– UK, London – Gousto, the recipe box delivery company, has raised another £9m funding round as its meals gain nationwide popularity, bringing the total raised to £20m.
Founded in 2012, Gousto delivers ingredients boxes for specific, suggested recipes. This latest investment includes £3m from BGF Ventures – the first investment for the £200m fund since it opened its doors to early stage technology companies in the autumn of this year – alongside existing investors MMC Ventures, Unilever Ventures and the Angel Co-Fund. TV presenter Andi Peters is also an investor, having been introduced to Gousto by his friend, star rugby player Jonny May, who converted him into a loyal customer after raving about the service.
Gousto is one of the UK’s fastest growing technology-based companies. Last month, it delivered more than 300,000 meals to homes throughout the UK, up nearly six times on the same time last year. Earlier this year, the business launched a free iOS app where customers can plan, order and arrange delivery of meals.
The UK market for online food delivery is already worth more than £8bn and the recipe box market is growing significantly. In little over three years, Gousto has achieved double Tesco’s inventory turnover, four times Ocado’s revenues on a per SKU basis, and double the average supermarket gross margin due to its zero waste rate and direct sourcing relationship with farmers, which cuts out the middlemen.
With the additional funding, Gousto will strengthen its team of chefs and nutritionists, broaden its sales and marketing efforts to reach even more customers, and continue to introduce a greater choice of meal and delivery options.
Gousto sends fresh ingredients and chef-designed recipes – which can be prepared and cooked in just 30 minutes – straight to the door of time-poor Brits. Together with step-by-step recipe cards, Gousto creates ten new meals every week. According to customers, discovering new recipes is the primary motivation for subscribing, with ease and convenience a close second. Moreover, the service takes the hassle away from supermarket shopping and significantly cuts down on food wastage by giving customers the right quantity of ingredients for each recipe.
Simon Calver, a Partner in BGF Ventures, will join the board of the company. Simon is the former CEO of LOVEFiLM, one of the UK’s most successful online subscription based businesses.
Timo Schmidt, CEO of Gousto, said: “This is an exciting time for Gousto customers. The new funding will be used to drive amazing product improvements in 2016. With the help of the team and our farmers, we have built a scalable platform that offers truly incredible value to customers. I am pleased to have the continued backing of our early investors, and to welcome BGF Ventures on board. Simon Calver’s experience of running LOVEFiLM as its CEO will be invaluable and I look forward to working with him closely.”
Simon Calver, Partner at BGF Ventures, said: “Timo and the team have a built a fantastic product and are already demonstrating that Gousto has the platform and systems to meet rapidly increasing customer demand. I firmly believe that they have a capability and ambition to become the leading brand in this fast growing and disruptive new sector.
“BGF Ventures has been established to back disruptive UK technology businesses, just like Gousto. We are also pleased to be announcing our first investment alongside respected funders Unilever Ventures, MMC Ventures and the Angel Co-Fund, who clearly share our view of Gousto’s market potential.”
Jon Coker, Investment Partner at MMC Ventures, said, “It has been a privilege to work with the team at Gousto for the last two years as they have grown the business incredibly quickly while also maintaining their focus on efficiency. We are pleased to welcome Simon Calver and BGF Ventures to the business – and are excited by what this round of funding will allow
Headquartered in Shepherds Bush, London, Gousto was founded by Timo Schmidt in June 2012. Gousto lets customers choose recipes from a weekly menu of ten meals, and delivers all the ingredients in exact portions to customers’ doors across all of the UK. Delivery is free, and meals only cost between £3-5. Each week customers choose whatever they like to eat most, from delicious, healthy and quick meals from scratch, cooking beyond the ten-dish repertoire by discovering ingredients they would normally not buy.
The business was voted best UK recipe box service by the Independent and the Guardian in 2012 and 2015 respectively, and Timo was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2014 Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Last week the company was voted the Retail Business of the Year at the Startup Awards, and won the UK Customer Experience Award UKCXA in 2014 in recognition of putting the customer first. Timo appeared on Dragons Den following the launch of the business, where he rejected an offer of investment from one of the Dragons.
Gousto is an ethical business, striving to achieve zero food waste, and aiming to offer 95% of all produce organic. Over only three years it has grown to over 120 employees with operations in London and Lincolnshire.
About BGF Ventures
BGF Ventures is the UK’s largest ever venture capital fund dedicated to earlier stage UK technology companies. Launched in September 2015, the £200m fund is being run by a dedicated team led by Harry Briggs, Simon Calver and Rory Stirling.
BGF (Business Growth Fund) is the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses. It is an independent company with capital of £2.5 billion and is backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered. BGF is managed autonomously with an independent management team.
About MMC Ventures
Founded in 2000, MMC Ventures is an active investor and award-winning venture capital fund, focused on technology-enabled sectors where the UK is a world leader – particularly financial and business services, business software, digital media and e-commerce. With over £125 million under management, and investing circa £20 million annually, MMC was ranked as one of most active early-stage UK investors for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
MMC’s existing portfolio includes Gousto, Growth Intelligence, Interactive Investor, Love Home Swap, Masabi, NewVoiceMedia, Pact, Reevoo, Safeguard, Small World, Somo, TotalMobile and Tyres on the Drive.
About Unilever Ventures
Unilever Ventures is the Venture capital arm of Unilever. The fund invests in early stage companies that can benefit from access to Unilever’s assets and capabilities and that are strategically relevant to Unilever. The fund seeks to invest in Personal Care, Refreshment, Digital Marketing, eCommerce CPG platforms and technology that can support Unilever’s Sustainable Living plan.
Set up in 2002, Unilever Ventures has established operations in Europe, North America and South Asia either directly or through partner funds. Unilever Ventures is looking to find, or create, ambitious, market-leading companies, led by world-class management teams. Unilever Venture’s investments include: Brandtone, Percolate, Iluminage Beauty, Froosh, Snog, and Voltea.
About Angel Co-Fund
The Angel CoFund is a privately run fund that works alongside groups of business angels to invest in high potential SMEs across the UK, directly providing funding as well as encouraging the expansion and development of the business angel market.
Backed by the British Business Bank and the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the £100m Angel CoFund is able to make initial investments of between £100,000 and £1 million into businesses, alongside syndicates of business angels.
Since launching in late 2011 the fund has supported 59 companies (for example Ebury, Yplan, Crowd Vision and Gousto) providing over £27 million in direct investment alongside more than £110m from business angels and other investors, making it one of the most active early stage funds in the country.
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