EUR 7.5m to develop software and hardware solutions to reduce food waste in professional kitchens
Food valued at EUR 900m to be saved by 2025 and 69 jobs to be supported
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a EUR 7.5m loan to the Romanian food waste management company Winnow with the help of the Juncker Plan. The company will use the financing to develop and introduce software and hardware solutions to help staff in professional kitchens track the amounts and types of food wasted. The ultimate aim is to provide users with data to manage and prevent food waste.
The agreement is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan. Without EFSI backing, the EIB would not be able to support this operation to the same extent – from both the debt volume and the risk perspective.
EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell commented: “This innovative project, the first in Romania under the European Growth Finance Facility (EGFF), backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, will have a significant impact in helping to reduce food waste in commercial kitchens. It fosters research and development in Romania with the benefit of strengthening the competitiveness of the country and generating high-value jobs.”
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Winnow’s objective to help professional kitchens reduce their amounts of food waste is both good for our natural resources, and it makes economic sense. By helping businesses monitor and analyse what they are throwing away each day, using innovative technology, Winnow is empowering them to change their actions. I am proud that this project is being supported by the EU bank and the Juncker Plan.”
Winnow co-founder Kevin Duffy added: “By creating job opportunities in the community, we are continuing to build a world class team in Cluj in order to deliver effectively on our roadmap ahead. We are also excited about the future of the tech community in Cluj and being one of the first AI pioneers to receive backing from the European Investment Bank is a true reflection of the hard work of our team here.”
Winnow, a company established in England in 2013, is the technology company building artificial intelligence tools to help chefs run more profitable and sustainable kitchens by cutting food waste in half. Winnow believes that food is far too valuable to waste and that technology can transform the way food is used. Winnow’s mission is therefore to help the hospitality industry tackle avoidable food waste by connecting the kitchen to empower chefs to run a more efficient operation.
About the Loan
This loan is part of the European Growth Finance Facility (EGFF), a product designed to address a (quasi-)equity gap linked to structural market failures across the EU in the provision of risk capital to late-stage venture-backed companies. European SMEs and Mid-Caps suffer from systemic shortages of large, non-dilutive financing for growth investments, both tangible and intangible. The EIB financing is expected to have a positive crowding-in effect, attracting additional private investors to companies.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe had immediate and wide-ranging consequences for investment: according to the new edition of the EIB Investment Report 2020/2021 “Building a smart and green Europe in the COVID-19 era”, EU firms are likely to reduce investment by at least 25% in the year following the crisis. The report also shows that in a post-pandemic “new normal”, investment in digitalisation, innovation and climate will be more important than ever before. Without such investment, large sections of Europe’s economy risk falling behind. However, the European Union now has the opportunity to build on its leadership in green and digital technologies to recover from the pandemic, manage the climate transition and maintain its ability to compete in the global technology race.
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