Meal-kit delivery startup PlateJoy has raised $1.7 million in seed money to get into bigger markets and take on competitors like Blue Apron in the recipes-for-delivery segment.
The funding comes from Foundation Capital, Sherpa Ventures, HealthBox, 500 Startups, VaynerRSE, Bassett Investments, Gotham Gal Ventures’ Joanne Wilson and celebrity investor Jared Leto.
Saying there is a lot of competition in the meal-delivery space is an understatement. There are at least 12 food-delivery services in San Francisco, and it seems like another one pops up in some U.S. city every day. Add that to some of the bigger players in the make-a-meal-at-home-with-delivered-ingredients space like Blue Apron and Plated and it seems like this would be a tough space for PlateJoy to conquer.
Blue Apron alone delivers over 2 million meals a month now, according to the company. It also has $58 million in the bank with a $60 million revenue run rate per year, dwarfing PlateJoy, which started just a year after Blue Apron.
There are a lot of food startups but people eat four to five times a day. Rodolfo Gonzalez, Foundation Capital
“It’s mostly irrelevant,” he told TechCrunch over the phone. “There are a lot of food startups but people eat four to five times a day. And if you ask most CEOs, they are not eating healthy enough. They just aren’t.”
The healthy meal aspect is what prompted founder Christina Bognet to create PlateJoy shortly after graduating from MIT and dropping 50 pounds.
“I tried every diet delivery service under the sun and couldn’t believe how bad they all were and yet they were so expensive,” she said.
Bognet started eating healthy and taught herself how to cook healthy meals at home. “I was going to be a doctor but I thought I could do something like this for others,” she explained.
PlateJoy intends to get at the meal-delivery market and take on some of the bigger players like Blue Apron by providing a healthier option of food that people can make at home.
The majority of the funding will go towards expanding PlateJoy’s “personalization process,” which is a tool used to customize meals according to your weight loss and lifestyle goals. Customers input their current weight, height, whether they are vegan, vegetarian and how much they want to lose in order to create custom meals and portion sizes for their needs. A queue of meals are then generated, according to their specific tastes and needs.
PlateJoy will also be hiring a slew of developers, marketers and designers in order to further customize the site to the needs of customers.
“When you ask people whether or not they’re happy with the way they’re eating, almost everyone says no. Through our extensive data collection, we’re coming to understand what causes that gap on a personal level, and what it takes to fill it,” Bognet said.