Culinary matriarch Julia Child fell in love with cooking while in Europe. During a meal in Rouen, she felt “an opening up of the soul and spirit” and then dedicated her life to make gourmet home cooking accessible.
Hello Fresh is taking a Web 2.0 approach to Julia Child’s mission. This food startup has raised $10 million to expand its platform, which makes creating tasty, healthy meals at home as effortless as possible.
Each week, the site lets home cooks peruse five new recipes created by professional chefs and nutritionists. The recipes take 30 minutes or less to prepare, only require basic kitchen equipment, and come with step-by-step instructions. The featured recipes for this week included warm sweet potato salad with pan fried tilapia, duck a l’orange salad, and herb garlic beef with watercress, peanuts, and baby carrots. I’d say that sounds significantly tastier than ramen.
The next step is to select the meals you’d like to prepare. Hello Fresh operates a “soft subscription” service, which means users choose how many meals they would like a week and for how many people. Next is the real kicker: One of Hello Fresh’s people on the ground will serve as a “personal sous-chef” by grocery shopping for you and delivering a box to your door with all the recipes and ingredients measured out. The rest, what is left of it, is up to you.
The company was founded in Berlin and currently operates in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Australia, and the US. Since beginning in 2011, it has grown to more than 100 employees and recently delivered the millionth meal in Germany. This $10 million in growth financing will bring Hello Fresh into new markets. It was led by Vowerk Ventures, a firm based in Germany, with all the old investors — Rocket Internet, Holtzbrink Ventures, and Kinnevik AB — throwing in as well.
Food startups are growing in popularity with consumers and venture capitalists alike as Internet entrepreneurs find innovative ways to help people eat better. Farmigo is an online farmer’s market that also announced a significant investment round this morning. Recipe sharing network Foodily is backed by $5 million in venture capital, and chef-prepared meal delivery service Munchery closed $4 million for expansion last month. There is also LA startup Pop-Up Pantry, which distributes frozen, vacuum-sealed gourmet meals, and world food subscription service Hungry Globetrotter. Not to mention services like Seamless and GrubHub which tackle restaurants deliveries.
Eating is something people have to do every single day. There is an ever-present need for ways to eat tasty, healthy food in a cost-effective and convenient manner. Food, unlike various other consumer products, will never go out of style.