2012: Farmdrop is born
Founder Ben Pugh grows frustrated by the lack of delicious local food available in London and sees an opportunity to connect farmers with their local customers using the internet.
In the development of his idea for the business, Ben meets a farmer in Kent who was selling his squash for £1 to the supermarket while the retailer was selling them on to customers for three times as much.
Recognising that this was a clearly not a fair distribution of price, Ben launched Farmdrop as a way to increase the availability of fresh and tasty local food, while putting more money into the hands of independent farmers.
2014: Crowdcube funding and launch of click-and-collect
Having found a network of local farmers interested in selling via Farmdrop, Ben and the team crowdfund a whopping £750,000 from food lovers to get the company off the ground.
In 2014, Farmdrop initially begins as a click-and-collect service. Farmers delivered their produce to a local collection point where customers would collect the food they pre-ordered online using Farmdrop's web platform.
The click-and-collect service was just a prototype. It allowed everyone involved (the farmers, the Farmdrop developers, and customers) to learn what worked well and what didn't.
Although collection days were a lot of fun, they were ultimately not as convenient or accessible enough for Farmdrop customers.
2015: Home delivery is launched with 100% electric vans
In 2015, after experimenting with different models, Farmdrop begins to make home deliveries.
When a customer places an order it goes straight to the farmers who then harvest the produce. Farmdrop steps in to manage the final leg of the journey, packaging the food from different producers in its Bermondsey hub and delivering them to people's doors.
Farmdrop also decides to use a fleet of 100% electric vehicles for home deliveries, saving hundreds of tonnes of carbon and removing dangerous nitrous oxide from London's atmosphere.
2017: Next day delivery and South West Expansion
Farmdrop continues to make incremental improvements to the service during 2016, culminating in the launch of a 7 day and next day delivery service in 2017. Now if a customer orders before midday they get their food the following afternoon.
In April 2017, the company raises a further £7 million in additional funds from investors like Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype. The money is used to make further improvements to the service and give Farmdrop the firepower to expand to two new cities.
In September, Farmdrop successfully launches in Bristol and Bath, adding a further 170 South-West producers to the 200 already serving London customers.