Back in 2021, Will Hill and business partner Ollie Morley-Fletcher started testing their digital marketplace FruPro. A lot of time has passed since the initial testing phase, and through working with users, the platform has improved massively. FruPro now has 198 companies using the platform from 15 different countries, with 54 companies trading this month. FruPro was invested in by many industry players who believed FruPro was developing a platform to make fruit and veg trading simpler.
"We are now seeing £600,000 worth of goods being traded each month across 27 different product lines, from watermelons to tomatoes. FruPro has two main offerings. The first FruPay, our fast payments, we pay suppliers within 48 hours of invoicing, and this can be used in any fruit & veg sales, whether they happen on the platform or not. Our Second is that we manage any surplus suppliers have and use data to find the optimum buyers," said Will Hill, Founder and Chief Revenue Officer.
Will said momentum is building all the time, as well as trading produce, the platform offers a directory, compliant messaging system, and digital tracking where a record of the whole process can be easily accessed via the dashboard: photos, PDFs, documents, etc.
"We are now seeing the platform being used autonomously, which is fantastic. As a business, we are looking at completing our seed round of fundraising in October to continue our development to make FruPro even simpler to trade on for both buyers and suppliers."
Will said that there have been challenges along the way, but they have been listening to the users to improve the platform. "We have been greatly supported by our team, which is a unique blend of Fresh Produce and tech talent."
This week for the first time, Herefordshire cherries will be exported to Europe via the platform working with an importer. Each transaction will be secured by FruPay, which de-risks the export process by putting the sale price straight into the seller's bank account.
"The UK is short on cherries just now but imported fruit with, sometimes, less quality is diluting the market. The European market is also short, so exporting makes sense until the UK market clears and prices improve. As the platform develops, this is the sort of information that can deliver more automation to finding users the best prices available. We are looking forward to seeing this development, we hope to also help strawberry exports. The market is short at the moment, but that could all change in a few weeks. We will continue to offer the suppliers we work with these opportunities."