Mobile app HUNGRY received $2.7m in seed funding from Timeless Capital, allowing the small start-up, which soft-launched in June this year, to expand their reach in the greater DC area and meet the rapidly increasing number of orders, among other things.
“Month-over-month, we’ve been doubling what we’ve done in the previous months,” Eman Pahlevani, who founded HUNGRY with his brother Shy, told FoodNavigator-USA. “The growth has been pretty rapid; we’re playing a little bit of catch-up.”
In a press release, the founders called the investment “an enormous vote of confidence in us and our vision. We are feeding into the passion of foodies while enhancing the credentials and earning potential of chefs, and our investors [can] see that."
More food delivery apps enter the market
Ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat dinner apps have become increasingly popular this year. As the category crowds, differentiation is key: There’s DinnerCall, which allows consumers to order pre-measured ingredients and an easy to follow recipe from a grocery store, or Power Supply, which partners with local chefs to provide freshly cooked meals to crossfit, yoga, and barre-enthusiasts, delivered to a location of choice.
HUNGRY’s approach is highlighting its gourmet chef partners. “In today’s world you order meals from an app, from restaurants, but there’s no real connection with who the person is that’s making the food,” Pahlevani said. “There’s a need for people to know not just what’s in the food but who’s making the food.”
Chef’s that have signed on to partner with HUNGRY include a former White House chef and a Food Network 'Chopped' champion chef. “We’re bringing high-level chefs into the marketplace and allow you to really connect with them,” he added.
With this partnership, it’s not just the users who get to enjoy an exclusive meal, it’s a business boost for the chefs as well. “Chefs retain total control of their menus, can earn significant supplemental income and are able to build their personal brand with complete creative control,” the company said.
Chefs source the ingredients
Based in an office in Clarendon, VA, in the D.C. area, the company is looking to double its employees from 25 to 50 people in the near future. Thanks to the recent investment, the company is also on-track to meet its goal of expanding to New York City sometime in 2017.
The investment also allows the company to ramp up its tech team, now that the app is available on iOS, Android, and desktop computers. “We’ve been growing really fast, we’ve had a lot of chefs apply to be on our platform, I’m talking 500 chefs,” Pahlevani said. “This investment will help us bring them into the platform, get them up and running and ready to go.”
Logistically, HUNGRY is in charge of marketing, packaging, and delivery, while sourcing ingredients is up to the chef. “So we keep them doing what they do best—they know how to find the best ingredients, the freshest ingredients,” he added.
Founder of Timeless Capital Karam Hinduja said: "Timeless Capital builds and invests in the next-generation of disruptive media and technology companies. Both Shy and Eman have a strong track record of developing tech-based businesses, and with Timeless backing them, they will continue to build a business that has already seen thousands of orders in just two months."