Startups Culinary marketplace Shef drives nationwide expansion with new ingredients...

Culinary marketplace Shef drives nationwide expansion with new ingredients for financing and growth

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In its quest to turn the culinary talents of passionate home cooks into small businesses, Shefa chef-to-consumer marketplace, is now making those efforts across the country.

Shef works with local chefs who create authentic, homemade food and provides them with business tools such as menu building and pricing, photography, how to create their cinemas, and how to market and promote themselves. Because many of the “shefs” have not sold food before, the company also conducts extensive food safety training and certification during the onboarding process.

ukbusinessupdates.com profiled the company in 2021 when it raised a $20 million Series A and only had a presence in seven cities. Today, the San Francisco-based company operates in 11 states plus Washington, DC, reaching 70 million people, said co-founder and CEO Joey Grassia, who founded the company in 2019 with Alvin Salehi.

Thousands of “shefs” now use the platform — 85% of them women and 80% people of color — and many are immigrants or refugees who cook homemade dishes representing nearly 100 countries. Over the past four years, Shef has facilitated the serving of about 3 million dishes and helps “shefs” rake in tens of millions of dollars in net income, Grassia said. He declined to go into more details about the company’s growth.

“Last year we had a ‘shef’ make almost $400,000 on the platform, which is a record for us,” he said. “We now have ‘shefs’ making six figures on the platform in all of our markets, which is incredible to see. Their business continues to grow and our business continues to grow.”

The company’s now national expansion is primarily driven by the passage of laws in all 50 states, starting in 2022, that allow the sale of certain types of homemade food. Shef, who in the past mostly stayed in urban areas, is now willing to help some 12,000 people on the waiting list, many in suburban and rural areas, join the marketplace.

Those expansion efforts are also bolstered by a $73.5 million Series B funding round that the company closed in June 2022 and has only now announced, Grassia said. In total, the company has raised more than $100 million. The round was led by Charles River Ventures (CRV) with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Amex Ventures. It also included $7 million in venture capital.

In addition to the expansion, Shef will be expanding its engineering team as it focuses on product development, including new discoveries and consumer meal preferences and customization features.

When asked why we are announcing the round now, Grassia said: “Ultimately we started the raise in late 2021 when CRV came on board and closed the round in early 2022, but then we came across great investors who wanted to be part of the journey and many could add value, we kept the investment round open. Then we were heads down building the operations for national expansion.

Other investors in Series B include athletes Russell Westbrook, Odell Beckham Jr. and Candace Parker, comedians Jimmy O. Yang and Lilly Singh, entrepreneur Tony Robbins, Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu, AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, Poshmark founder Manish Chandra, and former Airbnb executives Belinda Johnson and Joe Zadeh.

“The expansion allows more people who need access to income opportunities to join Shef,” Grassia said. “On the demand side, we can now provide greater access to healthy, affordable, high-quality meals that are hard to come by in these more rural and suburban areas.”

Shreya Christinahttp://ukbusinessupdates.com
Shreya has been with ukbusinessupdates.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider ukbusinessupdates.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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