Ottawa-based Desk Nibbles, which helps offices order personalized snacks and beverages for their employees, has raised a $362,500 pre-seed round as it looks to expand into the US.
Desk Nibbles said it received $250,000 in debt financing from the BDC, $100,000 from an undisclosed investor, and $12,500 from the Capital Angel Network.
Founded by Eric Kys and brothers Cassy and Emil Aite in 2016, Desk Nibbles aims to connect workplaces to healthy snack distributors. The company has developed an AI-enabled chatbot on Slack, which employees can message to identify their dietary preferences and provide feedback on a recent office snack. The chatbot then learns about employee preferences to create personalized food orders to ensure that a company’s workforce has shelves stocked with what employees want.
Companies can choose to have a box of employees’ chosen snacks delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Cassy, co-founder and CEO, said Desk Nibbles’ goal is to help office managers understand their employees’ food preferences in order to create affordable and personalized food orders.
“If you’ve ever ordered food for an office, it’s really difficult to understand what the different preferences are.”
“We make it very easy to order food for large groups of people,” said Cassy. “If you’ve ever ordered food for an office, it’s really difficult to understand what the different preferences are. You have people with all kinds of different dietary restrictions. People are vegan, gluten-free, Kosher, halal,” said Cassy. “So what we do is we make software and tools to make it super easy to understand your employees and their preferences to manage your budget effectively.”
With access to an office’s preferences, feedback, and order history, Cassy said Desk Nibbles is hoping to leverage analytics that are valuable to both workplaces and vendors serving them.
“This data allows us to create a better experience for the customer, forecasting their needs and desires,” said Cassy. “Analytics from the data that helps our customers helps us understand how to create a better solution for them.”
Desk Nibbles plans to use the funding to launch its platform in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, focusing specifically on its sales and marketing efforts. But while Desk Nibbles is working to serve the US market, Cassy said he wants to keep the team and “build a great company in Ottawa.”
In the long-term, Desk Nibble is hoping to continue to differentiate itself from other foodtech startups by creating personalized food ordering experiences for a company’s employees.
“It’s really around the hyper-personalization piece,” said Cassy. “Using machine learning, we are able to truly create a hyper-personalized experience and that’s something that’s been done in other spaces but it’s still relatively new to kind of the industry that we’re in.”