Freshly, the meal delivery service for freshly-prepared meals, has agreed to be acquired by global food conglomerate Nestle for $950M with an additional $550M in earnouts possible.
Lunchbox, cofounded by Nabeel Alamgir, helps restaurants develop digital ordering experiences on their own websites and apps, reducing the reliance on third-party platforms that charge debilitating commissions at a time when restaurants are struggling for survival. Alamgir walks us through Lunchbox and how it plans to use this recent funding to scale its team, provide more products that will level the playing field for restaurants, and the company’s recent funding (at a reported $100M valuation) from investors that include Coatue, Tom Colicchio, Scott Belsky, Michael Vaughn, Robert Early, Bryan Ciambella, and Reshma Saujani.
“OffLimits is run by a team of creatives who don’t fit into any one market. We represent countercultures: punk rockers, K-Pop stans, skaters, kids, adults, artists, and anyone who loves cereal. We’re on a mission to build a community of like-minded people who question the status quo and challenge the way things are.” CEO and Founder Emily Elyse Miller discusses launching a counter-culture cereal brand that she contends addresses a culture rooted in racism, sexual repression, misogyny, and bad ingredients.
In the wake of the pandemic small neighborhood coffee shops, bakeries, and cafes had to scramble to adopt mobile ordering and needed to place an emphasis on managing their supply chain to ensure survival. Odeko is the simple-to-use technology platform that allowed them to do both and quickly. CEO Dane Atkinson shares some insight on the company, its mission-driven purpose enabling neighborhood businesses to compete with the larger chains, and recent round of funding from investors that include GGV Capital, First Round, Primary Venture Partners, Box Group, Addition Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, and Y Combinator.
Is there anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cold refreshing drink? Onda is making this possible with tequila. The newly-launched spirits brand offers a line of canned sparkling tequila beverages that are each 5% alcohol, 100 calories, zero sugar, zero carb, and naturally gluten-free. CEO and Cofounder Noah Gray shares more about launching the brand in the middle of the pandemic, the shift to digital, and the company’s recent funding round led by 25madison.
Sandro Roco, self-financed Sanzo, an Asian-inspired sparkling water brand, for a few years, which meant (pre-pandemic) taking subways with a hand truck, Ubers at 6AM to beat traffic (and surge pricing) and meeting 1:1 with customers, retail partners, and suppliers. Today, the product is found in Whole Foods throughout the Northeast, available direct-to-consumer, and the business is profitable. Roco shares some insight into how the recent popularity of Asian culture in America inspired the launch of Sanzo, self-funding the company, operating as a solo founder, and the experience of raising capital primarily through angel investors rather than funds.
As the COO and Cofounder of Blue Apron (IPO 2017), Matthew Wadiak saw firsthand the problem with the country’s food supply chain. His latest venture, Cooks Venture, is reimagining the chicken farming industry with regenerative agriculture. Slow-growth, heirloom chickens are bred on the 800-acre farm that not only produces healthier chickens for humans but also has a reduced environmental footprint as compared to the “factory farms” where most chickens come from. Today, Cooks Venture announced a $10M Series A round from investors that include SJF Ventures, Cultivian Sandbox, Larry Schwartz, and John Roulac. Wadiak shares some insights on the agriculture industry, where it needs to head, and Cooks’ future plans.
“We have all walked into a grocery store and seen empty shelves, while food is being wasted at alarming levels. This paradox is the result of thousands of food companies being dependent on outdated, siloed infrastructure. Crisp transforms the value chain by providing an open data flow to solve critical problems such as out-of-stock, shrink, on-shelf optimization, and adaptation to changes in consumer demand.” We caught up with serial entrepreneur and Founder Are Traasdahl (exit Tapad for $360M) to learn more about how Crisp’s technology helps better manage the food supply chain during the pandemic, the company’s impressive growth, and recent funding round from investors that include FirstMark Capital, Spring Capital, and Swell Partners.
“NUGGS has evolved into the fastest-growing chicken nugget on the planet” Can chicken nuggets be disrupted? We caught up with SIMULATE founder and CEO Ben Pasternak to learn more about how he is bringing software development principles of feedback loops and agile manufacturing to plant-based nutrition choices that are a viable alternative to animal-based meats. The company just closed its Series A round from investors that include Lerer Hippeau, Walter Robb, Alex Ohanian, AgFunder, McCain Foods, Rainfall Ventures, Jasmine Tookes, Neil Parikh, and Bob Pittman.
The restaurant industry is scrambling to find ways to encourage diners to return amid the pandemic. Bbot is a contactless restaurant ordering and payments platform that enables restaurants to allow their diners to use their own smartphones to select the items they would like, place the order, and pay all through their smartphone, without ever having to download or sign up for an app. The company is experiencing a wave of adoption with both delivery and in-person dining over the last several months. CEO and Cofounder Steven Simoni shares some more insight into how the company pivoted from a restaurant robot idea to its current offering, how the pandemic has amplified the need for the solution, and the company’s seed funding round from investors that include Craft Ventures and Acceleprise.
Rooms service, even at the finest of hotels, can be hit or miss. Usually expensive, untimely, and a hodgepodge of items, in-house hotel dining is often best avoided. Butler Hospitality addresses this through its cloud kitchen for hotels, where the company takes over hotel kitchens and provides turn-key food and beverage services that make room service profitable again. Founder and industry veteran Tim Gjonbalic shares more about how Butler elevates the in-house dining experience at hotels, how the company weathered the downturn in the hospitality industry due to COVID-19, and the company’s $15M Series A round from investors that include &vest, Scopus Ventures, Mousse Partners, Kraft Group, and Loeb.nyc.