Dietary needs app Foodini raises $700,000 pre-Seed round to go national

- October 11, 2022 2 MIN READ
Foodini founder Dylan McDonnell
Sydney startup Foodini, which helps diners find restaurants that cater to their dietary needs, has raised $700,000 in a pre-Seed funding.
Early-stage VC Antler led the round, with participation from 10 other investors including Mendoza Ventures CFO Scott Heyes, Cradle Ventures CIO Robert Nicholls and Justus Hammer, the CEO of  Mad Paws.
Having launched in Sydney in June 2021 – just before the 100-day lockdown of the NSW capital began, Foodini has spent the 12 months since the city began to reopen building strong relationships with more than 2000 restaurants featured in the app. It is now launching in Melbourne and plans to roll out across Brisbane and the rest of Australia by the end of this year.

The Foodini app matches people with a variety of dietary needs with restaurants that can serve them, from gluten-free to lactose-intolerant, allergies, vegans, FODMAPers and more. Dieticians combine with the platform’s tech to review restaurants and menus to give a breakdown of what they can eat at each venue.

The app caters to more than 40 dietaries, including all mandatory allergens. Restaurants are onboarded to the platform using accredited practising dieticians who review and upload the menus.

Foodini was founded in 2020 by Dylan McDonnell, who has coeliac disease, in response to a global shift in dietary needs for people eating out, alongside his own unpleasant dining experiences.

“I started Foodini to answer a simple question: where is it suitable for me to eat, and exactly what can I eat when I get there? It’s amazing to see how it’s grown,” he said.

“We have a really big few months ahead as Foodini launches into new Australian markets and our plans to scale the platform take shape. We have our sights set on the US for 2023 so we’re really encouraged by this pre-seed round.”

Image: Foodini

Users can easily create a profile outlining their specific needs to match them with restaurants, cafes and other venues in a specified area, as well as showing them exactly what they can eat when they get there.

Alec Palexas is operations manager at national grill house chain Squires Loft, and loves how the app streamlines the management required to meet dietaries safely.

“As a conservative estimate, we serve around 250 customers a week with specific dietary needs. In the past, these would be dealt with over the phone prior to dining or at the time of eating,” he said,

“We aim to meet the wishes of all our diners, and certainty that what we are preparing is safe is crucial to us. Foodini allows diners to make choices confidently, takes the stress away from us, plus provides insight on how we as a business can improve our menu development,” he said.

Antler Australia partner Cath Rogers said that as the number of people with specific dietary requirements and preferences swells globally, so too does the opportunity for tech companies such as Foodini.

“Foodini is uniquely positioned to capture this growing market having demonstrated strong early-mover supply-side traction and user engagement on their platform,” she said.

“We’ve been engaged with the Foodini team for several months now and have been impressed with their rapid product iteration, go to market capability and the quality team they’ve assembled.”

Foodini is available on the Play Store and App Store. More at: getfoodini.com