GrubMarket Makes Yet Another Acquisition, but This One is Different

Thirty. That's the number of acquisitions food tech unicorn GrubMarket has completed since the beginning of 2019, and the company is only picking up the pace. One-third of those acquisitions have taken place since June of this year, an incredible number that's growing larger by the month.

That includes this month, when GrubMarket announced its 31st acquisition since 2019, buying Oakwood Transportation for an undisclosed amount. At first glance, the purchase might seem like just another addition to the company's string of acquisitions –– but it's a bigger deal than that. For the most part, GrubMarket's purchases have been of food and produce wholesalers, but the Oakwood Transportation acquisition marks its first foray into trucking and logistics.

Headquartered in Oakland, California, Oakwood Transportation acts as a West Coast hub for shipments of food and produce, primarily covering California, Nevada, the Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia. It provides services including full truckload and LTL delivery, refrigerated storage, cross-docking, and load consolidation.

"Over the past few years, we've seen the stress on global logistics brought about by COVID-19. Moving perishable products around the country is complex and difficult and requires predictability and precision," said CEO Mike Xu in a press release on Thursday. "Oakwood Transportation is a leader in providing high-quality transportation and logistics services. They are reliable and highly influential in the produce space, and we are excited for them to join the GrubMarket family."

The move is in line with GrubMarket's other acquisitions. Half of its purchases since June were of companies headquartered on the West Coast, and this latest move will continue to bolster its food supply chain in the region.

"This acquisition enables GrubMarket to further strengthen our producer relationships on the West Coast, expand our internal fleets and warehouse capacity, and become a leader in transportation and logistics services for the underserved food producer and supplier market," Xu continued. "Together, we will overcome the disruption plaguing the current supply chain and make a greater impact on the evolution and transformation of the American food supply chain industry."

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Unlike companies such as Uber Eats UBER, DoorDash DASH, and Grubhub GRUB that focus primarily on food delivery, GrubMarket places more emphasis on food sourcing and supply chains. Its strongest regional presences are in the Northeast, Texas, and the West Coast, but the company also has suppliers based in such places as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, and Canada.

Increasingly, GrubMarket has also gotten into B2B sales, offering its software-as-a-service and supplies of food and produce to grocery stores, meal-kit companies, and other food tech startups.

Now, Oakwood Transportation's services will be added to GrubMarket's proprietary WholesaleWare software and its other software products at a time when food supply chain vulnerabilities are more apparent than ever.

"We are excited to join the GrubMarket team and welcome the opportunities brought forth by GrubMarket's robust technology platform and network. We are constantly striving to be the most dependable trucking and logistics partner for our customers. We are thrilled to learn that GrubMarket shares this same goal," said Sal Rizzo, CEO of Oakport Transportation. "We sincerely look forward to joining the GrubMarket team and bringing more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective logistics services to GrubMarket's suppliers and end customers."

As Tyson Foods bombastically informed the country in a series of full-page ads last year, "The food supply chain is breaking." Whether it can really be called a driver shortage is a matter for debate, but transportation companies are sorely lacking drivers for their fleets, while demand for products of all categories, including food, has skyrocketed. That's decimated supply chains at every point from the ports to the warehouses as companies struggle even to simply unload their goods from ships. The capacity simply isn't there, and it's backing everything up.

GrubMarket is well-positioned to help alleviate some of those issues, having nabbed $120 million in Series E funding in September to reach a $1 billion valuation. It's one of just a handful of food services companies to join the coveted unicorn club, and with acquisitions coming left and right, its nationwide impact only figures to grow.

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