This is a monthly guest post, by consulting firm Rosenheim Advisors, which highlights the most interesting acquisitions, financings and partnerships within the Food Tech & Media ecosystem – digital content, social, local, mobile, grocery, e-commerce, delivery, ordering, payments, marketing and analytics – to give you insights into the latest funding and growth trends.
July was exceptionally active on the fundraising front compared to last year, with 23 deals totaling $318 million* in 2015 compared to just $75 million over 10 deals last year during the same month. This cash influx continued to fuel the progression towards a maturing industry, with about a third of all the deals (globally), and half of U.S. deals, sized at least $20 million.
On the other end of the spectrum, three of the ten seed stage deals were based in the U.S., averaging $2.1 million per deal, while the remaining international seed deals were primarily based in India, averaging $300k per deal.
M&A activity for the month included four acquisitions of undisclosed value, which is less substantial than last year due to a remarkable month in 2014 (six transaction totaling over $660 million in July 2014). I don’t think this signals any major shift in the strategic market. Quite the contrary in fact, as I have mentioned a number of times, I believe we are in store for some significant consolidation in the coming year.
As has been the case seemingly every month, delivery was dominant, with 61% of deals (and 66% of cash) invested into on-demand or convenience-economy concepts, mainly around the meal and restaurant category. The remaining majority of deals were also focused on the restaurant category, ranging from reviews to loyalty and marketing to payment.
*Excludes CircleUp’s new $22 million growth fund, as those funds did not go towards the company.
Benseron IT acquires Restajet.com. Benseron IT, a developer of POS systems, will integrate the Naples, Florida-based provider of custom Android and iOS apps for restaurants with its Bevo POS system in order to futher streamline the order process. RestaJet’s apps offer reservation services, customer feedback, and push notification features, as well as online ordering capabilities for franchises.
Announced: 07/23/15 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Groupon Acquires OrderUp. The Baltimore, MD-based online and mobile food ordering and delivery service will bring expertise in food ordering and delivery to Groupon, and significantly boost its presence in the $70 billion sector by creating “an online and mobile food ordering marketplace of significant size and scale” while also providing opportunities for inventory cross-promotion, according to the Company. As TechCrunch notes, Groupon’s reach and ability to meet demand at large scales will enable OrderUp to grow at an accelerated pace and further expand in targeted markets. OrderUp is currently available in 40 markets throughout the U.S., focusing on those with high student populations.
Announced: 07/16/15 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: $10.0m Founded: September 2009
Private Investors Acquire Yeti. The Los Angeles-based local discovery app fosters conversation with a local focus. Nicknamed the “Tinder for places,” Yeti presents users with a series of photo cards with topics based on their location, giving users the option to swipe left to pass on a topic or swipe right to join in on a conversation. According to LA Business Journal, Yeti faced the choice to try to raise a large funding round to acquire more users or seek acquisition. The company stated that is decided to sell to a small group of private investors (JA Partners and Edgewater Ventures) so that it can continue to develop and retain the original mission of the app versus likely sunsetting the app if it were acquired by a larger tech company. Yeti will operate under a new CEO following the acquisition, and may develop more curated local recommendations.
Announced: 07/16/15 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: $875k Founded: June 2014
Meredith Acquires Grocery Server (Qponix). The Bainbridge Island, WA-based search and shopping engine, which targets customers using hyperlocal digital advertising for consumer packaged goods and grocery retail outlets, is part of Meredith’s strategy to drive digital and cross-platform growth, particularly withing the AllRecipes platform. Grocery Server, which has been a client of Meredith’s for some time, developed its technology in response to the shifting behaviors of mobile-equipped, value-minded shoppers and delivers product offers using shoppers’ recent mobile activity. The women’s interest publisher Meredith has used Grocery Server’s services in the past year, and as part of the acquisition, Grocery Server will supply Meredith with grocery data as well as nearly 150,000 monthly localized advertising specials in every residential zip code in the US.
Announced: 07/13/15 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: August 2010 (as joint venture between Qponix and MyGroceryDeals.com)
Noodle Play raises $160k. The Mumbai-based online ordering startup serves delivery-only Chinese food made in its own kitchens and guarantees delivery within 29 minutes. The brand is owned by Lollypop Foods Pvt Ltd and currently operates in five locations in Mumbai. Noodle Play will use the capital injection to expand its delivery service and has plans to open delivery outposts in over 50 locations in Mumbai by 2016. Eventually, the company plans to expand its services into other metropolitan areas.
Announced: 07/31/2015 Stage: Angel Participating Angel Investors: Gautam Sinha, Elliot Stechman, Ambarish Ray Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2012
GoButler Raises $8m. The New York-based on-demand startup offers a free, SMS-based personal concierge. Users can text the company to request a variety of services including food delivery, travel bookings and restaurant reservations. Customers’ ordering history and preferences are attached to their profile so that GoButler personal assistants, called Heroes, can see their preferences and use existing on-demand apps and e-commerce sites to provide its service. The company, founded by former Rocket Internet executives, believes its free service differentiates it from competitors and plans to make a profit by building an advertising network around customer data. The service is currently available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The capital injection will be used towards to fund a marketing campaign.
Announced: 07/30/2015 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: General Catalyst Partners (lead), BoxGroup, Cherry Ventures, Lakestar, Global Founders Capital, Slow Ventures, Sound Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: February 2015
Thrive Market Raises $30m. The Los Angeles-based wholesale buying club for health-conscious products operates like a hybrid of Whole Foods and Costco. For a $60 annual membership fee, users can access natural or organic products across a variety of verticals, such as food, home goods, and baby supplies at or below the price of the conventional equivalent. In the first eight months from launch, the company gained over 100,000 active members, 1,000,000 registered users, and generated $5mm in monthly sales. The company has also partnered with a number of non-profits to offer free memberships to families in need for every paid membership on the platform. Thrive Market will use the funding to expand its operations, with the opening of a new distribution center on the East Coast and developing its mobile app.
Announced: 07/30/2015 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Greycroft (lead), Scripps Network, CAVU, Powerplant Ventures Previous Investment: $9 million Founded: 2013
Delight Foods Raises $156k. The Bangalore-based food startup enables users to purchase famous Indian food brands from across the country. The venture works with over 60 brands sourced from 11 cities, allowing customers have delicacies particular to a city delivered to their homes. The venture is logistics heavy, and has packing centers in all the cities in which it operates. Funding will be used to make new hires, enter into new food categories, expand its location, and launch a marketing campaign in Bangalore.
Announced: 07/27/2015 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: MAPE Advisory Group, Fireside Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: December 2014
ShopKeep Raises $60m. The New York-based point-of-sale solution builds point-of-sale software for mobile devices and tablets. The company’s platform additionally offers customer marketing, inventory and staff management, back-end reporting and detailed analytics. The Wall Street Journal attributes the traction tablet-based point-of-sales systems are gaining to the proliferation of broadband internet that makes cloud software available at merchant locations. ShopKeep will use the funding towards growing its overall customer base in the US, strengthening industry partnerships, and launch international operations, starting with the UK.
Deliveroo Raises $70m. The London-based restaurant delivery service focuses on marketing, selling and delivering meals from premium restaurants that do not usually offer takeout. Deliveroo targets affluent cities with high population density and an abundance of restaurants, currently serving 18 cities and towns across the UK as well as Paris, Berlin, and Dublin. Funding will be used towards expansion into new cities in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, marketing on the internet, billboard, and TV, in addition to hiring managing and product engineering staff.
Announced: 07/27/15 Stage: Series B Participating Institutional Investors: Greenoaks Capital (Lead), Index Ventures (Lead), Accel Partners, Hoxton Ventures Previous Investment: $29.6 million Founded: February 2013
Homer Logistics Raises $2m. The New York-based food delivery service for restaurants combines orders that originate in the same area and that head in the same direction to eliminate empty-handed return trips and make delivery more efficient. Additionally, Homer Logistics provides software to restaurants to receive and analyze incoming orders from a variety of platforms. The company reports that is has completed over 6,000 orders in Manhattan in June 2015.
Announced: 07/21/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Vayner RSE, Rugged VC, Haystack Fund II Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Flypay raises $10.7m. The London-based mobile payment startup allows users to check, split and pay their restaurant bill from their smartphones by scanning an on-table QR code/NFC tag to pull up the bill. Since its launch, Flypay has added other solutions catering to the hospitality industry, including order and collect, order at table, pay at bar, and customer loyalty features. Notably, TimeOut – a media brand – appears to be positioning itself as a strategic investor, calling itself a “global multimedia discovery platform”, with plans to help enable global deployment of Flypay’s solution.
Plated Raises $35m. The New York-based subscription service for ready-to-cook meal ingredients and recipes markets itself as a premium meal kit delivery service. Plated distinguishes itself by offering sustainably sourced goods, with a slightly higher price-point per meal than competitors. To that end, Plated has invested in farming and transportation to ensure that its products are sustainably produced and shipped in sustainable packaging as well as mobile technology. Funding will be used to develop a low-waste supply chain and new regional fulfillment centers.
Main Street Hub Raises $25. The Austin, TX-based marketing platform for small-businesses uses data and analytics to help merchants acquire and maintain customers. The company’s “do-it-for you” local marketing platform offers an integrated social, web, and email marketing solution designed to help local restaurants and merchants drive more customers. The funding will provide the company with resources to grow, and facilitate the introduction of new products and addition of 300 employees in its Austin, TX, and New York offices by the end of 2015.
Freshly Raises $7m. The New York-based meal delivery service offers meals inspired by the paleo diet. The meals are prepared by chefs employed by Freshly and then packaged and delivered to customers. The company primarily delivers in Arizona and California, and has shipped over 200,000 in its first five months of operation. Funding will be used for expansion to cover 80% of the country with new production and logistics facilities.
Announced: 07/15/15 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors Highland Capital Partners (lead), White Star Capital Previous Investment: $2.0 million Founded: 2012
Spoon University Raises $2m. The New York based food network for millennials offers localized and more general stories about food, wellness, and lifestyle. Content on the website is produced by college students, who volunteer to share recipes, health and lifestyle stories, restaurant reviews, BuzzFeed-esque quizzes, and other food-related content. The website has a national page as well as individualized verticals for participating college campuses. Spoon University is different from similar platforms in that members who want to contribute content receive training in writing headlines, using Facebook to promote their content, and managing analytics tools to see how well their contributions are performing. Funding will be used towards expanding its network of contributors and creating more video content.
Announced: 07/14/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: BBG Ventures, BoxGroup Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Math Venture Partners, SoftTech VC, Vayner/RSE Previous Investment: $500k Founded: September 2013
Satvacart Raises Seed Funding. The Gurgaon-based grocery delivery startup offers over 4,000 curated products across grocery, fruits and vegetables, personal care, household essentials, and baby care through its online platform. Satvacart plans to use the funding to scale up its operations and expand into six new cities by the end of the fiscal year.
Announced: 07/14/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors Palaash Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Zesty Raises $17m. The San Francisco-based office catering service differentiates itself by delivering meals from local restaurants cooked in a more health conscious way or created off-menu. Meals come with ingredients and nutrition facts, and Zesty works with restaurants to ensure that meals do not contain added sugar or MSG. In return for handling all the logistics of delivery and scheduling for the restaurants, and Zesty receives a fraction of the catering revenue. Zesty will use the investment to fund expansion into new markets.
Announced: 07/14/15 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Index Ventures (lead), Founders Fund, Forerunner Ventures Previous Investment: $3.7 million Founded: November 2013
CircleUp Raises $22m Growth Fund. The San Francisco-based equity-based crowdfunding platform helps accredited investors find free access to private consumer-focused (mainly within consumer products and retail) investments, making it easier for investors to identify, diligence, and back companies they understand. Funding will be used to launch its Consumer Growth Fund, which will be used to match investments in consumer brands made through its crowdfunding platform. Whereas CircleUp’s traditional business model charges 5 percent commission tied to funds raised, the new Consumer Growth Fund will charge investors and also take both performance and management fees between 2 and 20 percent. According to TechCrunch, the average company funded through CircleUp has witnessed 90 percent growth per year after raising funds, but so far there have been no exits through sales or other liquidity events.
Grofers Raises $36m. The Gurgaon, India-based online mobile delivery app delivers produce and other goods from local stores on-demand. Customers can choose from a selection of over 20,000 items, including essentials like diapers and personal grooming items and have purchases delivered within 90 minutes. The Economic Times notes that the deal increased the company’s valuation threefold. Funding will be used towards marketing and expanding its offerings in more categories and geographies.
Eatlo Raises Angel Funding (“under $1m”). The Bangalore-based mobile platform allows users to order food and have it delivered within 20 minutes. The company currently delivers food from across seven locations in the city and operates with a network of seven chefs and 10 fulfillment centers, claiming to serve 1,200 orders daily. Funding will be used to scale up the business by increasing its delivery locations to 20, hiring 100 employees, and improving its back-end technology.
Announced: 07/07/2015 Stage: Angel Participating Institutional Investors: Globevestor, Powai Lake Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Foody Raises Undisclosed Series B and Series C. The Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam-based startup initially launched as a gourmet search and user review media platform has since diversified its services to include table booking and food delivery. TechinAsia reports that Foody aims to become to top platform in Vietnam and is interested in expanding into other countries in Southeast Asia using a hyperlocal strategy. Stunningly, the company announced both a Series B and Series C in the same month! Foody will use to funding to accelerate growth in user number, content, and expand its booking and delivery services as well as into new markets in Southeast Asia, beginning with Indonesia.
Quinto Raises Seed Funding. The Pune, India-based personalized recommendation app lets users discover dishes using crowdsourced ratings. Quinto differentiates itself from similar services by emphasizing ratings of particular dishes instead of the restaurant as a whole. Funding will be used to build up Quinto’ engineering and marketing teams, in addition to improving and expanding the recommendation engine.
Announced: 07/05/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2012
Berry Kitchen Raises $1.25m. The Jakarta, Indonesia-based meal delivery service employs a ‘bento model,’ allowing users to create their own lunch or dinner menus by combining different food options. Berry Kitchen claims that since its launch, it has served more than 245,000 boxes to 7,000 customers, who purchase credits in advance which can be redeemed for meals. The new capital will be used towards marketing, expanding its operational and technology team, improving its tech platform, and building two kitchens to serve orders in the Jakarta area.
Announced: 07/05/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Sovereign’s Capital (lead), East Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2012
1to1Fitness Raises Seed Funding. The Noida, India-based lifestyle startup aims to optimize healthy nutrition and lifestyle needs of the modern day professional. The company’s online platform features diet plans, work outs, health assessment, online lifestyle coaching, and live yoga classes. As part of the investment 1to1Fitness will receive consulting from investor SeedSphere.
Announced: 07/09/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: SeedSphere Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: Not Disclosed
Adored Raises $2.3m. The Manchester, New Hampshire-based loyalty experience platform beams personalized offers to customers in restaurants, cafes, and resorts by employing iBeacon transmitter technologies. Adored’s app is available on iOS and Android platforms and tracks customer preferences from phones behavior, without requiring information such as names and emails that may provoke privacy concerns. For merchants, Adore’s customer analytics could provide insight for increasing sales and promoting engagement. The company intends to use the funds to double its team, in particular the engineering and sales teams.
Announced: 07/08/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Borealis Ventures, Boston Seed Capital, Kepha Partners, Matrix Partners Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: September 2014
Chope Raises $8m. The Singapore-based restaurant reservation platform sends users instant reservation confirmation emails after users log on to the service to place a reservation at their desired restaurant. The company recently expanded to become a restaurant management and marketing platform and derives its revenues equally between a monthly fee for its operations management features and booking fees from its reservation service. Funding will enable Chope to add new features, including the development of an app for the Apple Watch and “What’s Happening,” a feature to enable diners to track the restaurants at which their friends have dined.
Announced: 06/30/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: F&H Fund Management (Lead), NSI Ventures (Lead), DSG Consumer Partners, Frontier Ventures, Singapore Press Holdings Previous Investment: $3.4 million Founded: June 2011
AAGAAR Raises Angel Funding. The New Delhi-based hyperlocal delivery service provides fresh and daily essentials, including groceries and personal care products, to customers’ doorsteps. The company noted that the current round helped the company set up as well as validated the process and infrastructure for the company’s services. The funding will be used to re-structure AAGARR’s portal, augment warehouse infrastructure, and improve delivery setup.
Announced: 06/29/15 Stage: Angel Participating Investors: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: November 2014
Drizly Partners with BlueConic to create a more individualized experience across commerce and content when shopping for beer, wine, and liquor.
Revel Systems Partners with Zapper to integrate payment solutions so that restaurants using Revel Systems have an additional payment option for customers.
7-Eleven Partners with Postmates to launch one-hour delivery service.
TripHobo Partners with Zomato to provide users with destination based restaurant suggestions.
Foursquare Partners with Uber to introduce ride ordering services within Foursquare’s app.
USDA Partners with Microsoft to create $60,000 innovation challenge to spur the creation of tech tools for analyzing food supply data.
Crisp Media Partners with Reader’s Digest to connect consumer packaged goods marketers and retailers with consumers.
As The Food Tech & Media ecosystem continues to see rapid change, Rosenheim Advisors created The Food Tech & Media Industry Map to help entrepreneurs, participants and investors understand this quickly evolving landscape. Let us know about your recent or upcoming funding, partnerships or acquisitions here.