FreshDirect, a popular online grocery service on the East Coast, is arming itself with $189 million in additional funding. The round was led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, with W Capital and AARP Innovation Fund investing as well.
The new capital will be used to help FreshDirect build up its “manufacturing capacity” and “open up some new geographies,” according to co-founder and CEO Jason Ackerman. The business currently ships to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.
It is a tough landscape for grocery delivery, with competition from Amazon, Instacart and even Google. Popular on-demand app Postmates can bring groceries from anywhere as well.
Due to growing consumer expectations for faster delivery, FreshDirect introduced FoodKick, for one-hour delivery in select locations. Ackerman told TechCrunch that he expects this to be a pivotal part of their business. FreshDirect is “seeing a huge expansion of our customer base,” because of FoodKick, he said.
While many businesses have struggled to make online groceries work (Webvan was symbolic of the dot-com bust), FreshDirect insists that they have solid financials. With “about $600 million in revenue,” FreshDirect is profitable and growing.
When asked whether he was concerned about the expansion of AmazonFresh, Ackerman quipped, “we’ve been competing with Amazon for a while now…and we’ve continued our growth rates all the way through.”
He added that there is room for multiple players in what he believes is a trillion-dollar industry.
FreshDirect has previously raised over $90 million in funding from AIG, CIBC and Mercantile Capital Partners.