Food tech is hot these days, with a number of major funding rounds being announced specifically in the food order and delivery segment. With that in mind, ezCater, one of the oldest food ordering platforms around, has raised an additional $4 million to bolster the number of caterers on its platform and to reach more customers.
By our usual startup coverage standards, ezCater is a bit unusual. Founded in 2007, the company has been mostly bootstrapped over the first several years of its existence. But I guess with all the money that’s going into food tech, and specifically food delivery, it was hard to turn down a few million dollars.
Recently we’ve seen major financings for companies like Sprig ($10 million from Greylock), Spoonrocket ($10+ million from General Catalyst and Foundation Capital), Postmates ($16 million from Spark Capital), and Munchery ($28 million from Sherpa Ventures) — not to mention the Grubhub IPO.
Unlike services like Sprig and Spoonrocket, which make and delivery their own food, or Postmates, which handles delivery from third-party restaurants, ezCater is more of a marketplace from which typically business people can order lunch and other catered meals from any number of providers around the country.
ezCater works with caterers and other food providers to enter their meal choices into the platform, which provides a standardized way of displaying menus. While that’s a high-touch proposition, the company has already gotten 30,000 caterers on the site, and plans to add another 20,000 this year.
While competing specifically against companies like Grubhub for one-off lunch orders or ZeroCater for regular lunches, ezCater focuses mostly on orders placed at least a day or two ahead of time, rather than those ordered on-demand. That can be for sales calls, client meetings, team meetings, or daily office lunches.
It also sees some benefit from having caterers available all across the U.S., rather than in specific cities. So no matter where a customer travels for a sales meeting, ezCater will be there to feed him.
So far it’s served more than 1.8 million people, and is capable of handling orders anywhere from five to 2,000 people at a time. But the average order size is about $225, making its orders significantly larger than most of the competition’s. The funding comes as the company has also been growing pretty rapidly, tripling revenue growth over each of the last three years.
Those who participated in ezCater’s most recent funding include ZipCar investor Jill Preotle, CheapFlights co-founder Chris Cuddy, LaunchPad, and private equity firm Breton Capital Management. Total funding raised to date is $6.5 million.