Page 33 - Food&Drink July 2019
P. 33

WHEN James Andronis was CEO of Clamm Seafoods, the largest seafood distributor and processor in Victoria, he was constantly frustrated by the inefficient systems that plagued the industry.
“These food businesses are difficult. They’re hard yakka and you don’t have the ability to look outside the immediate for opportunities. They’re difficult beasts,” he says.
A fortuitous meeting with an old school contact, Huw Birrell, saw a quick coffee turn into two hours, three coffees and 15 pages of notes. “I thought, we’ve got something here,” Andronis says.
Fresho is the result – a cloud based technology that drives a more efficient and accurate ordering process between food and beverage businesses and their suppliers.
The software is a simple one-touch solution to ordering, invoicing, payments, reporting, warehouse management, product pricing and more. The solution can be integrated with any accounting system.
The first 12 months were spent testing the business model, user experience and listening to what customers needed. Andronis and Birrell bought a van and got “a few restaurant accounts”. They started going to the fruit and vegetable market to sell produce and would get the restaurants to order online to test the system.
“We did that for about six months. I’ve obviously been involved in that side of the industry for many years so it wasn't new to me, but it was great for the team to get a real feeling for how these businesses run,” Andronis says.
That “under the radar” testing phase gave them confidence when they took it to market. “We started in Melbourne and then quickly mushroomed all over Australia. I think we’re in every state now. Then we moved over to New Zealand and gave that a crack. It’s been wonderful over there, it’s grown very quickly.”
Andronis’s history in the food sector was “critical”. “This is not an industry where generic software works. It’s very specific because you’re dealing with some unusual set of circumstances, fresh produce, very time poor people, antiquated industry and random way night shifts. There’s a lot of factors that you don't get in, in your average industry.”
The platform is designed for a producer or a distributor to food service, or producers and manufacturers
selling to distributors. It is being used by food
suppliers such as Scicluna’s, De Costi Seafood, Kailis Bros and Andrews Meat and restaurants and venues such as Rockpool, Movida, IGA’s, Quay Restaurant and Bakers Delight.
Andronis says businesses using Fresho have seen a “great reduction” in food wastage. “More accurate ordering through the platform, means less wastage has been a common theme. Sellers can provide information to clients in real time with live information and data. It means the buyer can make more accurate and informed decisions about their buying.
“For sellers they can organise their buying more effectively as
well, because they’ve got real live data about their sales at any given moment of the day.
“We’re also seeing a huge amount of time saving with data entry. That's a real struggle for a lot of these businesses who traditionally get voicemail messages or emails, and then they’re handwriting them out onto picking slips, or they might be entering them into their finance systems during the middle of the night. And that leads to a lot of errors, manual data entry, and then it's also very time consuming.
“The biggest challenge is the fact we are in an antiquated industry, that is very old fashioned and mainly operates during the night,” Andronis says, “But everybody can see they need to change and they are. It’s really starting to snowball now that more of them are seeing the benefits of embracing some technology for their businesses.” ✷
It was a catch-up over coffee that led to a whole new software platform for James Andronis and Huw Birrell.
The company recently announced it received $9 million in private investment. They include Aconex founders Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot, Andrew Sypkes (early stage investor in Canva, Aconex and Zoox), the Tarascio family of Salta Capital and Geoff Tarrant, Zuuse chair and Adelaide Brighton board member.
Construction tech giant Aconex listed on the ASX in a $140 million float in 2014, and was acquired by Oracle in 2017 for $1.6 billion.
Adronis says the funding will largely go towards scaling and achieving faster growth.
Fresho currently has 10,000 restaurants and suppliers using its platform.
More than $1 million of transactions go through every day and roughly 1.1 million orders were placed on the platform in the past year.
A fresh platform
Food tech start-up Fresho is a tech platform that allows food distributors, wholesalers and processors to automate their ordering, invoicing and warehouse management, to improve efficiency. Kim Berry spoke with co-founder James Andronis. | July 2019 | Food&Drink business | 33

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