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Etsy of food: London-based HomeCooks bites $3.1M to help small food businesses sell their meals nationwide

HomeCooks team
Picture credits: HomeCooks

After Netflix of food, Gousto gaining much popularity in the UK, it is time for Etsy of food! We are talking about, HomeCooks, the UK’s first marketplace for independent food creators, which has recently raised a $3.1m Seed round to fuel its expansion across the UK. 

The round was led by Speedinvest, with participation from DFF (including Just Eat Founder Lauren Groenendijk), Love Ventures, Rianta, and several leading UK angels from the Ventures Together Consortium. 

The London-based company is currently topping up the round on the crowdfunding platform Seedrs, enabling its community of food creators to become shareholders in the business.

Why Etsy of food?

HomeCooks is the largest marketplace of its kind in the UK. Rather than simply connecting chefs and users, HomeCooks facilitates the entirety of its partner chefs’ operations, by collecting, freezing, storing, and dispatching the meals of their meals. Independent food creators make pre-prepped meals in batches and send them to HomeCooks who simply freeze, store, and distribute them on their behalf. The end users get to benefit from an ever-growing selection of 200+ home-cooked meals that cost less than the average meal from mainstream food delivery companies and are far more exciting and healthy than a traditional ready-made meal.

“The hospitality industry is broken and we aim to rebuild it,” said Founder Joshua Magidson. “Especially food delivery – it’s like a Victorian industry. Powered by low-paid labour, poor working conditions, and razor-thin margins driven by staff costs and food inflation, it’s nearly impossible to make a traditional food operation work. 60% of restaurants close in their first year.”

“For our chefs, they simply focus on cooking pre-prepared meals in bulk meaning they have very few overheads. Selling on HomeCooks is one of the most profitable things that they can do in the entire industry. It’s also super flexible – once their food is made, we pick it up, freeze it, store it, and dispatch it for them.”

Joshua Magidson has extensive experience in the food and food tech industry. His first business Eatstudent – an early food delivery marketplace for students was acquired by Just Eat.

He later founded Zing Zing, which grew to be the largest Chinese takeout chain in the UK. It was during this period that he became disillusioned with the entire food delivery industry. HomeCooks started as a grassroots community movement on Facebook during lockdown in 2020. Chefs posted their menus in the group and users ordered in the comments beneath the post. It supported 100s of furloughed chefs through a devastating time for the industry, and this MVP enabled HomeCooks to raise a pre-seed round from several notable angels including Leonard Picardo, one of the founding team at Deliveroo.

Since then, HomeCooks has built its own tech, and now has over 200 meals available to purchase from independent chefs. It has served 60,000 meals to over 7,000 customers in the last year alone, and now serves most of the UK.

Funds from this round will see HomeCooks continue to grow across the UK, with the ambition of enabling 1000+ food creators to sell their food on the platform. “We are already seeing super-fast growth,” added Magidson. “We are already 600% up on last year and have seen 70% month-on-month growth from August to October.”

“The mission is to change the way people eat forever.” Mathias Ockenfels, General Partner at Speedinvest leading the firm’s Marketplaces & Consumer team, said: “We are thrilled to lead HomeCooks’ $3.1 million seed round, supporting their mission to revolutionise the food industry by empowering independent food creators. HomeCooks is more than just a marketplace – it can streamline the entire process for chefs and provide consumers with a diverse range of high-quality, affordable, healthy meals. We believe in HomeCooks’ potential to transform how people eat at home and are excited to be part of their journey.”

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