This report is double the fun, with two monthly reports in one. Written by consulting firm Rosenheim Advisors, it 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.
The foodpocalypse has been a prominent theme over the last couple of months, as many opine on the bursting of the food delivery bubble. Just as the “On Demand” and “Convenience” Economies drove a significant portion of 2015’s investment (representing approximately 44 percent of 2015’s total U.S. food tech funding versus 29 percent in 2014), the category will also lead the headlines as the investor community continues to shift from a “grow at any cost” mentality to a higher emphasis on unit economics and operating KPIs.
That said, investment into the delivery category was still prominent in March and April 2016. In fact, the total combined investment in food delivery startups for the two months was actually greater than the same period in 2015. This was largely due to a massive $1.25 billion investment into Ele.me in 2016. If we normalize the data by stripping out the Ele.me investment in April 2016 and an $850 million investment into Dianping in March 2015, then combined investment into the food tech sector during the period in 2016 was down 23 percent versus 2015. M&A activity was generally in line with 2015 levels for both months.
The month of March featured six acquisitions, all of which were in the delivery sector and all except for one involved either an international buyer or target. Investment during the month totaled close to $420 million across ten deals with a similar theme of online ordering and delivery across the board. With only one seed deal, the remaining rounds were Series A or beyond, and 60 percent were international companies.
The month of April included eight acquisitions across a variety of sectors, with most based in the U.S. Investment during the month totaled close to $1.6 billion across fourteen deals, but as mentioned above Ele.me’s funding accounted for a majority of that. Close to $345 million was raised outside of the Ele.me investment. Ecommerce, ordering and delivery were dominant themes across a variety of stages ranging from seed all the way to public debt.
As I discussed in Fortune’s predictions for the year, “The 2016 Fortune Crystal Ball”, (as well as my annual report), consolidation is absolutely on the menu for 2016 and it may fast become the main course. While Kitchit, KitchenSurfing, Spoon Rocket, Chef Nightly and Dinner Lab are some of the more notable food tech startups to recently shutter, there are likely more companies to follow. But while the current narrative is focused on lack of funding and subsequent closures, I do think the private market overhang will give way to a significant number of opportunistic acquisitions as well.
On a related note, due to the significant amount of press around and investment into the food delivery category, the term “food tech” has become almost synonymous with delivery-related startups for the average person (or average investor). As a result, the overall food tech sector is hitting a bit of a rough patch on the PR front.
Many startups outside of the delivery sector I speak with say they feel the implications of the delivery shakeout in their own quest for funding. This is unfortunate, as recent shifts in consumer demand and behavior around food will continue to foster tremendous opportunity through technology – both through direct to consumer solutions, as well as business to business efficiencies and insights. While the delivery category is clouding the food tech narrative, the overall sector is still at the beginning of a long trajectory. The current rightsizing will make it a stronger sector overall.
EnterWorks Holding Co. Acquires Majority of Digital Foodie. Sterling, VA-based EnterWorks, which offers product information management (PIM) solutions, has acquired a majority stake of Digital Foodie, a Finnish SaaS platform for on-demand groceries. The combined platform will be launched into the U.S. market as an end-to-end, on-demand, omni-commerce solution for the food and grocery industry. Digital Foodie’s cloud platform currently powers the largest Finnish grocer, S-Group, and has been deployed in more than 1,100 stores in Europe, ranging from hyper-markets to grocery stores and convenience stores. According to Progressive Grocer, IGA stores including Wynn’s Market in Florida, will be the first to roll out the Digital Food platform in the U.S. The transaction was led by Black Dragon Capital, a U.S.-based private equity fund that owns EnterWorks.
Announced: 04/27/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2009
Hello Curry acquires The First Meal. The Hyderabad, India-based meal delivery service will allow Hello Curry, an Indian restaurant chain based in Hyderabad, to enter the subscription and meal delivery business, as well as the additional breakfast segment. The First Meal offers subscription breakfast and lunch meal boxes, and reports that it currently sells 10,000 boxes per month with an 89% retention rate. Through First Meal, Hello Curry aims to sell 5,000 meals sold per day in the next 6 months.
Announced: 04/26/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2015
Fexy Media Acquires Simply Recipes. Elise Bauer’s award-winning recipe and food blog, which grew to 6.5 million uniques in November of last year, will be the newest addition within Fexy’s portfolio of diverse digital brands, each appealing to specific food lifestyle needs. As one of six acquisitions since 2014, Simply Recipes will join Serious Eats, Roadfood, The Food Lab, and Relish as part of Fexy Media.
Announced: 04/21/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2003
Homemade Acquires CookNook. The New York, NY- and Washington D.C.-based platforms for home-cooked meals allow consumers to connect with home chefs and purchase homemade meals through online and mobile platforms. Homemade currently operates in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, and Toronto. As part of the acquisition, CookNook chefs and customers will join Homemade, and the company intends to expand along the East Coast.
Announced: 04/13/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
US Foods Acquires Food Genius. The Chicago, IL-based data analytics company will provide the Rosamond, IL-based foodservice distributor with data about US Foods, which has been a customer of Food Genius for over a year. As part of the deal, the Food Genius team will join the US Foods team.
Delivery.com Acquires BrewDrop. The Austin, TX-based mobile app for on-demand alcohol delivery will allow the New York, NY-based online delivery service to increase its alcohol-ordering consumer base. BrewDrop will cease operations and according to Austin Business Journal, BrewDrop’s CEO, will join Delivery.com as director of market development and will oversee the company’s Texas expansion, with Houston and Dallas targeted next.
Announced: 04/12/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2013
Chope Acquires Restaurant MakanLuar. The Indonesia-based restaurant reservation service will allow the Chope, a Singapore-based reservation service, to expand to Indonesia. Chope currently operates in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. At present, MakanLuar will maintain its own name, but will eventually come under Chope’s name.
Announced: 04/05/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: November 2013
Reserve Acquires Dash. The New York-based mobile payments data technology startup will add sophisticated Point of Sale integration capabilities with systems like Micros and Aloha to Reserve’s growing tech platform. Dash, which is Reserve’s fifth acquisition, also brings along an innovative “Venue Vibes” feature which notifies guests of a restaurant’s atmosphere based on real-time data.
Announced: 04/01/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: $6.9m Founded: 2011
Glovo Acquires Foodinho. The Milan, Italy-based on-demand meal delivery service Foodinho will allow Glovo, a Barcelona, Spain-based mobile app for on-demand delivery, to expand internationally. In addition to delivering restaurant and café meals, Glovo delivers any product available at local stores. Glovo currently operates in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, Spain, and with the acquisition will expand its operations to Milan, Italy.
Announced: 03/31/16 Terms: Not Disclosed (all cash) Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: June 2015
Paylo.in Acquires Ruplee. The multi-channel offline payment platform Paylo.in has acquired in-restaurant payment app. According to the company, the transaction will be a “merger of both teams and products, helping Ruplee evolve into an omni-channel payment platform from an app-only play, in addition to expanding its cashless payment experience to more verticals beyond food where it already enjoys a first-mover advantage.”
Announced: 03/21/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: October 2014
FoodPanda Acquires Delivery.com’s Hong Kong Operations. The Berlin, Germany-based online meal delivery service will take over the Hong Kong operations of Delivery.com, which it launched in 2014 noting that Hong Kong is “one of the world’s most densely populated places with a cultural and business environment that mirrors New York City” (where Delivery.com is headquartered). Foodpanda entered Hong Kong in 2014 as well, and has pursued an acquisition strategy in the area, with previous acquisitions from Hong Kong including Koziness and Dial a Dinner. The company notes that that the Hong Kong sale will allow Delivery.com to “refocus on its home market, where it is active in dozens of U.S. cities”.
Announced: 03/17/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Founded: Launched in 2014
iFood Acquires SpoonRocket. Just days after announcing it was shutting down, The Brazil-based on-demand meal delivery provider will use the Berkeley, CA-based meal delivery service’s logistics platform to improve delivery time and order tracking. Spoon Rocket with cease independent operations. Currently iFood is working to expand operations throughout Latin America.
Announced: 03/17/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: $13.5m Founded: June 2013
InnerChef Acquires EatonGo and Flavour Labs. InnerChef, a Guragon, India-based platform for food discovery and delivery will utilize EatonGo’s foothold in Bangalore, while also building a network of kitchens to be closer to customers. In addition, the Flavour Labs acquisition will allow InnerChef to leverage the team’s mobile kitchen know-how and add the company’s custom designed food trucks to its operations. Both acquisitions are acqui-hires.
Announced: 03/09/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: EatonGo – $0.4m; Flavour Labs – Not Disclosed Founded: EatonGo – February 2015; Flavour Labs – 2014
New Fresh LLC Acquires The Fresh Diet. The Miami, Florida-based meal delivery service allows consumers to choose healthy, gourmet meals for delivery. The company was acquired from Innovative Food Holdings by an investment group led by the original founder of The Fresh Diet.
Announced: 03/01/16 Terms: Not Disclosed Founded: November 2005
BoxGreen Raises $335k. The Singapore-based healthy snack delivery service provides consumers with single-serve healthy snacks delivered via subscription box. Since launching in May 2015, the company reports it has delivered over 75,000 snack packs to over 2,000 customers. The investment will be used to grow its food and innovation, customer service, and marketing/sales teams, and to develop new snacks. The company also plans to expand to Malaysia and other areas soon.
Announced: 04/29/16 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: 500 Startups, Expara IDM Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Milkbasket Raises $500k. The Guragon, India-based mobile app allows consumers to order groceries from their phone for delivery. Milkbasket originally only sold milk, but it now offers over 3,000 other products. The company currently operates in 15 clusters in Guragon, with about 500 app users in each cluster. The funds will be used to expand the Milkbasket team, enhance technology, and improve the logistics network.
Announced: 04/26/16 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: EVC (Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital) Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2015
Baedal Minjok (Woowa Brothers Corp) Raises $50m. The Seoul, South Korea-based online restaurant ordering and delivery app will use the investment to expand its business scope toward food logistics as well as enhance apps, Baemin Riders, Baemin Fresh, and Baemin Cook—which deliver drinks, fresh foods, and pre-made foods respectively. According to Deal Street Asia, the company aims to become profitable in 2016.
Fexy Media Raises $6m. The Seattle-based digital platform for food media is building a portfolio of food-focused brands. According to the Seattle Times, Fexy Media now has 50 employees and in addition to the recently acquired Simply Recipes (see M&A section above), the company operates three other websites and apps for cooks and diners: Roadfood, Serious Eats and Relish. According to the Sacramento Bee article in discussing the Simply Recipes acquisition, in addition to a network, Fexy is able to help its portfolio companies produce and distribute videos in a cost-effective way, and aims to offer data analysis of followers that would otherwise be unaffordable to smaller platforms.
Announced: 04/21/16 Stage: Venture Participating Institutional Investor: Tritium Partners Previous Investment: $16.3 million Founded: 2014
CaterSpot Raises $800k. The Hong Kong-based online platform for catering connects consumers with caterers and restaurants. The company operates in Singapore and Hong Kong with over 200 providers offering over 1,000 catering menus. CaterSpot will use the investment for growth of its current operations, hiring, and product development.
Announced: 04/19/16 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Triplestar Capital, Swiss Founders Fund Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: January 2016
Yummy Express Raises $10m. The Beijing, China-based O2O solutions provider offers last mile delivery services to catering merchants and takeout platforms. Rather than many crowd-sourced competitors, Yummy Express differentiates its services through its “well-trained proprietary delivery men” and delivering relatively higher-ticket items. The company says it currently delivers over 200,000 meal orders per day in 18 cities in China, working with companies like Baidu Waimai, Meituan-Dianping, and Tencent-backed Ele.me. The new funding will be invested into company’s expansion module.
Announced: 04/19/16 Stage: Series C Participating Institutional Investors: ClearVue Partners (lead), SB China Capital (SBCVC) Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2012
Wolt Raises $12.4m. The Helsinki, Finland-based mobile app allows consumers to order meals from restaurants for on-demand delivery by Wolt’s courier network, which arrives within about 30 minutes. To date, the app has over 100,000 users and works with over 400 restaurants. The investment comes with the launch of the company in Stockholm.
Announced: 04/15/16 Stage: Series B Participating Investors: EQT Ventures (lead), Niklas Zennström (Skype founder), Ilkka Paananen (Supercell CEO), and Risto Siilasmaa (Nokia Chairman) Previous Investment: $2.6 million Founded: October 2014
TabSquare Raises $2.6m. The Singapore-based restaurant management platform provides restaurants with tablet menus which customers can browse, order and pay for their food from. Restaurants can update the menus in real time via a content management system that includes a cloud-based data warehouse and analytics engine in order to track customer behavior and spending data. TabSquare is currently used by over 60 food and beverage brands and over 150 stores. The investment will be used for expansion and for technological development.
Announced: 04/14/16 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Walden International (lead), Infocomm Investments, Phillip Private Equity, Raging Bull Previous Investment: $0.5 million Founded: May 2012
Ele.me Raises $1.25b. The Shanghai, China-based online food delivery service received a strategic investment from Alibaba but didn’t provide any further details of the transaction. TechCrunch points out that there are synergies in Alibaba’s portfolio including a joint venture called Koubei which helps restaurants offer promotions via mobile. As part of the deal, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman has joined the board of Ele.me. Ele.me will continue operations as an independent company, but may become a target for full acquisition in the near future as Alibaba is reportedly selling its stake in Meituan-Dianping.
Homemade Raises $2.1m. The New York, NY food marketplace offers an app that connects cooks in communities with people looking for homemade food. Users can browse through local cook options and indicate their interest in certain dishes; cooks can then confirm the meal and arrange a meet-up or drop-off. In conjunction with the raise, the company announced the acquisition of CookNook (see M&A section above). According to the Wall Street Journal, the company, which has four employees, will use the funding to hire employees in community building, product development and operations.
Announced: 04/08/16 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Maven Ventures (lead), Maveron, Rostrum Capital, Scrum Ventures, Slow Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, XG Ventures Previous Investment: $0.1 million Founded: 2015
Groupon Raises $250m. The publically-traded Chicago-based local deals marketplace received a strategic investment by Comcast’s (“independent”) investment fund Atairos, via unsecured, senior convertible notes. In addition to the investment, Comcast Corporation will work with Groupon to identify and implement potential strategic partnership opportunities, exploring the opportunity to combine Groupon’s local expertise with Comcast’s subscriber and advertiser network.
Announced: 04/05/16 Stage: Convertible Debt Participating Investor: Atairos Founded: 2007
Jinn Raises $7.5m. The London, UK-based mobile app allows consumers to place orders for on-demand delivery. Users can order any item that can be purchased in the local area for delivery within an hour. The service operates 24/7 and is currently available in London and Manchester. Jinn will use the funds to expand to more cities in the United Kingdom and Southern Europe.
Announced: 04/05/16 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Samaipata Ventures (lead), Bull Partners, Elderstreet Investments Previous Investment: $2.3 million Founded: 2013
Petoo Raises $1.0m. The Bangalore, India-based meal delivery service offers traditional Indian dishes for online ordering. All dishes are easily accessible and boxed so that they are convenient to eat. Petoo currently operates in 20 locations in Bangalore. The funding will be used for food research and for expansion to more areas in Bangalore as well as Chennai and Hyderabad.
Announced: 04/07/16 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Axilor Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2015
Reserve Raises Undisclosed Investment from Diageo Technology Ventures. The New York, NY-based dining concierge service has growth to allow users to find restaurants, make a reservations and mobile pay the bill or split the check at the end of the meal. The round was funded by global liquor brand Diageo and in conjunction with the funding announcement, the company announced the acquisition of Dash (see above in M&A section). The company intends to use the funds to grow its restaurant presence within the existing seven cities it operates, launch in new cities, expand the userbase and build out more functionality.
Announced: 04/01/16 Stage: Strategic Participating Investor: Diageo Technology Ventures Previous Investment: $17.3 million Founded: 2014
Juicero Raises $70m. The San Francisco, CA-based smart kitchen company produces internet-connected kitchen appliances, beginning with a $700 smart juicer. The appliance cold presses juice from packs (a similar idea to Keurig cups) that customers buy from Juicero that contain a mix of fruits and vegetables. Each pack has a QR code that allows the company to track which flavors are used the most and in what quantity, and allows the app to suggest other pack flavors to the consumer that will provide them a nutritional balance. While much of the world is going crazy about this as an overly-expensive residential product (myself included), it may become more prevalent as a commercial product, as the Verge reports that Le Pain Quotidien has already ordered 21 juicers to be placed in eight of its Los Angeles locations.
Announced: 03/31/16 Stage: Series B Participating Institutional Investors: ARTIS Ventures (lead), Abstract Ventures, Acre Venture Partners, Aspiration Growth, Campbell Soup Company, First Beverage Group, GV, Interplay Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Thrive Capital, Two Sigma Ventures, Vast Ventures Previous Investment: $20.5 million (or, according to the New York Times, $50 million) Founded: 2013
Frichti Raises $13.4m. The Paris, France-based meal delivery service allows customers to order lunches, dinners, and weekend brunches for on-demand delivery. Meals are prepared by Frichti chefs in the company’s kitchens and are delivered cold with instructions to reheat at home. Frichti’s plans for the investment include uder acquisition via word of mouth systems and referral programs as well as expansion within and outside of France.
DoorDash Raises $127m. The San Francisco, CA-based delivery service works with local businesses, including restaurants, to deliver items and food to customers for a flat fee. DoorDash currently operates in 22 urban areas in the United States and Canada. The company reports the investment will be used to expand “both across the U.S. and beyond”.
Announced: 03/22/16 Valuation: $717 million Stage: Series C Participating Institutional Investors: Sequoia Capital (lead), Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Wellcome Trust, Y Combinator Previous Investment: $59.7 million Founded: 2013
Big Basket Raises $150m. The Bangalore, India-based online grocery store allows consumers to select and order groceries for delivery. Big Basket currently operates in 8 metros and 10 tier-two cities in India and receives over 1 million orders each month. The investment will be used to expand its express delivery service and launch new specialty stores.
Announced: 03/22/16 Stage: Series D Participating Institutional Investors: Abraaj Group (lead), Ascent Capital Group, Bessemer Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, International Finance Corporation, Sands Capital Management, Zodius Capital Previous Investment: $85.8 million Founded: October 2011
Jolly Food Fellow Raises Undisclosed Seed Funding. The Ahmedabad, India-based mobile app provides a platform for food retail vendors. Vendors can use Jolly Food Fellow for branding, managing customer loyalty, and analytics-led engagement. The company will use the funding for expansion and product development. Currently working with over 50 vendors, the company aims to work with over 500 by the end of this year.
Announced: 03/14/16 Stage: Seed Participating Investor: Janak Parikh Previous Investment: $300k Founded: 2015
Marley Spoon Raises $17m. The Berlin, Germany-based ingredient delivery service allows consumers to order cook-at-home recipe box meal kits. The company currently operates in Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, and Australia. The investment will be used for expansion to the west coast of the United States and the east coast of Australia.
Nom Raises $4.7m. The San Francisco, CA-based platform for video sharing allows amateur and professional chefs and food lovers to create, post, and watch their own food videos. Videos on Nom.com are both live and interactive and are intended to build an online community centered around a mutual interest in food. Notably, the founders of Nom are YouTube cofounder Steve Chen and former YouTube engineering lead Vijay Karunamurthy. The funding was announced with the company’s public launch.
Announced: 03/09/16 Stage: Series A Participating Investors: Corey Lee, Jared Leto, Khosla Ventures, Park Jae-sang, SV Angel, WI Harper Group Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: July 2014
NinjaCart Raises $3m.The Bangalore, India-based mobile app provides a platform for farmers and supermarkets/retailers to connect. Currently, NinjaCart supplies over 15 tons of fruits and vegetables to over 120 retailers each month, and is growing at a rate of 30% weekly. The company will use the funds to expand its team and invest in supply chain infrastructure and technology.
Announced: 03/07/16 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Accel, M&S Partners, Qualcomm Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: July 2015
Eight Days Raises $30.7m. The China-based online grocery store, also known as 8Dol.com, allows college students to purchase groceries online for delivery to their campuses. The store website also includes a social media platform through which students can share photos. Eight Days currently operates in 50 cities and 1200 universities in China, with 100 convenience stores in addition to campus locations. The funds will be used to expand to over 2000 colleges and 1000 convenience stores.
Hungryroot Raises $3.7m. The New York, NY-based stovetop-ready meal delivery service allows consumers to purchase healthy meal kits for on-demand delivery. All of the foods and ingredients produced by Hungryroot are gluten free and entirely vegetable based. Currently, products are available on FreshDirect and Amazon in addition to the Hungryroot site. The investment will be used for expansion, developing new products, and hiring.
Announced: 03/01/16 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners (lead), Crosslink Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, KarpReilly, Lerer Hippeau Ventures Previous Investment: $2.0 million Founded: 2015
The New York Times Partners with Chef’d to deliver recipe and meal kits.
Instacart Partners with PlateJoy to deliver groceries based on personal diet and nutrition recommendations.
OpenRice Partners with Foodpanda to bring on-demand delivery to app users in Hong Kong.
Zomato Partners with Snapdeal to simplify online ordering of meals.
Ibotta Partners with Anheuser-Busch to provide cash back on beer purchases.
Kitchen Brains Partners with HotSchedules to connect cooking appliances and platforms and point-of-sale systems with cloud-based technology.
NatureBox Partners with Target to Expand Retail Distribution.
Twitter Integrates with Yelp for Location Tags in the UK and Japan.
Hyatt Centric Partners with GrubHub to Help Reinvent Room Service
TouchBistro and iZettle Partner on Restaurant Payment Services.
Gourmia Partners with Ready for Sky and Freshub to Reinvent the Smart Kitchen
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.