The Silicon Review
GrubMarket is a fast-growing and highly profitable eCommerce and software technology company operating on the American food supply chain. We are one of the biggest private food tech companies in the world. We come into this space as a technology enabler and digital disruptor for one of the world’s oldest and least digitized industries. As a first mover in the tech-enabled B2B eCommerce space for food, we help make the food supply chain more efficient and effective by sourcing food directly from farmers and growers and directly selling food to end business customers such as grocery stores and restaurants, in a faster and more cost-efficient way.
We also offer a vertical SaaS product to traditional B2B food supply chain players to enable them to convert from being traditional offline businesses to modernized eCommerce businesses powered by our software technology.
In conversation with Mike Xu, Founder and CEO of GrubMarket
Q. What was the motivation behind starting GrubMarket?
I spent much of my early career managing software engineering teams at top-tier eCommerce and SaaS companies in Silicon Valley and am passionate about applying eCommerce and software technologies to traditional and under-digitized industries. When I started this company in 2014, few industries were as under-digitized as food. It’s one of the oldest and most critical industries left behind by any sort of technological transformation, which presented an immense opportunity for disruption due to low online penetration, high fragmentation, and almost no tech adoption. In addition, my team and I have been focused on building a successful company that will help create a more environmentally sound and sustainable food system for generations to come.
Q. The eCommerce industry is one of the most challenging to transform, because of the huge number of legacy systems, combined with the amount of highly sensitive, personalized information. How do your solutions address this concern?
GrubMarket’s software solutions offer a significantly higher level of security over legacy players. WholesaleWare is built on a modern, cloud-based architecture, leveraging secure servers from Amazon Web Services. We use industry-standard SSL and encryption to protect our customers’ data. Unlike most legacy systems, GrubMarket’s products do not suffer from the continuous risk of attack on an on-premise data server. Overall, GrubMarket’s software solutions are built on a modern technology infrastructure that greatly outperforms that of legacy players. Our rich technology assets and know-how, combined with our deep domain expertise, allow GrubMarket to adopt a rapid pace of innovation and development, making it virtually impossible for other players to catch up.
Q. When people are having fun, they work together better and they produce better work.’ How do you interpret this saying?
We have developed an environment at GrubMarket where team members can get to know each other at a personal level, and cultivate understanding between each other because we know that teams perform better when there is a foundation of trust, care, and camaraderie between everyone. We also want our team to feel passion and pride about the company’s mission and the work they do here. When team members feel they are working with a talented and motivated group of like-minded individuals toward a similar goal, then this fosters a more collaborative atmosphere that yields more accomplishments and wins. GrubMarket truly embodies this type of culture, which is why we are now one of the biggest and fastest-growing food tech companies in the world. It all starts with supporting and cultivating the most important asset in our company: the people.
Q. A good workplace stresses teamwork while still encouraging individual achievement and creativity. Does your company follow the same strategy?
GrubMarket’s high performance can be attributed to building exceptionally strong teams formed by individual team members contributing uniquely with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. The fresh food industry is highly complex, and to win, you need deep domain and subject matter expertise across a number of areas. Our teams are founded on diversity and mutual respect. The manager’s job is to assemble those teams and support them to collaborate in ways that bring out the best in each team member.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
Earlier this year, GrubMarket acquired IOT Pay, a leading fintech company that provides omnichannel payment solutions to customers. This milestone acquisition positions GrubMarket to be a major player in the financial services sector for the American food supply chain industry. GrubMarket will leverage IOT Pay’s technology and payments infrastructure to address the food supply chain industry’s accelerating need for faster, more flexible, and more robust digital payment and digital banking/financing opportunities. We are also expanding our proprietary ERP system, WholesaleWare, with the introduction of a new payments module. This is a game changer for produce wholesalers, distributors, and other food supply chain players. Our software and services team frequently delivers new major features. Stay tuned for our upcoming announcements on future product updates.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
Despite the success we’ve already seen, we are just getting started. GrubMarket’s broader vision is to digitize the archaic and inefficient American food supply chain system. We’re doing this by building the best eCommerce and software product suite which brings streamlined and data-driven operations and financial management to an industry that has been technology deficient. As we roll up our sleeves to continue the fight to disintermediate the fragmented food supply chain system, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us. Our strategic plan is to invest in and work toward a more sustainable agricultural future over the next several decades. We plan to focus GrubMarket’s resources and attention on the most powerful pathways to greater opportunity for farmers and access to fresh food for consumers nationwide. And to do more to protect, support, and uplift the fragile agricultural ecosystem in the US, as we continue growing into one of the world’s biggest and most influential food tech companies.