Sharebite, a startup that partners with restaurants to deliver food to corporate clients, today announced that it raised $39 million in a Series B round led by Prosus with participation from Fiserv, Contour Venture Partners, Reign Ventures, London Technology Club and Not Boring Fund. Co-founder and CEO Dilip Rao tells TechCrunch that the proceeds will be put toward expanding Sharebite’s market share, launching new products and developing AI-powered tools to “enhance the meal-ordering experience.”
Rao and Mohsin Memon, Sharebite’s other co-founder, were inspired to launch the company in 2015 after spending years working at Wall Street firms. Mohsin was an analyst at Bank of America, while Rao finished a tenure at Goldman Sachs to join Credit Suisse as an investment banker.
“When combined with sophisticated technology, an employee food benefit becomes the great equalizer, as it applies universally to employees, regardless of rank, location, tenure, or geography. The fact is, everyone eats,” Rao told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Sharebite’s platform serves as the source of truth for all things pertaining to employee meal benefits, and enables HR, IT and accounting teams to centralize all functions and allocate costs under one platform, with one single invoice to pay.”
Certainly, there’s no shortage of food ordering startups focused on the enterprise. While the transition to work-from-home during the pandemic made office-dependent ventures a riskier bet, there’s been signs of a rebound in hubs like New York City. Fueled by venture backers, companies like Dejbox are designing their own meals and working with other companies to cook, sell and deliver them to office workers. In a twist on the formula, Snackpass, which in June raised $70 million at an over $400 million valuation, lets office workers create group food and drink orders.
As for Sharebite, it’s designed to help companies centralize food ordering and expense management for employees both in-office and remote, Rao explained. The platform provides workers with a curated selection of meals from a network of thousands of restaurants, from which they can place orders to have them delivered to their home or apartment or a dedicated pickup spot in the office.
On the back end, employers can see individual employee’s and teams’ receipts, reimbursements and pending requests. Admins have the ability to assign allowance limits and select restaurant partners. Ahead of events and team orders, managers receive an email giving them the choice of three to five restaurants selected based on the staff’s needs and the office manager’s criteria.
Recently, Sharebite began rolling out what Rao considers to be the company’s first fintech product: Sharebite Passport. A payment card, Sharebite Passport allows employees to purchase meals at any restaurant or third-party delivery platform they choose. Companies can set an allowance for delivery and dine-in, and even grocery purchases.
For every transaction on its platform, Sharebite donates to nonprofit partners, including City Harvest and Feeding America.
“Sharebite’s enterprise-focused technology enables companies to easily integrate through its API and provision employee food allowances across all levels of the organization, with thousands of features that can be customized to each organization’s budgetary preference and compliance requirements,” Rao said. “As the future of work continues to evolve, the industry will need to explore ways to deliver and offer benefits that meet the needs of all employees no matter how or where they’re working.”
Food delivery collaborations haven’t always worked to restaurants’ benefits. Commission fees on some platforms can account for 15% to 30% of an order’s sales. (Sharebite charges 12.5% and up.) And promotions like Grubhub’s ill-fated “free lunch” in New York City can overwhelm restaurants with unexpected orders.
But Rao says that Sharebite, which doesn’t hire its own delivery drivers, works with restaurants to establish a streamlined order retrieval system and point-of-sales integration. Restaurants get a dedicated support manager, and payments are “prompt,” Rao claims.
Bucking the broader downtrend in the delivery segment, Rao says that Sharebite’s customer base has grown to over 250 corporate clients and “government-owned entities” like NJ Transit. In December 2020, Sharebite announced an agreement with WeWork to install drop-off stations at four of WeWork’s shared office locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Sharebite also has a partnership with HqO, a real estate software vendor, to build the former’s technology into HqO’s product for shared offices.
“Historically, Sharebite’s primary competitor in the corporate arena has been Seamless, acquired and re-branded by Grubhub,” Rao said. “The average enterprise customer that switches over to Sharebite from Grubhub/Seamless does so after roughly 18 years of having been on the incumbent’s platform.”
To date, Sharebite has raised $56 million. The company employs 150 people.