Latest news:

You are currently not logged in

Log in

Meal delivery startup ChefPrep buys Co-Lab Pantry

Australian gourmet ready-meal delivery startup ChefPrep has acquired artisan food vendor Co-Lab Pantry, with the retooled venture promising to become the “Amazon for food” with next-day delivery across the country.

Dubbed CoLab, the fresh face of Australia’s culinary delivery sector boasts ready-to-cook meals from more than 150 restaurants nationwide, spanning the fried chicken dishes of Sydney institution Butter, the comforting Italian fare of Salt Meats Cheese, to a slew of avant-garde Drumpling dumplings.

In addition, the service offers top-shelf pantry goods from the nation’s top producers: Mount Zero olives, cold brew concentrate from Industry Beans, and even French eatery Entrecôte’s fabled herb butter sauce.

Under the new CoLab banner, at-home diners can now enjoy Melbourne-made goods in Sydney with next-day delivery, and visa versa. The venture promises to offer same-day interstate delivery in the weeks to come.

ChefPrep’s acquisition of Co-Lab Pantry was made possible by a successful $3 million seed funding round in April this year, led by led by Artesian Ventures and American VC firm Global Founders Capital.

ChefPrep co-founders Elle Curran and Josh Abulafia now serve as co-CEOs of CoLab, with Avin Chadee and Natasha Buttigieg of Co-Lab Pantry’s leadership team staying on with the new combined venture.

Source: Co-Lab Pantry Instagram

Speaking to SmartCompany, Abulafia says the Co-Lab Pantry acquisition was unexpected but a natural fit, given each startup’s shared ethos.

Melbourne-based Co-Lab Pantry was already exploring its own capital raising options and the potential of a buy-out from another company, but invited the ChefPrep team to hold a conversation last last year.

“I mean, I just thought it was such a good opportunity to bring one of those true partnerships together, but the sum of the parts would be greater than the whole,” Abulafia said. “So we were like, ‘Yep, that makes total sense.’”

At the same time, the fact each startup offered somewhat different products proved beneficial to ChefPrep.

“I think having both of those two elements and kind of coming from a different approach from the outset actually made it work,” Curran added.

The fact both startups were so young meant there was no need to consolidate marketing or management teams, smoothing out the acquisition process.

While both startups were borne of pandemic restrictions which kept diners from restaurants, the new CoLab brand will offer its wares in a minimally restrictive environment.

As in-restaurant dining embraces its own new normal, CoLab will continue to find support among diners who aren’t looking to directly replicate the restaurant experience, Curran says.

“I think that’s why the heat-and-eat meals that our partners do have done exceptionally well outside of lockdown,” she said.

“Because it’s kind of cobbling both those key elements: you’re getting beautiful restaurant-produced products, but you could store them and keep them in your fridge or pantry, and actually enjoy them at your convenience, rather than having a meal kit that’s prepared by a restaurant that you have to make up on that one particular day, or in the next 24 hours, but you’re then trying to replicate a dining experience.”

Now, the “core thesis” of the business is to become the “Amazon for food”, Abulafia says, claiming the brand offers a way for restaurant partners to become not just hospitality businesses, but food manufacturers.

With that goal in mind, CoLab is now fielding discussions about potential expansion into the UK and the US, as it prepares to offer its domestic delivery services beyond Victoria and New South Wales.

The story is originally published on Smart Company.

No Comments | Be the first to comment

Comment Manually

No comments