Home-cooked food delivery service WoodSpoon is planning an expansion after raising $14 million in Series A funding.
Restaurant Brands International led the round along with World Trade Ventures and a group of individual investors, including Victor Lazarte.
New York-based WoodSpoon was started in 2019 by Oren Saar and Merav Kalish Rozengarten, two Israelis in America that longed for the food they grew up with. They began reaching out to local home chefs in the area and gathered them together in a marketplace where they could share their culture and passion of food with others.
Two years later, the company boasts over 16,000 active customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and 50% month over month growth. Customers can order dishes that run the gambit of world cuisine through WoodSpoon’s website or app and receive on-demand delivery to their doorstep or schedule service. Saar told TechCrunch that 35% of WoodSpoon’s customers have ordered four times in 17 days after their first order.
The new funding gives the company a total of $16 million — it raised $2 million at the end of 2020. Saar said the Series A enables the company to accelerate growth through R&D and marketing and to double its team so it can expand into new markets, like major cities across the United States, over the next 12 months.
At the same time as it brings customers culturally diverse food, WoodSpoon helps generate income for its home chefs — a mix of 150 active professional chefs, immigrants and cooks making dishes for the company at least three times a month. WoodSpoon interviews each chef, inspects their kitchens and provides training to keep consistent quality.
“When you scale, you can lose touch with your customers and lose the personal connection with the home chefs,” Saar said. “We feel every home chef is part of our family and want to help them build their brand, so it is important that this food is high quality.”
WoodSpoon has about 30 employees and plans to hire more engineers to continue developing its technology. Saar said a new product will be launching at the end of August, while WoodSpoon’s app will get an overhaul to have a new look and feel.
The Series A also enables WoodSpoon to onboard its waitlist of hundreds of home chefs that want to join the marketplace.
Meanwhile, the global online food delivery services market is forecasted to be $126.91 billion in 2021, and then reach $192.16 billion in 2025, according to consultancy firm Research and Markets.
Chris Brigleb, head of corporate development at Restaurant Brands International, said technology is a big focus for his company, which spent a lot of time looking around for potential investments beyond the traditional quick-serve restaurant space.
He began meeting with tech-enabled businesses and came across WoodSpoon four months ago. The more Brigleb learned about the company, the more he liked it, and even encouraged Saar to speed up WoodSpoon’s growth and fundraising plans, he said.
Though WoodSpoon’s concept is not new, he felt its approach was the complete package of user experience on the customer side, the ease of searching the marketplace by chef or cuisine and support for the chef in terms of providing packaging and logistics management.
“The delivery was a key for us and a differentiator,” Brigleb said. “They take all of the hard parts about delivering for home chefs off of their plate so they can focus on the actual cooking that is special to them.”