500 Startups Accelerator alum Love With Food has raised a $645,000 seed round led by Homestead.com founder Justin Kitch. The round also included investors like 500 Startups, Teec Angel Fund, Great Oaks VC, Manish Poshmark.com founder Manish Chandra, Google distinguished engineer George Harik, LiveOps.com founder Douglas Feirstein, and Blue Run Ventures partner Jonathan Ebinger.
Love With Food, which was part of last year’s 500 Startups fall class, provides a subscription commerce service that sends monthly boxes of curated gourmet treats to users — kind of like Birchbox for the foodie set. The startup recently lowered the price of its boxes from $14 to $10, with discounts on shipping for ordering several months or a year’s worth of goodies at once.
Just six months after launch, Love With Food has managed to attract users in all 50 states around the U.S. — in fact, founder Aihui Ong says it has more subscribers in rural and suburban markets than in metropolitan centers. Why is that? Because while the fancy folks in places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and L.A. have easy access to high-quality, gourmet treats at local markets, people in rural areas typically can’t find similar goods at their own local supermarkets.
“When we ship a box of goat’s milk caramels to Wisconsin, people are amazed,” Ong said in a recent phone conversation.
Love With Food isn’t just about subscription commerce: It also provides a way for subscribers (and other visitors) to purchase food that was a part of its monthly shipments. In fact, about 15-20 percent of its monthly subscribers come back and purchase regular e-commerce goods. Love With Food does that by providing personal recommendations based on your personal taste data — using more than 50,000 data points that it’s collected since launch to determine which products people are most likely to buy.
Ong said the site has grown about 3x over the past three months, in part through partnerships that it’s striking with publishers. That includes influential food and mom bloggers who help to curate (and publicize) upcoming boxes. One high-profile example is Back In Skinny Jeans‘s Stephanie Quilao, who is partnering with Love With Food for the launch of her book in September. That month, Love With Food will have a box that features gourmet snacks for before and after workouts that have been curated by the blog author.
Love With Food is a monthly subscription service that delivers a box of unique and hard-to-find gourmet samples to your door. Our members taste different products monthly, provide feedback, earn points and also able to purchase full-size products at a discount on a limited time offer. This monthly tasty discovery experience costs $10/month. For every box sent, a meal is donated to No Kid Hungry.