CookUnity to order up a course of funding
CookUnity, a chef-prepared meal delivery service, is eyeing a $30 million fundraise this year, ahead of a $100 million-plus financing in 2023, according to CEO Mateo Marietti.
Why it's the BFD: The first round will provide the company with a cash cushion this year and CookUnity will look for tier one investors next year to help build the company, he tells Axios.
What they're saying: Market conditions will determine the structuring of the financing, Marietti says.
- "It’s safe in the current environment to have extra capital available," he says, noting proceeds will finance marketing and hiring.
- "The offers we have to raise a small round are at a higher valuation than our last year valuation," Marietti adds.
- "Based on the size of the company, I don't think we'll do anything below $30 million because the company is already at a meaningful size and more importantly growing fast," he explains.
By the numbers: CookUnity's annual revenue is significantly more than $100 million, Marietti says.
- CookUnity has tripled in size since raising $47 million in an Insight Partners-led Series B last year, with some markets generating EBITDA margins of above 10%.
- And it is selling 1 million meals per month, with each priced as little as $10.49, though they largely range between $15 and $20 per meal.
- The company has raised more than $70 million in growth equity.
How it works: Marietti likens CookUnity to a food subscription service.
- The company operates a revenue-sharing model with chefs, who prepare small batches of meals delivered to customers who have signed up for weekly meal plans.
- CookUnity currently has locations in seven cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Miami and Austin.
- The company services the entire U.S. via these locations, though it plans to add facilities in San Francisco, New Orleans, Denver and Washington, D.C.
What's next: The company plans to expand to London and Toronto.
- It also plans to launch a line of sauces created by the chefs it partners with, such as Esther Choi's kimchi.
- Importantly, it plans to hire a CFO next year, with going public an option within the next three years, though the CEO says there's no rush.
State of play: Strategic acquirers have shown a huge appetite for CookUnity's competitors in recent years — see Nestlé's $1.5 billion acquisition of Freshly in 2020.
- Kroger, which bought Home Chef for $200 million in 2018, said last year Home Chef surpassed $1 billion in sales.
- Alongside moves from Kroger and Nestlé, HelloFresh purchased Factor75 for $277 million in 2020.
- Earlier this year, Sunbasket merged with Prüvit in a $1.3 billion transaction.
- Other CookUnity competitors include Splendid Spoon, Epicured, Purple Carrot, Farmer's Fridge, BistroMD and Sakara Life.
The bottom line: "We want to become the primary destination for the most creative food in the world," Marietti says.