft Beef, Pastured Chicken, Heritage Pork, and beyond.”
Launched in 2015, Crow Cow claims to be a unique, “curated ranch to table service” that gives consumers access to “a quality of meat not available in stores, along with a transparency you don't see anywhere else in the meat industry.”
Scott Jacobson, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, said, “Crowd Cow is applying technology to a market that hasn't seen much change in the past 50 years. By combining transparency with a great consumer experience, they are building a company and brand that has the power to transform not only the lives of their consumers, but of their suppliers.”
Founded by Joe Heitzeberg, a startup veteran from Madrona Venture Labs, and Ethan Lowry, a founder of Urbanspoon, Crowd Cow was initially launched as a crowdfunding campaign for a single cow in which the entrepreneurs invited 100 of their friends to buy shares and get access to locally-sourced meat. As proof-of-concept, the first cow sold out within 24 hours, and the business generated $1 million in sales before expanding nationwide last summer. The company expanded its curated offerings to include unique flavors in specialized cuts of chicken, pork, and olive wagyu, as well as expanded to provide nationwide delivery.
"We've spent a ton of time on the road looking for and meeting with suppliers with great reputations and amazing-tasting meat," said Ethan Lowry, co-founder of Crowd Cow. "It's gratifying to know we're exposing consumers to greater variety of choice in their food selections, and are helping support small, local farmers."