It’s official: as previously predicted here, New York ecommerce startup Blue Apron has just successfully closed a $50 million Series C round led by Stripes Group. For those ecommerce analysts out there who might not yet have heard of it, Blue Apron is a food delivery service specializing in fresh ingredients and enticing recipes. Between its launch in 2012 and March this year, its monthly total of food servings has soared to 500,000.
Given that that total was just 100,000 per month in August 2013, you don’t have to be a whizz kid of an ecommerce analyst to figure out that it’s enjoyed some pretty spectacular growth. Its revenue run rate has topped $60 million and, just prior to the Series C round, it was valued at just south of $500 million.
Blue Apron’s pre-order structure allows it to work out exactly how much food it’s going to need to order, so it radically cuts back on waste (customers pre-order a week of meals). And, for another, it has the ability to or order at bulk with the sizable wholesale discount that goes with it. Although meals are priced at $10 a time per person (they’re usually ordered in sets of three for the week), the ingredients end up costing less than the equivalent prices in grocery stores and are a good deal less than take-outs.
Better than take-out and shopping
True, it’s facing keen local competition, as any ecommerce analyst familiar with these pages can testify: New York neighbor Plated offers a very similar service. But Blue Apron may just be a little more adventurous: it’s currently operating in virtually all the major markets along the east and west coasts, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
People like to eat at home, they like to cook, but they don’t particularly relish the drag of trudging around the grocery store to pick up fresh ingredients after a grueling day’s work. And they seem willing to pay for someone else to do that (and, of course, give them luscious recipes as well).
The company had previously raised a total of $8 million in Series A and B rounds (in February and August last year, in fact). Previous investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Box group and First Round Capital.