E-commerce platform Castiron secures $6 million in funding to help independent culinary artisans thrive

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The COVID-19 pandemic has left countless thousands of restaurant professionals across the United States hungry for business. With nearly 80,000 restaurants closing permanently in the year since the pandemic began, millions of restaurant jobs have been lost. Yet despite the ill effects of the pandemic, professional culinary artisans – from baristas and bakers to pastry chefs and sous chefs – are taking an entrepreneurial approach to keeping their passion for food branding alive and profitable.

As several states update their cabin food laws, making it easier and safer to build kitchen-based services — from home kitchens to commercial kitchens — a group of software developers recently created Castiron, a new platform -an e-commerce form launched in October that acts as a central hub for independent kitchen artisans to sell their products online, connect with customers, grow their business, and save time and money in order to concentrate on their culinary creations.

Castiron today announced that it has raised $6 million in seed funding from venture capital firms Bowery Capital, Foundry Group and High Alpha, which will help it create more tools, products and expand its staff. Through its web-based platform, the virtual company, with operations in New York, Ohio, Indiana and California, helps culinary artisans build successful businesses by simplifying their operations with free e-commerce websites, back-office, blog posts, as well as providing a community for artisans to reach out and exchange ideas.

“We started this business because we’ve seen these hard-working people doing things they didn’t sign up for,” said Castiron founder and CEO Mark Josephson. ZDNet. “The average artisan spends 75% of their time doing things other than food making – from order taking, order management, payment tracking, invoicing, inventory planning, website building and social media marketing – we’re really passionate about helping them,” Josephson said.

Thanks to the Castiron platform, artisans can create a complete website and put it online in minutes, where they can then take orders and transact with their customers. “We simplified it so effectively,” Josephson said. Back-office tools, for example, allow orders to come into a single queue so artisans don’t have to worry about receiving direct messages, texts or emails. “You now have a streamlined order queue that captures all the necessary customer information, it translates into a definitive customer list, so you know exactly who your customers are, what they ordered, what are their preferences and how much they bought from you,” Josephson added.

Additionally, the platform manages a crafter’s inventory, automates billing, and provides hundreds of blog posts, news on local rules and laws regarding home and cottage cooking, and provides a community Support.

Currently, Castiron is only available in the United States, but Josephson says they intend to expand internationally.

“Right now, we only make money when our customers sell something. We’re going to create more products that will help them sell more,” Josephson said. “That’s really all we care about is helping them be more successful because when they win, we win.”

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