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Inside GrubMarket: Who is Mike Xu, and what is the company’s vision for a more efficient food system?


SAN FRANCISCO—A few years ago, I noticed an unfamiliar pattern in produce mergers and acquisitions. A company I’ve never heard of was buying up produce companies — a lot of them.

When I looked into this mysterious company, all I could find was that it was a San Francisco-based online grocer. Online grocers sprouting up in San Francisco aren’t exactly newsworthy. With a busy, tech-savvy and high-density population, lots of start-ups have come and gone in the food marketplace in that region.

But GrubMarket BB #:301166 was different. It acquired one company. Then another. And another. These companies are prominent and well-respected players in the produce industry. In 2021, my colleague Greg Johnson reached out to founder and CEO Mike Xu to get some insight about the acquisitions.

Xu told him he had big plans for how to revolutionize the food industry, and that he was just getting started. Since then the company has collected business accolades, raised hundreds of millions in funding, and released multiple new technologies, including a new AI solution for business information analysis.

Fast forward three years, and the acquisitions haven’t slowed. To date, GrubMarket has acquired more than 90 companies, many of them involved in the fresh produce industry.

Why fresh produce? Where is all of this money coming from, and who is Mike Xu?

I had the unique opportunity to sit down with Mike and Craig Slate, president and CEO of Nogales, AZ-based SunFed BB #:150037, which was acquired by GrubMarket in 2022 at the GrubMarket headquarters on May 8. Slate is the co-host of The Fresh CrEd podcast, which paid for my travel to San Francisco.

We talked about Mike’s background in computer science, passion for fresh food, and how he hopes to modernize the largely offline fresh produce industry.

Prefer to listen only? Access the audio and a transcript here.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.