With fresh capital in the books, Völur will make the meat industry more efficient worldwide.
Read the full article in Shifter.
Since 2019, the start-up company Völur has been developing software for the meat industry. By combining data and AI, the company will help optimize each animal's utilization and increase profits.
The concept was developed by founders Robert Ekrem, David Moriano and Adrián Díaz. The former was employed by Nortura for many years, and the group is now a customer of Völur. The start-up also brought in several early-stage Norwegian investors, including Startuplab, Simula Innovation, Smart Innovation Norway, Middelborg, and Penny Venture.
Now the company has taken a step internationally, both on the customer and capital side.
Völur has raised three million dollars, equivalent to around NOK 31 million. The main investor is the Silicon Valley-based Fusion Fund, which has previously invested in companies such as Lyft and Safehub. They have been joined by American Scribble Ventures, Beat Ventures, as well as Norwegian Idekapital. Existing investors have also followed up.
We are very satisfied. These are entrepreneur-friendly investors. They have run good due diligence processes and carried it out in advance of the term sheet, says Robert Ekrem, CEO of Völur.
The introduction to American investors came from Innovation Norway’s Tinc-program, an accelerator based in Silicon Valley.
I’m noticing better access to capital. We got a lot of access after we chose Fusion, says Ekrem.
The company initally planned to raise 2.5 million dollars but received an offer equivalent to five million, shares Ekrem. Therefore, they increased the limit to three million dollars.
Idékapital has followed Völur for some time and has been impressed by what the entrepreneurial trio has achieved, says investment director Glenn Gill.
The software Völur has developed is sophisticated, unique in the market, and creates great financial value for the company's customers. The team is strong, has relevant backgrounds, and we believe they have what it takes to make Völur a dominant player in its market. The company already has impressive customers, and we believe this is just the start of a fantastic journey, he says.
The parties will not comment on the valuation. None of the existing shareholders are leaving.
We will get more customers. We need to work with American and European meat producers. Therefore it’s important how we build the organization, shares Ekrem on how they will put the money to work.
Völur has carried out a pilot project with one of the world's largest players in meat production. According to Völur, the company intends to roll out the Norwegian software at several facilities of this customer in the future.
Our customers are prominent industrial players: we operate with enterprise sales. It doesn't always allow for the easiest sales cycles, but we have a unique product that creates good interest in the market, shares Ekrem.
According to Ekrem, it is not necessarily the sale of the product itself that is difficult in this market but reaching the right person in these huge organizations.
It’s crucial to make good progress with the right people involved in the organization. A large meat producer can have thousands of employees, and it is important for us to get into position with the right ones, he says about the main challenges they face.
Last year, Völur had a turnover of NOK 2.4 million, but the investment rate was also high. The result ended with a loss of NOK 3.5 million. Ekrem will not reveal how they are doing this year.
We have had capital and a runway until now, so this capital raising is coming exactly as planned, he says.
Since the previous capital raising, Völur has powered up the company with technical and commercial resources. They will continue doing so after the newest investment round, especially on the tech side.
In the future, it will be important for us to further develop and improve the product while we reduce the implementation time, adapting it according to the customers’ business rules, he says.
The company has a runway of a couple of years with the new capital.
Abelia and ODA have named Völur’s Rebecca Wiborg Seyfarth one of Norway’s 50 leading women in tech for 2023. The honor is given to women who excel in understanding technology and have significantly contributed to diversity and inclusion in technology.
Cutting decisions can significantly affect the profitability of meat processing plants, as numerous options are available for dividing and packaging each carcass. This is how AI and technology can help the meat industry increase profitability.