IoT startup VeriSolutions, an Atlanta-based startup that focuses on compliance for the food service industry, is looking to grow following its Series A funding round. The round was led by Fortune 500 materials manufacturer Avery Dennison Corporation with contributions from Atlanta Seed Company and Service Provider Capital.
Though the exact breakdown of the funding was not reported, the total amount raised is just above $2.4 million in an offering that can go up to $4 million.
VeriSolutions was founded in 2015 by Michael Crocker, an entrepreneur who formerly founded a medical imaging startup with his physician father. After that company was acquired in 2014, Crocker began to examine the role IoT sensors could play in healthcare compliance, to keep people safe in hospital settings.
However, as he talked to stakeholders, he realized there was another industry that was missing a compliance solution necessary for health and safety: food service.
“As I began to talk to people in the food service industry, I realized this was an opportunity where compliance was a huge problem and they were underserved from a technology standpoint,” says Crocker.
His original idea was a sensor to monitor hand washing, but once again, customer discovery steered him in a different direction.
“I talked to this one chef who said, you know, we think hand hygiene compliance is really interesting, but probably the biggest challenge we have is around temperature management.”
Chefs and restaurant employees conduct multiple temperature and equipment audits every day to ensure food ingredients are being stored safely. Crocker says these tests, which sometimes must be logged up to ten times a day, are most commonly tracked with pen and a clipboard.
Enter the VeriSolutions sensor: a lightweight, cloud-based tool that monitors temperatures in refrigerators, coolers and freezers, and alerts chefs by text message or email when anything is amiss. The accompanying software allows restaurant owners and employees to see a full picture of their kitchen operations and includes task management features to ensure everyone is staying compliant with FDA food safety guidelines.
The first sensor was deployed in 2017 at Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Atlanta, and by the end of the year, the startup had 100 paying locations.
They also began talking to Avery Dennison, a global manufacturer of materials, labels, and other products used for food service, amongst other industries. VeriSolutions signed a distribution agreement with the corporation to license and sell their temperature monitoring tools to Avery’s thousands of food industry customers worldwide.
This financing round will help the startup scale up to handle that customer acquisition. While most of their customers now are in the QSR (quick-service restaurant) space, the Avery relationship will allow them to play in all types of food service locations.
They’ll also use the funding for product development. Crocker has a vision to expand VeriSolutions’ tools beyond the restaurant space and across the entire food continuum.
“We see a big opportunity to expand our platform to track compliance of food from the time it’s produced on a farm or in a facility, to when its transported, right to when it’s consumed by people in restaurants,” he says.
The funding round also includes two Atlanta-based venture capital funds, which Crocker says was a very intentional decision.
“When we were going out raising capital, we wanted to bring in a corporate who could provide us with resources like distribution, sales, marketing support, but then also bring in some financial investors who were local in Atlanta,” he tells Hypepotamus.
The company currently employs about a dozen and plans to roughly double over two years. Previously they had raised about $2.9 million in friends and family seed financing.