Toronto-based meal-delivery food-tech company Chefs Plate has raised $6 million in financing, led by Munich-based e-commerce investor Acton Capital Partners, with participation from existing investors Connecticut-based Emil Capital and BrandProject, to accelerate hiring and to expand into new Canadian markets, with the addition of a Western Canadian fulfillment centre.
Chefs Plate delivers pre-portioned, locally-sourced ingredients in refrigerated kits directly to customers’ homes via FedEx, accompanied by simple recipes, for between $9.75 and $10.95.
Founded in 2014, and making its first deliveries in February 2015, Chefs Plate plans to double its current workforce from its current 125 employees over the next 12 months, adding more than 100 new jobs in Toronto and to fuel its expansion into the Vancouver market.
“With this new capital, the focus will be on supporting our rapid growth, including hiring top talent across all divisions,” said Chefs Plate co-founder Jamie Shea. “Our mission is to create meaningful connections through food. These funds allow us to offer more Canadians well-priced meal-kits with farm-to-table ingredients that are often fresher and less costly than the grocery aisle.”
Acton Capital Partners has a history backing e-commerce meal delivery start-ups in Europe, having invested in Swedish company Linas Matkasse.
“Chefs Plate is changing the way Canadians eat,” said Vancouver-based Acton venture partner, Hannes Blum. “In just under two years Chefs Plate has grown to be the leader in the meal-kit delivery category in Canada. The company’s unique model makes it very well-positioned to grow quickly while preserving its value propositions of freshness, quality and convenience at a highly competitive price.”
Chefs Plate will also be able to expand its direct relationships with the supply chain of Canadian growers, farmers and producers, allowing for more efficient movement of produce, boasting of a three-day journey from farm to table, which is apparently three times faster than grocery stores.
Chefs Plate announced that in June 2016 it had passed a milestone, delivering 100,000 meal-kits per month, at the same time as it added a new family plan, and expanded outside of Ontario to B.C., Alberta and Manitoba.
With the company’s volume approaching 200,00 meal-kits per month, the company is on track to post annualized revenues of $20 million, with CEO Jamie Shea speculating that the company is positioned to become a $100 million business in the meal-kit delivery market.
Meal-kit delivery is another one of those less obviously technology oriented real-world areas that are being disrupted by companies leveraging methods borrowed from the tech sector, such as Frank & Oak has done with men’s clothing.