Zitti, a payment and credit platform built for food industry management and vendors announced its launch today. The company raised an initial $4 million to grow the team and expand the capabilities of its proprietary technology.
Founders Dante DiCicco (early Snap executive and restaurant owner) and Erek Benz (co-founder of CREXi and other marketplace platforms) said they built this fintech solution to level the playing field in the foodservice industry with access to secure universal payment terms with transparent and competitive food pricing that delivers AI-driven analytics and insights to streamline restaurant operations from one platform.
“Zitti would have transformed the early years of Mendocino Farms,” said Mario Del Pero, Mendocino Farms co-founder and executive board member. “Gaining access to streamlined payments with terms we could only dream of and a thrivable market cushion would have saved us so many sleepless nights. Zitti will disrupt the restaurant industry in a ‘win-win’ way that is great for food vendor partners and life-changing for restaurants.”
In a statement, the company said its key differentiator allows smaller organizations to survive unpredictable external business impacts while ensuring their ability to compete with larger restaurant chains.
“Local restaurants are facing tough new challenges from the pandemic, but unreasonable payment terms and outdated purchasing systems have been obstacles for decades. Small-and medium-sized restaurants need a competitive lift, and our platform will bring big advantages,” said DiCicco. “I grew up watching my parents juggle paper processes and fight cash flow to stay afloat. Solving these problems is personal for me. For too long, independent restaurants have paid more for their food products than larger chains, received less favorable payment terms, and lacked visibility into how their costs stack up against the broader industry.
“Our platform will save restaurant owners, food service managers, and vendors time and money in several ways, including cloud-based invoice management, strategic insights on buying patterns and inefficient spending, and buying without all the red tape. The backing of so many top-tier investors, restaurateurs, and food industry veterans speak volumes about the gap Zitti is filling in the foodservice industry.”
“Zitti’s market potential is immense, with more than 900,000 restaurants and over $240 billion in domestic food supplier business,” said Ryan Morgan, managing director, Crossbeam Venture Partners. “With unique backgrounds and incredible expertise, the Zitti team has its finger on the pulse of how technology can improve the food industry. Zitti will give restaurant owners a peace of mind not previously available.”
In addition to Crossbeam, Zitti’s other investors include Vera Equity, a venture firm co-led by Michael Vaughan (venture partner at Oak HC/FT, former COO at Venmo) and Jonathan Pomeranz (partner, head of fintech practice and co-head global financial services at True Search), and Broadhaven Ventures, led by co-founder and partner Michael Sidgmore.
Zitti has also received investments from Snap executives and a group including Donald Moore, former chief culinary officer at Cheesecake Factory, Rodney Williams, former president and CEO of Belvedere Vodka, Michael Tannenbaum, COO of Brex / former CRO of SoFi, Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder of Say and Acorns, Andy Cohen, former SVP of sales at Bill.com, and Chris Camp, VP of sales at DoorDash.