- Weee has raised $425 million in new funding from a group of investors led by Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the ethnic e-grocer announced on Monday. The company said the Series E round brings its valuation up to $4.1 billion.
- Self-described as the leading leading Asian and Hispanic e-grocer in the U.S., Weee said it plans to use the funds to extend into new ethnic cuisines, expand existing categories, scale geographically and bolster innovations in warehouse automation and artificial intelligence.
- As part of the funding round, Lydia Jett, managing partner at Softbank Investment Advisors, will join Weee's board of directors.
Weee said its newest funding, which builds on the $315 million in Series D funding it announced last March, will further the company's efforts to tap into an ethnic food market that is projected to keep growing.
The market is estimated to have hit just under $49.3 billion in 2021, and will increase to an estimated $98 billion by 2028, according to a recent report from Fortune Business Insights.
“The market for ethnic groceries and food is massively underserved in the U.S. and we believe that Weee! is in a prime position to meet the demands of customers," Jett said in a statement.
Jett said Weee has "strong execution capabilities" to reach multiple ethnic groups and a leading customer experience that uses artificial intelligence, allowing it to quickly scale.
Softbank's funding and Jett's presence on Weee's board bolster the e-grocer with its connection to the prominent Japanese multinational conglomerate. In recent months, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 has also been involved in funding rounds for companies like retail computer vision and analytics provider Trax, autonomous checkout technology provider Standard Cognition, Gopuff and Norwegian e-grocer Oda.
Founded in 2015 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Weee has quickly scaled delivery across the U.S. and now offers more than 10,000 items to residents in 40 states and Washington, D.C., according to its website. Originally focused on Asian groceries, the company recently added Hispanic food to its assortment and is expanding its restaurant and meals offerings with the aim of becoming a one-stop-shop for food across ethnicities.
Weee said it is adding more than 500 new products per week and works with more than 1,000 restaurants.
Since its founding, Weee has raised more than $800 million in funding. For the Series E round, Greyhound Capital also participated alongside existing investors for Weee.
Weee has recently added some prominent names to its executive and advisory ranks. This includes filmmaker Jon M. Chu, who is now the company's chief creative officer, and James McCann, former CEO of Ahold USA, who joined the company's board of directors.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the amount of Series E funding Weee received. The company's latest investment round is $425 million.