Passtur (Scale Portco) is bringing tech to antiquated, highly fragmented food manufacturing industry
Updated: Jun 21, 2022
Passtur, an early stage startup on a mission to reinvent food manufacturing, has announced that it will relocate to South Florida. Currently based in the Dallas area, Passtur founder Alex Bromage shared the company’s plans to move to Pompano Beach in March.
The startup is responding to a huge but highly fragmented food and beverage manufacturing. According to the US Department of Commerce, 27,000 such companies operate in the US. Yet, “30% of all food and beverage manufacturing is put out to co-packers,” or contract manufacturers, Bromage explained. “There’s not a high level of technology that’s applied to that.”
In Bromage’s experience talking to CPG startup brands, he’s heard many a manufacturing horror story. The problem is that the minimum order quantities for co-packers can be quite high – out of the range of startup companies. “So you end up with two effects,” said Bromage [pictured below].
First: paying an excess amount of cost for that order because the order is too small. Second: brands are hesitant to innovate and bring new products to market because they are aware of the steep costs.
Passtur is hoping to change this equation by building software to allow brand owners of all sizes to accelerate their go-to-market processes – going from 12-24 months to just a handful of months.
“We also want to make sure that they can do so and be cost competitive from the first day so that they can actually see some profitability and some benefit from their innovation and growth,” said Bromage. “And then we also want to make sure that they feel in control of everything that they’re doing.”
Passtur will start by focusing on the beverage market. Their system will first be set up for aluminum cans in particular because of their high level of versatility, large market size, and relative environmental friendliness.
The startup raised a small angel round in October 2020 and is currently in the process of raising a pre-seed. According to Bromage, the Miami tech connection has already proven advantageous in the funding search: “We’ve talked to plenty of local VCs and have even had some physical meetings in Miami. That was really great versus being on Zoom.”
Pompano Beach made perfect sense for the four-person company, Bromage told Refresh Miami. “While I love being in Texas, I really felt that South Florida was a better location to be.”
“There’s a fast-growing CPG community in South Florida,” he asserted. “There’s also a lot of manufacturing – particularly beverage manufacturing – in the Pompano area.”
“There is significant engineering expertise in Florida,” Bromage continued, noting that he has been particularly impressed by one of his first hires, a recent graduate from Orlando’s University of Central Florida. “I think Florida is a highly underrated area for engineering, and especially mechanical engineering,” he said. “It will be a great place for us to bring the business up.”
Bromage has already become active in the Miami tech scene, having become a member of the Shrimp Society through the purchase of one of their NFTs. He has also attended a handful of Hard Tech Miami events, including their ask-me-anything session with investor Delian Asparouhov.