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New York ecommerce startup Blue Apron takes food delivery to new heights

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.

Steam­ing for­ward

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.

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