Blue Apron Rounds Up $3 Million in Funding for Online Meal Service
Blue Apron has raised $3 million in venture capital to continue growing its food delivery service that ships to your door all the ingredients necessary to fix a meal.
Investors in the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company include First Round Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners, as well as a handful of angel investors, including Dave Tisch of Box Group, Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg (co-founders of Invite Media), Jason Finger of Seamless and Jim Moran of Yipit.
The service does not send prepared meals to the home. Instead, it sends all of the ingredients necessary to make a recipe, including the meats, grains and sauces. The service costs $9.99 per person for each meal.
Blue Apron’s service, which is available in the eastern U.S., is targeting anyone who wants to cook more, but doesn’t have the time to shop or plan. Less than a year after launching, it is already shipping about 6,000 meals a week, said Matt Salzberg, the company’s co-founder and CEO.
“Aside from the convenience and cost-effectiveness to cook this way, it is an incredible learning experience that can teach you new foods that you haven’t cooked before,” he said.
Blue Apron is part of a crop of online food delivery services that are targeting busy professionals. A recent story in the New York Times reviewed five providers, including HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Plated, ChefDay! and FreshDirect. It said that Blue Apron scored high for having very fresh ingredients and clear recipe cards, but found that sometimes the concepts were a little too adventurous, such as pickled daikon and ground-lamb kebabs.
In a story by my colleague Lauren Goode, she found that there are some flaws with the services. For instance, not all of them are offered in all U.S. markets, and there’s sometimes no ability to alter recipes in case of food allergies.
Salzberg, who was previously a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners, said Blue Apron will be using the funding to expand nationwide over the next several months and to increase marketing. It will also be looking for ways to accomodate customers with specific dietary restrictions.
“We think our business has the opportunity to be a very large business. It’s one of the few markets that is applicable to everyone on the planet,” he said. “Everyone cooks, and everyone eats.”