Blue Apron, the dinner-in-a-box company that delivers pre-measured ingredients to home chefs, filed for an initial public offering this afternoon, seeking to raise as much as $100 million to compete in the competitive food-delivery space.
In the first three months of 2017, Blue Apron’s revenue rose 42 percent to $245 million from a year earlier, the company said in its S-1 filing. Last year, Blue Apron saw revenue grow by 133 percent to $795 million, following 338-percent growth in 2015.
Like many tech startups that approach the public market, Blue Apron is seeing rapid revenue growth but also sizable losses. The company swung to an operating loss of $51.7 million in the first quarter from an operating profit of $2.9 million.
Among the risk factors cited in the filing, Blue Apron said, “We anticipate that our operating expenses and capital expenditures will increase substantially in the foreseeable future.” The company has accumulated net losses of $186 million since 2014. Operating cash flows were a negative $19 million in the most recent quarter, after burning through $23.5 million in 2016. Blue Apron had $61 million in cash on hand at the end of March.
Much of the company’s spending has gone to hiring staff, with headcount rising to 5,200 employees in March from 1,051 at the end of 2014. Spending on marketing is also rising. In the first quarter, marketing costs more than doubled to $61 million, with most of the spend going toward offline media campaigns.
Blue Apron had been considered a strong candidate to go public this year. Following the long-expected debut of Snap in March, the tech IPO market has remained sluggish. Snap’s stock is trading 25 percent above its offering price, although trading has been volatile after what analysts considered a disappointing earnings report this month. In the first quarter of 2017, 25 U.S. companies went public, according to Renaissance Capital, but only six of them were venture-backed.