Former Bainies Rachel Swindenbank and Joanne Thompson earlier this year launched Cookoo, a London-based home-cooked meal delivery service. Home cooked meals, using quality ingredients and healthy recipes, tend to provide better overall nutrition at lower costs relative to fast-food – the new services connects people looking for a home cooked meal without the time to make it, to home cooked meals.
The food delivery startup market has drawn considerable funding in recent years, with the likes of Foodora, subsidiary of European unicorn Delivery Hero, blitzing the global market. Funding for startups in the segment hit £1.4 billion in Q4 2015, before falling – in line with wider trends in the market, to £416 million Q1 2016. The continued demand from consumers for quick fix meals, coupled with new businesses models being developed by startups, has resulted in a spurt of aspiring startup business owners seeking to make their fortune.
Fast food, for all its ease, tends to be relatively unhealthy: high in salts, saturated fat and low quality ingredients – and is, when compared to home cooking, often relatively expensive. Home cooked meals, whereby care is taken to select a broad selection of vegetables and quality ingredients, can provide a much higher level of nutrition at a fraction of the cost of fast food.
In a bid to combine home cooking with the ease of having someone else do the leg work to make the meal, Cookoo was born. The London-based startup was launched at the start of the year by Rachel Swindenbank and Joanne Thompson, both Oxford University graduates and former consultants at Bain & Company. The startup connects local chefs with customers across London seeking home cooked lunches and dinner options, the food is then delivered to the customers’ door.
The startup has gotten off to a good start, recently receiving £250,000 in investments from venture capitalists, which will allow them to scale their operation to a staff of six, as well as expand the number of cooks and advertise the service.
About the new startup’s proposition to customers, the co-founders state, “We all want to eat well at dinnertime, but cooking a delicious meal after a long day at work is often not appealing. Traditional takeaway provides one alternative to eating out, but it doesn't tick the 'healthy' 'nutritious' 'home-cooked feeling' that so many of us crave on a daily basis. We decided to solve this problem.”
Swindenbank adds, “I feel like the huge increase in competition and the amount of people offering this service is a sign that there’s a real gap in the market. We feel that what we do is connect people who love cooking to people who love to eat in a very personalised way, so you know who your cook is. Our cooks are our heroes.”
Earlier this month Bain's Italian venture fund in Italy, R204 Partners, invested in the Italian startup Qurami.