Good food means tradition, but this does not mean that venture capitalists and innovative startups founders mind a bit of technology in their sandwich. With a European population more and more concerned with eating healthy, while cooking at home, new food startups pop everywhere like mushrooms after rain. Some offer quick delivery of meals, others offer meal kits (all the ingredients you need along with recipes), for a small fee. New names emerge, including the German startups Marley Spoon, Hello Fresh, and KptnCook. Berlin based businesses are not the only taking place at the table; Rocket Internet has also launched EatFirst, its fast food delivery app, in the City of London. On the other hand, FoodPanda, Rocket Internet’s fast delivery service, is grabbing all the attention and plenty of funds, while expanding on its traditional markets and beyond. Delivery Hero, one of the top international mobile food ordering providers, gets new funding, as well, and acquires pizza.de, the German market leader for pizza delivery.
So … what’s cooking?
We all live in a fast world. While Europe may be famous for its slow way of doing things, compared to the US or Asia, when it comes to food, Europeans seem to be as busy and hungry as the rest of the world. Cooking is often perceived as a chore, and, due to lack of knowledge and imagination, many choose to order in or go out for dinner.
Marley Spoon tries to convince hungry European otherwise. With the help of experienced chefs, the startup offers customers seven delicious recipes to choose from. All tastes are covered, with meat based, fish and vegetarian recipes readily available. What customers have to do is to order the recipe they want, and they will have all the ingredients delivered, along with the instructions, for at least 4 servings.
Hello Fresh opts for the meal kit solution, as well. However, they do offer subscriptions, and customers can choose weekly plans, to have all the evenings covered.
KptnCook is the least complicated option, since it is a free app that supplies you with information on what ingredients you need and where you can find them, in stores near you. Of course, you will have to walk to buy anything, but you have all the guessing work cut out for you, and you will get all the instructions needed to cook a healthy, delicious meal at home. In the future, KptnCook will enable in-app purchases of recipes, and we work on B2B partnerships with retailers and brand producers offering them a mobile-to-local marketing platform.
A bit of venture capitalist funding added to the mix
Since all these European food startups are at their beginnings, nothing is certain in terms of success and popularity with customers. Nonetheless, venture capitalists are jumping the bandwagon, and investments in food delivery are pouring from all directions.
Falcon Edge Capital and Rocket Internet AG have recently invested 60 million dollars in FoodPanda, the international food delivery service, with its headquarters in Berlin. In the US, Revolution Ventures also invested 30 million dollars in Revolution Foods, a company specialized in school lunch delivery.
The things seem to be moving quite fast in the US compared to Europe, since companies like Blue Apron and Munchery have already raised, 40 million and 28 million dollars respectively, from venture capitalists.
The food startup business seems very promising. In 2013, investors poured no less than 2.8 billion dollars in food startups, which means quite a lot. Since there are plenty of small companies getting involved, it looks like there is plenty of room for new comers, as well. Taking the step up into the world of modern business, these startups offer their customers easy to use apps on their mobile devices so they can order meals, or meal kits to be delivered to their door.
The pot is getting hotter
How are these food delivery services different from those existing before? Operative being the keyword here, EatFirst is Rocket Internet’s new app that allows those working in the hustling and bustling City of London to order meals, and have them delivered within less than 15 minutes! The main selling points do not resume to speed; the meals provided are organic, made with ingredients from trusted sources and created by experienced chefs.
The mobile ordering model of business is taking flight in Europe, since Delivery Hero has just acquired pizza.de, the leader of the German market for pizza delivery. While the giants are going the extra mile to get faster to customers, smaller startups are getting in, through the cracks. With their meal kits readily available, they occupy a market segment that was neglected until now.