Singapore-based vegan consumer products review platform abillionVeg today announced it has closed a S$700,000 (US$500,000) seed funding round from eight investors, including New York-based 1/0 Capital and Zurich-based Blue Horizon.
The company builds a site and app for customers to locate and review various vegan products, from dishes at restaurants, packaged food items, to other consumer products such as apparel and cosmetics.
It plans to use the funding to support product development, which includes improving their search engine and review platform; integrating features and products segments for customers; and enabling businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable options.
In a press statement, abillionVeg Founder and CEO Vikas Garg said that while more people are identifying themselves as vegan, options for these customers remain “scarce.”
“Only four to five per cent of dishes at restaurants around the world are vegetarian, while less than two per cent of dishes are vegan. We’re working to improve the experience for anyone searching for a healthy, sustainable dish, a grocery product, or even a cruelty-free beauty product,” Garg said.
“And we’re combining technology with activism, putting consumers in the driver’s seat to improve the selection and quality of sustainable options available,” he stressed.
Business meets activism
Founded in July 2017, abillionVeg launched its mobile app following a six-month public beta.
Within less than one year, it claimed to have secured reviews of more than 10,000 dishes in over 50 countries.
abillionVeg users also reviewed vegan products from general retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Target, and Walmart.
The startup also said that nearly 20 per cent of restaurants contacted through its outreach efforts have begun adding more plant-based options.
In an email interview with e27, Garg explained that most of its users are coming from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Canada.
“We’re working on increasing both the supply and demand for sustainable plant-based options. That means we’re working directly with consumers and also with businesses. We’ve built a foundation that taps into a rapidly growing consumer segment globally, advocates for them using technology, and creates measurable social impact. It’s essential to build the community and demonstrate that our platform creates lasting value for people first,” he said when asked about how the platform monetises.
“There are several B2C and B2B revenue drivers that can come from that,” he concluded.
abillionVeg also included activism in its operations by working with farm animal rescue groups in the US, UK, New Zealand, and China.
For every review posted on the platform with a photo, the startup donates US$1 to these charities.
“It’s a small but effective way to inspire people to make the next purchase more sustainable. In the future we’re going to change the way advertisers work with companies like ours, incentivising them to contribute to the change we’re working to create,” Garg ended.
Image Credit: abillionVeg