Food e-commerce company Gobble has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Trinity Ventures.
Andreessen Horowitz, NYC angel firm Initialized Capital, global firm Fenox VC, Trinity Ventures’ Entrepreneur in Residence Anjula Acharia Bath, and Ideas Merchants Capital’s CEO Rohan Oza also participated in the round.
Designed to help busy professionals get dinner on the table in 10 minutes using a single pan, the company claims to already be serving over 1 million meals each year in California and Nevada. Gobble plans to use the funding to expand its current markets on a national level. The new boost of capital will also be applied toward expanding Gobble’s engineering and data science teams.
Back in May 2011, the company closed a $1.2 million venture capital funding from a group of well-known investors like LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, VC investor Felicis Ventures, Bay Area angel firm SV Angel, seed-stage investment fund Founder Collective, internet consumer arena seed-stage investor Morado Venture Partners, media and internet investor Thrive Capital, US tech entrepreneur Keith Rabois, Milo founder and CEO Jack Abraham, tech startup developer and Broadway producer Lorenzo Thione, Khosla Ventures partner Ben Ling, Moat founder Noah Goodhart, angel investor Doug Chertok, and entrepreneur investor Craig Shapiro.
In January 2014, the company topped it off with an undisclosed seed raise. The company also participated in the Winter 2014 Y Combinator class.
The mastermind behind Gobble is Standford graduate Ooshma Garg, who relished eating healthy, home-cooked meals at home, but found it hard to keep up with the habit once the demands of college and the working world set in.
Here’s how it works. Clients create a profile on Gobble and identify the number of people in their households, including kids. Next, users select the dates and times they want meals delivered, while also reporting any food preferences or dietary restrictions.
At the start of each week, users receive a calendar showing the available meal options. They can then add or remove days, or even change their selections up to 24 hours in advance of delivery. Prices vary depending on the number of meals a user orders. Six or more meals runs $11.95 per meal while 4 meals runs $13.95/unit. There are no tax, shipping, or gratuity fees.
The pre-portioned ingredients come chopped and ready to go for the company’s 3-step recipes. Customers can skip weeks or change selections as they go to fit their schedules. The so-called “Gobble boxes” can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen and saved for 2-3 months.
After each meal, Gobble invites users to provide feedback and collects the data to hone the options it offers each client based on its “taste algorithm.” Think of it like Pandora, but for your taste buds.
To increase sustainability, Gobble runs a Return & Re-Use Program inviting users to return the Gobble packaging—silver insulation liner, ice packs, and cardboard box—for sanitation and re-use at no charge to the customer.
Since launching, the company has changed its platform from a prepared meal delivery service to a you-fix-it dinner kit provider. During its early days, users would sign up to order home-cooked food from chefs in their area. The parameters accommodated each users’ dietary needs and preferences. The site also marketed to professional chefs, caterers, and folks who loved to cook, inviting them to sign up on the site to sell food to their neighbors.
Although it’s starting to sound like a broken record, it’s hard to deny that food e-commerce continues to attract big investment around the globe. Rocket Internet’s HelloFresh, which closed an $85 million Series F in September 2015, is planning to hold an initial public offering in Frankfurt. With Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanely at the helm of the IPO, the German-based company will offer new shares while allowing current shareholders to sell their stock too.
According to the company, revenue increased 384 percent during the first nine months of 2015, exceeding $218 million. Loses, however, shot up to $64 million, up from $9 million the year before.
HelloFresh, which is a direct competitor to businesses like Gobble, Plated (with a recent $35m Series B), and Blue Apron (with a recent $135m Series D), hopes to invest up to $66 million in its business over the next three years, launching new delivery centers, speeding up processing, and cutting fixed costs to boost margins.
According to some sources, food e-commerce may soon be feeling the squeeze as more companies enter the space, stake out markets, and vie for financing. Last month, HelloFresh was valued at $2.8 billion, while Blue Apron was valued at over $2 billion during its June 2015 financing round.
The space is not without its failed endeavors. A number of West Coast ventures like Chefler, Fresh Dish, and Pop-Up Pantry have closed their digital doors during the last two years.