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The rise and rise of gourmet cook-at-home meal-kit subscription service Blue Apron

Busy e-commerce managers, like everyone after hard day’s work, need to eat when they arrive home quaking with hunger. However, deciding what to cook can be a drag, especially if you need to go back out to the grocery store to fetch that all-important garam masala or turmeric. New York e-commerce startup Blue Apron is taking the strain out of home cooking for busy professionals with its subscription delivery service of mouthwatering meal kits that top chefs would approve of.

Every e-commerce manager’s dream 

According to Fortune, the startup, which launched in 2012, is about to close a Series C round estimated to be between $40million and $50million, and a $500million valuation. It’s got some competition, to be sure (New York neighbor Plated being one), but it seems to be getting a lot right. While some rivals, like Los Angeles-based PopUp Pantry, have gone to the wall, Blue Apron is going from strength to strength.

At the end of March, it announced it was serving half a million meals per month – way up from the 100,000 per month it was delivering in August last year. At $10 per meal, that translates into a revenue run rate of $60 million. You don’t need to be an Einstein of an e-commerce analyst to figure that that’s pretty darned impressive – and highly likely to encourage a good deal of confidence amongst investors.

Low cost gourmet dining

The company has successfully expanded across the west coast and covers most of the US population (although there are still large swathes of the Midwestern states that remain unconquered as yet). It’s proving exceptionally popular not least because it provides gourmet-style meal kits for a very modest weekly subscription.

Co-founder Matt Salzberg said:

“[It’s] significantly cheaper than restaurants. [It’s] even a lot of cheaper than if you went to the grocery store and bought the same ingredients on your own.”

In August last year, the company raised $5 million in Series B courtesy of a round led by Bessemer Ventures, which also led its Series A round in February. For now, Mr Salzberg is remaining tight-lipped about the Series C round and, for its part, Blue Ventures is also keeping shtum.

Mr Salberg said, “The truth is that we have not done a financing, so there is nothing to report here.”

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