CookUnity is a Chef-prepared, small-batch meal delivery startup. Mateo Marietti is the founder and CEO of the company. The startup is undergoing a major expansion after closing a $47 million Series B round.
The round was led by Insight Partners. It was joined by Endeavor Capital and current investors IDCV, Fuel Ventures, and Gaingels. The latest funding comes eight months after New York-based CookUnity closed a $15.5 million Series A round led by Fuel Venture Capital. The company has now raised a total of $70 million since its inception in 2018.
Inspiration behind CookUnity
Mateo had the idea for the subscription-based company five years ago. Marietti, who is from Argentina, was working in food tech. There he saw that modern delivery services were only able to offer limited food options and pricing. It was a trade-off between convenience and variety.
He went looking for a similar experience to apps like Spotify, where the music selection was limitless and created CookUnity to connect creators of food with the people who would be eating it.
CookUnity combines the ready-to-eat meal category with a chef-focused business model that provides restaurant-quality meals at home. The rotating menu features hundreds of dishes, starting at $10.49 per meal. This also has an option of a subscription plan for four, six, eight, 12, or 16 meals per week. Meals heat up in minutes and also include both fast-cooking instructions, like in a microwave, or how the chef might prepare it at home, like with an additional squeeze of lemon or other toppings.
What’s in it for the chefs?
Chefs are also given tools and resources to create a digital-first business. Marietti said that top-selling chefs bring in upwards of $1 million a year.
We are building the infrastructure, working with farmers, providing the ingredients and the tech layer for both the consumer app and the chef app. We don’t employ any talent or cook the food, but we give chefs the tools to start recruiting cooks, gather information on new recipes, organize their team and expand into new markets while also seeing their sales for the day or week.
The company’s platform is already working with notable chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Marc Forgione, and Esther Choi. Moreover, the Series B funding will enable it to add more chefs, including local rising stars and established restaurateurs. It’ll further enable them to sell beyond the typical on-demand food delivery zone.
Starting with the flagship kitchen in Brooklyn, it initially expanded to San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Following Series A, the company opened kitchens in Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago. The new funding will now enable the company to accelerate its nationwide expansion with new kitchens in Atlanta and Miami by the end of the year. When all of the new kitchens are online, Marietti estimates that CookUnity will be able to serve 88% of the U.S. population.
On the chef side, there is a creator economy tailwind. It is taking the friction out of scaling a business. Consequently, it enables chefs to build a business with a larger footprint than just selling food around their restaurants. On the consumer side, the startup is providing affordable and convenient food without having to compromise on taste and quality.
In the last 12 months, CookUnity saw over 550% growth and to date has over 50 chefs on its roster, with plans to increase to 150 across all of its kitchens by mid-2022.