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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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