With the pandemic increasing the amount of food delivery and hurting restaurants' bottom lines, buzzy ghost kitchens see an opportunity to grow.  The category had already attracted a lot of interest, notably from Uber co-founder and former-CEO Travis Kalanick, who launched CloudKitchens in 2016.  We compiled 14 of the biggest players in the ghost kitchen world to show the international scope of the budding space. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The pandemic has closed thousands of restaurants, many for good, while food delivery volume is increasing substantially. Much of the country reopening indoor dining, but Opentable is reporting that the amount of seated diners continues to substantially underperform last year.  Ghost kitchens, a buzzy class of startups, were already betting that delivery would grow in market share, attracting founders including billionaire Uber ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, but the rapid increase in delivery demand has accelerated their growth.  These companies operate a kitchen that hosts multiple restaurants or menus, from which they only do delivery orders (or sometimes pick up). Some run their own food brands, while others partner with local chefs or established delivery brands.  While American startup hotbeds like Silicon Valley and New York have seen multiple ghost kitchen startups, this trend is worldwide, with Dubai, India, and Western Europe emerging as other areas that have spawned multiple startups.  "Every single restaurant globally became a ghost kitchen overnight," Corey Manicone, CEO and cofounder of Zuul Kitchens, told Business Insider. He said that the pandemic has accelerated the concept by three to five years, but that there's a lot of growth ahead.  "We're at the same place as e-commerce in the early 2000s," he said.  Money continues to flow into the space: both Zuul and hotel-focused ghost kitchen Butler Hospitality raised money in July, $9 million and $15 million respectively. Karma Kitchen, a UK based kitchen, recently raised $318 million as well.  In a time of economic contraction, the model makes a lot of sense for restauranteurs. Real estate and labor costs can be pooled across multiple restaurants, lowering the amount of square footage and the number of employees a restaurant needs. Less overhead, with the same amount of income.  Read more: Bond, which has raised $15 million from investors including Lightspeed, wants to become the Shopify of logistics by turning vacant retail space into warehouses The pandemic's impact on retail space, including restaurant space, has also been a boon for the industry. Firms convert restaurant space, underutilized retail space, and occasionally industrial space into ghost kitchens. Two of those three categories, retail and restaurants, are having an outsized negative effect from the pandemic, which leads to a glut of supply for ghost kitchens. While real-estate firms may not have originally planned to bring ghost kitchens into their space, the bottoming out of demand from traditional tenants has opened many up to the business.  "A lot of these development companies, larger landholders, and real-estate firms are taking a forward-looking, reset view of what is the best way to optimize their holdings for the future," Jim Collins, founder and CEO of Kitchen United, told Business Insider.  We've created a list of 14 of the hottest startups in the space, highlighting where they've received money and what's different about their concept. SEE ALSO: Bond, which has raised $15 million from investors including Lightspeed, wants to become the Shopify of logistics by turning vacant retail space into warehouses SEE ALSO:  Butler Hospitality Money raised: $20.2 million Investors: Mousse Partners, The Kraft Group, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, &vest, Scopus Ventures, Loeb.nyc Cities / Countries it operates in: NYC, expanding to Chicago, Miami, Washington DC What it does: Butler Hospitality, founded in 2015, puts a twist on the classic ghost kitchen model, delivering room service at multiple hotels across New York. What makes it different: According to founder and CEO Tim Gjonbalic, hotels lose a lot of money on food and room service, but need it in order to bag high-paying business travel clients and conference and event clients.  While hotels have been hit hard, Gjonbalic believes that this will actually be a boon to his business, as they'll look to cut costs, focusing on food and beverage first.  "The only way for our clients to get contracts for the National Guard at the Javitt Center or for visiting nurses was to make sure there's food and beverage for them," Gjonbalic told Business Insider.  CloudKitchens Money raised: $400 million Investors: Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund Cities / Countries it operates in: US, China, India, and Europe What it does: CloudKitchens was founded in 2016 by former Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick. The company is quite secretive and doesn't advertise locations or conduct interviews. The company operates its own brands, with names like " B*tch Don't Grill My Cheese," and has locations in the US, China, India, and Europe. What makes it different: The most major difference is Travis Kalanick and the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund. Saudi Arabia was a long time backer of Uber.  The Wall Street Journal has reported that the company has made roughly 10 acquisitions of ghost kitchen competitors around the world, and has bought over 100 properties globally, but didn't report actual locations and asset types.  Deliveroo Money raised: $1.5 billion Investors: Amazon, Fidelity Management and Research Company, T. Rowe Price, Accel, Index Ventures and other Cities / Countries it operates in: UK What it does: Deliveroo is one of the largest food delivery services in the UK. The company has also been dipping its toes into ghost kitchens for a few years, setting up shop in converted shipping containers in parking lots.  What makes it different: Deliveroo isn't the only delivery service to try the ghost kitchen business. Uber Eats launched a location in Paris in 2018, but then closed it at the end of 2019.  Karma Kitchen Money raised: $318 million Investors: Vengrove Asset Management Cities / Countries it operates in: London What it does: Karma Kitchen was founded in 2018 by two sisters, Eccie and Gini Newton, and earlier this month raised a massive $318 million series A funding round from industrial-focused real estate firm Vengrove Asset Management. The company works with other brands, that can rent out space for as little as $53 a shift. As of now, they have one location in London, but the company is expected to open two more locations in the city and plans to expand across Europe. What makes it different: While Karma Kitchen seems to follow a pretty traditional ghost kitchen model at the moment, their partnership with Vengrove implies that the company might continue to dig into industrial space.  Read more: A flexible leasing company — think Classpass for apartments — is expanding to cities like Denver and Atlanta after building a C-suite with former WeWork and Airbnb execs Keatz Money raised: Roughly $23 million  Investors: Atlantic Food Lab, U-Start, K Fund, Project A Ventures, JME Ventures, Marco Valta Cities / Countries it operates in: Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, and Munich What it does: Keatz was founded in Berlin in 2016 and has now grown to ten different cloud kitchens. The company develops its own brands and menus, and has focused on providing food that can easily be delivered. What makes it different: Keatz's range of locations across European cities gives it access to a wide range of markets.  Kitchen United Money raised: $50 million Investors: GV (Google Ventures), RXR Realty, Fidelity, DivcoWest, G Squared Cities / Countries it operates in: Chicago, Pasadena, Scottsdale, and Austin, expanding to locations like New York City and Los Angeles What it does: Jim Collins, the founder of Kitchen United, worked in tech until he decided to open up his own restaurant in 2014. "I thought I would prematurely age less if I bought and ran my own restaurant," Collins told Business Insider. The stress of running a kitchen changed that dream for him very quickly.  By 2017, he founded Kitchen United, after seeing the challenges that his restaurant had in the face of increasing delivery demand. The company started with one location in Pasadena in 2017, and has now grown to four locations. Kitchen United partners with other brands, instead of creating its own. What makes it different: The company's funders include RXR Realty, a forward-thinking real estate owner and operator, and GV, Google's venture arm. This combination gives the company access to leaders in both real estate and tech, a big advantage in the ghost kitchen world.  Kitopi Money raised: $89 Million Investors: BECO Capital, VentureSouq, Crescent Enterprises, MSA Capital, Reshape, and more Cities / Countries it operates in: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, Kuwait, Riyadh, and New York What it does: Kitopi, founded in Dubai in 2018, has grown substantially across the Middle East, and launched in New York in late 2019. The company announced this March that it would partner with Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs to deliver across New York City.  The company works with restaurants to deliver food out of their ghost kitchens, using Kitopi's own chefs to prepare the food. What makes it different: The company plans to grow rapidly. When the company announced its fundraising round in February of this year,  it also announced that it planned to open 50 locations in the US and 100 globally by the end of 2020. Rebel Foods Money raised: $342.3 million Investors: Sequoia Capital, Lightbox, Coatue Management, Goldman Sachs and more Cities / Countries it operates in: 35 cities across India and Dubai What it does: Faasos, an Indian company founded in 2011, began life as a fast-food restaurant that focused on Indian food specifically. The company scored an early investment from Silicon Valley power players Sequoia Capital, and eventually renamed itself to Rebel Foods.  The company switched from traditional restaurants to delivery-only ghost kitchens, spinning off Faasos as one brand under the Rebel Foods banner in 2015. What makes it different: Rebel Foods now has more than 320 ghost kitchens across 35 cities in India, as well as in Dubai, and is the largest cloud kitchen operator in the world.  Read more: Logistics startup Bond has teamed up with SoftBank-backed REEF Technology to bring nano-warehouses to parking lots across the US. Here's how they're building the distribution hubs of the future. REEF Technology Money raised: Undisclosed Investors: Softbank Cities / Countries it operates in: Mainly the US and Canada, but expanding to Europe What it does: REEF Technology is the company's largest parking lot operator, but it doesn't picture itself as a parking company, instead using parking to  "transform underutilized urban spaces into neighborhood hubs that connect people to locally curated goods, services, and experiences,' according to its website. The company does that by providing space for light logistics companies, like its partnership with Bond, and by creating their own ghost kitchens, or in REEF parlance, REEF Neighborhood Kitchens.  What makes it different: REEF, founded in 2013 as ParkJockey, now owns 4,500 parking lots, making it able to rapidly scale up according to demand. The company partners with local restauranteurs to launch in new locations, instead of operating its own brands.  Star Kitchens Money raised: N/A Investors: N/A Cities / Countries it operates in: China What it does: Star Kitchens is quite different from others on this list, as it is not a stand-alone company, but instead a partnership between Starbucks and the Alibaba owned grocery store Freshippo.  Customers can order online, and then within 15 minutes, pick up their Starbucks order in the store. At the moment it is operational in three Freshippo stores, but there are plans to expand to other locations.  What makes it different: Star Kitchens is quite different from others on this list, as it is not a stand-alone company, but instead a partnership between Starbucks and the Alibaba owned grocery store Freshippo.  Alibaba launched Freshippo in 2016, with the intention of launching a mobile-first grocery store. The brand now includes many different retail concepts, from convenience stores to the Star Kitchens kiosks.  Sweetheart Kitchen Money raised: $23.5 million Investors: Undisclosed Cities / Countries it operates in: Dubai and Kuwait, and the company is planning to add more locations across Saudi Arabia.  What it does: Sweetheart Kitchen was founded in Dubai in 2019 by Peter Schatzberg, who had previously founded pioneering ghost kitchen company Green Summit Group in 2012.  The company has created 30 of its own food brands.  What makes it different: Schatzberg's prior experience is extremely rare in this new industry. Green Summit Group company had early success but eventually ran out of money, which could teach Schatzberg major lessons about how to run a sustainable ghost kitchen business. Read more: Meet Material Bank, a Bain-backed logistics startup disrupting the architecture industry. Here's a look at its vision for becoming the Amazon of design. Swiggy Access Money raised: $1.6 billion Investors: Prosus Ventures, DST Global, Tencent, Meituan-Dianping and others Cities / Countries it operates in: India What it does: Swiggy is India's largest food delivery service. After launching in August of 2014, it has raised $1.6 billion in funding from major venture firms like Prosus Ventures, DST global, Bessemer Venture Partners.  The company launched its ghost kitchen brand, Swiggy Access in 2017, and at the end of 2019, the company had 8,000 people working for Swiggy Access, with its eyes on 7,000 more employees by the end of 2020. The company claimed to have 1,000 ghost kitchens across the country. What makes it different: Swiggy's built-in customer base is a major boom to the business. However, it was hit hard by the pandemic, with two rounds of roughly 1,000 person layoffs, one of which hit the cloud kitchens almost exclusively. TechCrunch got ahold of an internal email where CEO Sriharsha Majety said that the company had shut down many of its kitchens as a result of the virus, many of them permanently.   Taster Money raised: $13.1 million Investors: LocalGlobe, Marc Menase, Heartcore Capital, Global Founders Capital, Founders Future, Battery Ventures, Eduardo Ronzano, Kima Ventures Cities / Countries it operates in: UK, France, and Spain What it does: Taster, founded in 2017, operates its own food brands across Europe. What makes it different: The company was founded by Anton Soulier, a former Deliveroo executive.  It doesn't handle its own real estate, and partners with companies like CloudKitchens to find locations.  Zuul Kitchens Money raised: $9 million Investors: Undisclosed Cities / Countries it operates in: New York City What it does: Zuul Kitchens, a New York City-based ghost kitchen operator, was founded in 2018 by Corey Manicone, the former director of sales for white-label delivery operator Relay.  The company acquired food-delivery tech platform Ontray earlier this year. What makes it different: The company has partnered with brands like salad-masters Sweetgreen and Asian fast-casual Junzi in its NYC ghost kitchens. By working with established brands, this should lower the marketing burden on the company.
Pintek, an Indonesia-based fintech firm focused on providing loans for education, has received an undisclosed sum in a pre-series A round led by Rocket Internet-backed Global Founders Capital.The round, which also involved participation from existing investors Finch Capital and Amand Ventures, was received by SoCap, the parent company of Pintek, according to a DailySocial report.The two companies previously backed Pintek in its seed funding round, joined by Japan’s Strive.Pintek specifically caters to those looking to acquire funds for educational purposes, which includes K-12, higher education, and vocational learning.Since starting operations in 2018, Pintek has now worked with about 100 educational institutions and provided funding assistance in 22 provinces in Indonesia.“Pintek has experienced explosive growth, especially since the funding round earlier this year.
Indonesian micro-warehousing startup Crewdible has secured US$1.5 million in a pre-series A round led by Berlin-headquartered Global Founders Capital.The company plans to use the fresh investment to further build up its presence in big cities across Indonesia, step up its marketing efforts, and improve its system to better support various needs and massive traffic.Through its platform, Crewdible connects ecommerce sellers with warehouse owners for order fulfilment.It turns empty facilities such as houses, offices, and warehouses into micro warehouses.According to a statement, its services enable warehouses to be deployed anywhere, even in expensive and strategic locations, and help cut down fees by eliminating big overhead costs such as rental, setup, and maintenance fees.In September 2018, Crewdible raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from angel investors.
Proportunity, the startup that provides “help to buy”-style equity loans primarily for first time property buyers, has raised £2 million in additional funding.Billed as a seed round, backing comes from Anthemis, the fintech investor, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, the early stage venture arm of European digital publisher Axel Springer.The startup and Entrepreneur First alumni had previously raised £1.7 million in equity and a credit line of debt financing.Previous investors include Global Founders Capital, Concrete VC (backed by Starwood Capital Group), Savills, EF, Trusted Insights, and Le Studio VC, along with angel investors Matt Robinson (Nested), Chris Mairs (EF) , Charlie Songhurst, Nicolas Berggruen, and Julian Critchlow.Founded in 2016 by Vadim Toader and Stefan Boronea, Proportunity wants to help first time buyers purchase a home that is more suited to their needs than a mortgage alone might afford.It does this by providing an equity loan of up to 15% of a property’s value to enable the home buyer to effectively put down a bigger deposit and therefore secure a more competitive mortgage.
City Storage Systems, the real estate company of Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick has bought a small stake in the startup company.Other investors in the ongoing fundraising round include Cotau Management, Sequoia Capital, and Gojek.HR tech platform Darwinbox has secured US$15 million in series B investment in a deal led by Sequoia India, with participation from existing investors Lightspeed India Partners, Endiya Partners, and 3one4 Capital.This brings the company’s total disclosed funding to US$19 million after it raised US$4 million series A round in 2017.Fintech startup PayMongo has secured a US$2.7 million investment for its seed round from top Silicon Valley investors, including Founders Fund, Stripe, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, Soma Capital, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and a number of other angel investors.This will allow PayMongo to grow the team, accelerate product development, acquire businesses more aggressively, and close down many strategic partnerships.
Fintech startup PayMongo has secured a US$2.7 million investment for its seed round from top Silicon Valley investors, including Founders Fund, Stripe, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, Soma Capital, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and a number of other angel investors.“This fresh set of capital will allow PayMongo to grow the team, accelerate product development, acquire businesses more aggressively, and close down on many strategic partnerships,” said the company in a statement.Launched this year, PayMongo’s product enables merchants to receive payments online through methods like shareable payment links and APIs.In a July interview with Tech in Asia, the company’s CEO, Francis Plaza, likened PayMongo to US-based Stripe, which has evolved into a US$23 billion business.One strength, he points out, is that the firm’s service is tailored to the characteristics of the Philippine ecommerce market, where few people use credit cards and much of the selling happens informally over sites like Facebook or Instagram.In the near term, PayMongo says it’s targeting to grow its base in the Philippines and become the biggest payment service provider there.
the Swede, Mr Klintefelt Collet to become a partner, and the Ceo as the German INDIVIDUAL, the giant of the Global Founders Capital is opening an office in Stockholm, sweden.the Company has close to eleven billion Swedish kronor (around a billion euros) in its most recent fund, which means that you are one of the largest in Europe, competing with players such as Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Atomico, and EQT, as the Ventures.We are willing to invest early; however, we will be able to afford to continue to invest in all the way to an initial public offering.According to information on the Di Digital the JRC is also in the final stages of closing another fund, with more than one billion of capital.”We will be the largest VC fund with offices in the Nordic region,” says Mr Klintefelt Collet.He doesn't want to single out any particular investeringsområde.
Eden Farm, an Indonesian startup developing a sustainable food distribution network in the country, has raised US$1.7 million in a seed round led by Global Founders Capital.Y Combinator, Everhaus, Soma Capital, S7 Venture, and several angel investors also participated in the round.Launched in 2017, Eden Farm focuses on simplifying the supply chain through creating a network of business-to-business customers and local farmers.It provides fruits, vegetables, meat, and dry goods to its consumers, while boosting the income for the ones who produce them.It currently operates in six major cities in Indonesia: Jakarta, Tangerang, South Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, and Bogor.The company plans to use the fresh capital to “expand our operations and market penetration to eight major cities in Indonesia and add more profitable products in our product lines,” David Gunawan, founder and CEO of Eden Farm, told Tech in Asia.
Australian employee analytics platform Culture Amp has secured US$82 million in a series E round led by new investor Sequoia Capital China, bringing its total funding to over US$158 million.The round also sees the company’s valuation reach US$700 million, according to a statement.Global Founders Capital and TDM Growth Partners also participated in the round, alongside existing investors Sapphire Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Index Ventures, Blackbird Ventures, Hostplus, Skip Capital, and Grok Ventures.Founded in 2011, Culture Amp helps companies improve employee engagement, retention, and performance through its platform that’s powered by behavioral science and data analytics.It plans to use the new funds for product development and to accelerate its global expansion, with a focus on EMEA, Latin America, and Asia.It currently operates in Melbourne, San Francisco, New York, and London.
Which are the startups that are on the path to becoming the next big thing?In this regular post, we give you an overview of the companies that have raised money in the past week, as well as those we think investors should look at.FreshtoHome is an online fresh fish and meat retailer that recently raised US$20 million in a series B round led by venture growth fund, Iron Pillar, with participation from Japanese investor Joe Hirao.They claim to have over 650,000 customers in the UAE and nine cities in India, receiving 14,000 orders daily.The parking app has just raised about US$2.9 million in a series A funding round led by New Zealand telecommunications company, Spark, putting the startup’s valuation at US$25 million.They have just raised over US$2 million in a seed round led by Global Founders Capital, which has also backed companies like Lazada, Traveloka, Facebook, and Slack.
Novelship, a Singapore-based startup operating a marketplace for sneakers and streetwear, has raised US$2.05 million in a seed funding round led by Global Founders Capital, which also backed companies like Lazada, Traveloka, Facebook, and Slack.The round pushes the startup’s total capital raised to US$2.3 million, which includes investments from angel investors and organizations.The startup plans to use the new funds to fuel its expansion in “key high-growth markets” across Asia Pacific, said CEO and co-founder Richard Xia.It’s eyeing Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia as potential target markets for expansion.“Over the past six months we’ve seen a steady increase in demand across the region for luxury, limited-release sneakers and streetwear products,” Xia said.Remove this ad space by subscribing.
SpotHero, the Chicago-based company that has developed an on-demand parking app, has raised $50 million in a Series D round led by Macquarie Capital.Union Grove Venture Partners participated in the round, along with existing investors including Insight Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital, OCA Ventures, AutoTech Ventures and others, according to the company.The new capital will be used to expand its reach in the 300 U.S. and Canadian cities where it is already operating, build out its digital platform and strengthen partnerships with mobility companies, CEO and co-founder Mark Lawrence told TechCrunch.SpotHero, which has operations in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, initially set out to develop software that connects everyday drivers to parking spots in thousands of garages across North America.It’s secret sauce is its software, which can sit on top of the 40 or so different point-of-sales systems used by parking garages.This acts as a single protocol, allowing SpotHero to bring some kind of standardization to an otherwise fragmented system.
Chicago, Illinois-based parking inventory and booking startup SpotHero today announced that it’s secured $50 million in a series D round led by Macquarie Capital, bringing its total raised to date to $118 million.CEO and cofounder Mark Lawrence said the round, which saw participation from investors Union Grove Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital, OCA Ventures, AutoTech Ventures, and others, will help to strengthen the company’s partnerships with mobility companies and deepen its technology stack.The fiscal vote of confidence comes after a year during which SpotHero reached half a billion dollars in all-time sales and 900-plus distribution partnerships and integrations, including with Google Assistant, WageWorks, Waze, Hertz, Car2Go, WeWork, and Moovit.The company claims that it’s on pace to hit $1 billion in transactions within the next year as it aims to double its headcount to over 100 people.“By standardizing the way parking is bought and sold, we are introducing the same visibility into parking inventory that people expect from the airline or hospitality industries,” said Mark Lawrence, CEO and co-founder, SpotHero.“That’s a big win for drivers, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to modernize parking.
The rise of data breaches, along with an expanding raft of regulations (now numbering 80 different regional regimes, and growing) have thrust data protection — having legal and compliant ways of handling personal user information — to the top of the list of things that an organization needs to consider when building and operating their businesses.Now a startup called InCountry, which is building both the infrastructure for these companies to securely store that personal data in each jurisdiction, as well as a comprehensive policy framework for them to follow, has raised a Series A of $15 million.The funding is coming in just three months after closing its seed round — underscoring both the attention this area is getting and the opportunity ahead.The funding is being led by three investors: Arbor Ventures of Singapore, Global Founders Capital of Berlin, and Mubadala of Abu Dhabi.Previous investors Caffeinated Capital, Felicis Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Team Builder Ventures (along with others that are not being named) also participated.Peter Yared, the CEO and founder, pointed out in an interview the geographic diversity of the three lead backers: he described this as a strategic investment, which has resulted from InCountry already expanding its work in each region.
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