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CookUnity to order up a course of funding

Illustration of repeating dinner plate emojis with smiley faces on them.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

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.

The bottom line: "We want to become the primary destination for the most creative food in the world," Marietti says.

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