Crowd Cow, the Seattle-based startup with a mission of bringing higher quality, more sustainably raised meat to consumers, is doubling down on hyper-local farms with the launch of “Crowd Cow Local” in two U.S. markets.
Crowd Cow Seattle and Crowd Cow New York are aimed at making it easier for consumers to shop for products from local businesses, helping to reduce the carbon footprint — or “foodprint,” as they call it — associated with the distance that food has to travel. Lower costs in the supply chain can also be passed on to Crowd Cow enthusiasts, the startup pointed out in a blog post on Thursday.
Crowd Cow, founded by startup veterans Joe Heitzeberg (Madrona Venture Labs) and Ethan Lowry (Urbanspoon), got off the ground with the concept that customers would “crowdfund” a cow from a reputable, independent farm or ranch by banding together to purchase cuts of meat. When a whole cow was sold, it was “tipped.”
Four years later, the company has expanded to nationwide distribution and won Startup of the Year honors at the 2018 GeekWire Awards. It raised $8 million a year ago through such high-profile investors as Madrona Venture Group, former NFL star Joe Montana and actor Ashton Kutcher.
Heitzeberg said this week that Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, which invested in the Series A, recently put in an additional $1 million as part of a convertible to a future B round.
Additionally, Suhail Dutta joined the company in February as vice president of product and engineering, after spending the prior six years at Unity Technologies and another six years at Microsoft.
“As we have searched the United States for the best farms and foods, we have discovered incredible, high-quality meats from farmers who raise their animals close to the major metropolitan areas where our Crowd Cow customers live and work,” the blog post reads. “And we have heard from thousands of independent farmers all over the country who believe in the Crowd Cow mission and want to connect directly with customers. … We realized that, through the Crowd Cow platform, we could build a local program, supporting all of these farmers, and helping them sell directly to local customers who would love to buy their product.”
While customers in Seattle may have a more clear option of shopping for beef from Engle Family Farms in Whidbey Island, Wash., and having it shipped directly to their home, Heitzeberg notes that they’re still only a mouse click away from selecting A5 Wagyu — called the world’s most sought-after beef — from Kagoshima, Japan.
Crowd Cow bills the local shopping experience, which it plans to bring to communities across the country, as “farmers market quality at grocery store prices.”