Food-tech startup CookUnity secures $15.5m in Series A funding for expansion
CookUnity, the Brooklyn-based food-tech company that introduced the first direct Chef-to-Consumer meal subscription platform, announced the closing of a $15.5 million Series A investment round.
Fuel Venture Capital led the investment round with participation from new and existing investors including seed round lead IDC Ventures. Jeff Ransdell, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Fuel Venture Capital, will join the board of directors.
This funding brings the company's total capital raised since the platform's 2018 inception to $23 million. It will enable CookUnity to expand across North America and expand its marketing initiatives. CookUnity will also open two new state-of-the-art kitchens in Los Angeles, CA and Texas in addition to the original kitchen in Brooklyn, NY, to support the national expansion.
CookUnity has been shaking up the prepared meals category and restaurant industry by creating an entirely new marketplace concept for chefs and a daily, dynamic meal solution for consumers. The unique model offers up and coming chefs, alongside established restaurateurs and food innovators, the tools and resources to diversify and create a digital-first business. With CookUnity, chefs generate a new, more predictable revenue stream with lower risk and higher margins and are able to reach consumers beyond the geographic constraints of a restaurant or delivery zone.
Through a weekly subscription, consumers choose from over 300 meals handcrafted by talented chefs, tailored to satisfy different palates and dietary preferences. Starting at $10.49/meal, CookUnity provides an effortless way for consumers to experience fully prepared restaurant-quality meals from the comfort and convenience of their homes, every day.
Mateo Marietti, Founder and CEO, CookUnity: "We envision a world where chefs are no longer constrained by the capital, capacity and geographic limitations of a restaurant. The company has experienced incredible growth from 2018, and our recent funding points to the confidence and demand in the marketplace for this new category. We want to put chefs back in the center of the food universe, and answer the demand for an elevated at-home dining experience. Over the next 18 months, we expect to rapidly expand our talent pool of chefs and contribute to what we see as the future of food."
The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for CookUnity which saw rapid growth in its weekly subscribers and a YoY growth of over 450% since January 2020. In addition, CookUnity onboarded 12 new chefs this past year, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Einat Admony, Esther Choi, Marc Forgione and others, bringing the current total to 32. CookUnity projects to increase its impressive chef roster to more than 150 across all three kitchens by mid-2022.
The opening of two new kitchen locations will allow for the onboarding of many more talented, independent and acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs. This expansion will offer a chance for local chefs from across the country to showcase their talents in their regions and reach consumers nationwide. Unlike any other service, CookUnity chefs and their teams create and prepare each dish so that with every meal, consumers experience quality ingredients hand-selected by each chef, and curated recipes that feature the chefs' unique culinary approach.
Jeff Ransdell, Managing Director, Fuel Venture Capital: "I'm honored to be along for the ride as the CookUnity team works together to support talented chefs and democratize access to high-quality food, on demand, for eager and passionate consumers. Its Chef-to-Consumer platform brings exactly the kind of innovative, creative force our nation's embattled hospitality industry and the talented minds behind it need today. I look forward to supporting CookUnity as it continues to expand and connect more chefs to people who are passionate about the food they eat."
CookUnity has proven to be a savior to chefs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the restaurant and chef worlds continue to be upended. These sudden changes have demonstrated more than ever the importance of CookUnity's direct chef-to-consumer model. Esther Choi, Chef/Owner of Mŏkbar, is one of several chefs who credit CookUnity with enabling them to hire back team members as a direct result of revenue generated from the CookUnity platform.
Esther Choi, Chef/Owner of Mŏkbar: "Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for chefs to diversify, and forced consumers to find new ways to access fresh and elevated meals to enjoy at home. CookUnity has been integral in allowing me to hire back valuable team members and expand my reach beyond the physical constraints of our restaurant."