Food delivery in urban areas, on college campuses and in office complexes can be problematic, with nowhere for delivery drivers to leave the items, forcing them to wait for the consumer to come to the pickup location. During times of COVID, it was also not contactless.

Seattle-based Minnow Technologies has developed a solution to solve this problem, allowing for contactless delivery and keeping delivery people moving rather than waiting. The Minnow Pickup Pod can be used anywhere food is delivered, such as multifamily residential buildings, office buildings and college campuses, the company said. Drivers and customers simply use an app to open a secure compartment inside the Pickup Pod to leave and retrieve food deliveries.

The company has completed a $3 million seed round led by Branded Strategic Hospitality as it seeks to scale its product. Also participating were Elevate Capital, the lead investor in Minnow’s earlier convertible note financings, and Portland Seed Fund. Total financing in the company has reached $6.4 million.

“This funding demonstrates the importance of Minnow’s technology for solving the last-mile problem in food delivery,” said Steven Sperry, Minnow’s co-founder and CEO. “With the food delivery market in the United States expected to exceed $28 billion this year, and with all the major delivery platforms still losing money, solving the last-mile problem is urgent.”

Minnow said its first production model, the M8, has sold out. It is now accepting preorders for the second round of product.

“We’re excited to help drive Minnow’s growth,” said Jimmy Frischling, co-founder and managing partner of Branded Strategic Hospitality. “There’s an enormous opportunity to reduce last-mile delivery costs for both restaurants and delivery companies while making food delivery more affordable and convenient for consumers. Minnow has everything we look for in an investment — a team of seasoned entrepreneurs, strong market validation, defensible technology and a huge market opportunity.”

According to Minnow’s surveys, 80% of delivery workers say they are very satisfied with their experience delivering to a pod, while 97% of consumers would rather pick up from a pod than receive their food directly from a delivery worker.

“Minnow has a proven and unique solution to the last-mile problem and its technology is fast becoming an essential layer in the food delivery tech stack. We’re thrilled to increase our support to Steven and his team,” said Nitin Rai, founder and managing partner of Elevate Capital, which doubled its stake in the company with the latest round.

Minnow Pods are already installed in office buildings, multifamily residential properties and on college campuses in the U.S. and Japan. The company said its open-platform solution can be used as a stand-alone item or can be integrated with existing point of sale systems, online ordering platforms and food delivery platforms.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

You may also like:

Social Auto Transport raises $1.5M in seed funding to expand gig economy auto-moving business

Bringg’s collaboration with Uber opens new doors for e-commerce

Walmart to begin drone delivery pilot this summer