On March 23, 2020, in response to a rising number of COVID-19 cases, the government of the United Kingdom enacted a ‘stay at home’ order, a.k.a. the lockdown, that would change the lives and livelihoods of many.
As evidenced by the dramatic rise of e-commerce and speedy grocery and food delivery services, businesses and individuals that previously depended upon in-person interactions were effectively cut off from their main source of revenue generation.
In response to a dire situation, what began life as a Facebook group that allowed chefs to post their menus and users to order via the comments section. A post dated 22 April 2020 cites, “2 weeks in and we are now at over 500 members with over 100 meals sold.” As of today, that same group counts 8,172 members.
This early traction was enough to convince angel investors including Leonard Picardo, employee number two at Deliveroo to provide HomeCooks with Pre-Seed capital.
Today, London-based HomeCooks has evolved into a full-fledged marketplace facilitating the entire pan-to-plate process and is now looking to fuel continued expansion across the UK. In so much, the fledgling company has announced a Seed investment round led by Speedinvest and includes the participation Dutch Founders Fund, angel investor syndicate Ventures Together, and Atomico.
A Victorian industry
Led by serial entrepreneur Joshua Magidson, whose previous ventures include eatstudent.co.uk which was acquired by Just Eat, HomeCooks has moved well beyond a Facebook group and has developed its technology that facilitates the entirety of its partner chefs’ operations, from collection to freezing and storing to the dispatching of meals.
As a result, HomeCooks now offers some 200+ meals that, according to the company, cost less than mainstream food delivery outfits and offer more nutrition than a typical ready-made meal.
HomeCooks co-founder Joshua Magidson shared:
“The hospitality industry is broken and it’s our aim to rebuild it. 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 percent 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.”
HomeCooks quotes having served approximately 60,000 meals to some 7,000 customers this year, with Magidson commenting, “We are already seeing super fast growth. We are already 600 percent up on last year and have seen 70 percent month-on-month growth from August to October.”
Etsy of food
With the ambition of creating the ‘Etsy of food’, in addition to the £2.5 million committed by institutional investors, HomeCooks’ is opening up the doors to community investment and ownership via a crowdfunding campaign.
Targeting £1.37 million on Seedrs, HomeCooks founder Joshua Magidson explained this morning:
"We have raised £2.5 million from institutional investors. £1.25 million which is included in the Seedrs target."
HomeCooks' campaign is 95 percent complete with 15 days remaining before close.
Lead image: HomeCooks. Photo: Uncredited.