Healthy meal delivery startup Freshly raises $21M

Freshly is announcing that it has raised $21 million in Series B funding.

The New York City-based company delivers healthy meals for a price of around $11 per meal — which may make it sound like many other food startups, but CEO Michael Wystrach (pictured below with his co-founder Carter Comstock) said the model is different in some key ways. Unlike a meal kit service such as Blue Apron, Freshly meals don’t require any cooking (you just heat them up in your microwave or on your stove), and unlike on-demand meal services such as Sprig, Freshly just makes a single delivery with all your meals for a given week.

“Our thought process was that on-demand means different things,” Wystrach said. “What we like to say is that you could have someone deliver you toothpaste when you want it, but having toothpaste already in your medicine cabinet is true on-demand. And when people are hungry, you’re hungry right now. You don’t want to have to wait for it.”

He added that in his view, Freshly’s real competitors aren’t tech startups, but rather the traditional options of restaurants and grocery stores.

Carter Comstock and Michael Wystrach

Apparently the company emerged from Wystrach’s personal experience of trying to eat healthier and lose weight — he compared the service to having your own personal nutritionist who cooks your meals for you.

Customers can choose plans starting at $11.50 per meal for six meals per week (the per-meal price goes down as you order more). You select the specific meals from a larger menu — every option is supposed to include healthy protein and vegetables, and to be free of gluten and processed sugar. The company is working to add options tailored to specific diets like vegetarianism and the Paleo diet.

Freshly, which now claims to deliver 250,000 meals each month to 28 states, previously raised $7 million in Series A funding. The new round was led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from previous investors Highland Capital Partners and White Star Capital.

Wystrach said this will help Freshly expand to all 50 states in the US (and to make the service available to anyone in those states, not just customers living in major metropolitan areas). It will also allow Freshly to expand its menu and improve its technology.

“We’re excited about the integration of technology with food over time, when we start learning about you individually and learning foods you like or don’t like,” he said. “Then we can offer the other side of the quantified self.”