Business Owner: Matias Serebrinsky, Mateo Marietti, Lucia Cisilotto
About: Home-style meal delivery service
Location: Manhattan, NYC
Strategy: Home-style meals for families meets the convenience of delivery services
Meal delivery services are not so much hot as on fire these days. Investment funds poured over $1bn into this area in 2014 alone, with a steady stream of young start-ups looking to address the challenge of time or space-strapped customers seeking good food...fast.
Catering to that demographic in New York City is a tech-meets-culinary savvy business: CookUnity. The brainchild of three co-founders from Argentina: Matias Serebrinsky, Mateo Marietti and Lucia Cisilotto, the service differentiates itself from the meal delivery pack on the quality and experience of food it delivers.
CookUnity’s business is web-based, centered around an online platform where customers order food and can interact with the team as required. This was the most intuitive choice for the founders, all of whom have backgrounds in food and tech. Serebrinsky headed up Sony Playstation for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay before relocating with the company to San Francisco. Despite the vibrant culinary scene in the city, the pressures of travel and work severed his connection to family-style, quality meals. This led him to explore food delivery options, none of which provided the type or experience of food he yearned for. Fellow co-founder Marietti, who heads up the biggest food delivery network in Argentina added his logistics expertise to the business. Similarly Cisilotto, an operations specialist for the same business, ensures CookUnity works as efficiently as possible.
Following some help from start-up incubator AngelPad, the trio decided to capitalize on the urban density of New York City to launch and test the business. CookUnity launched 6 months ago and targets family-centric areas of Manhattan. In contrast to meal delivery options like Seamless and GrubHub or build-your-own services liked Plated, CookUnity’s ambition is to create a “a community of cooks” by supporting the process of gathering to cook a meal together. The small business already provides over 120 meals a day, Mondays-Thursdays. The rest of the week is spent managing logistics, supplies and refining the company’s business model.
Like Munchery, meals are prepared and cooked by experienced chefs then chilled ready to heat and serve by the customer. However with a lower price-point per serving (CookUnity meals range between $9-14 per serving) the service differentiates itself from other counterparts as something that’s accessible to families and on a more regular basis. The small team keep costs low by using a decentralized delivery model. They rent low-cost industrial space in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood to store a fleet of chiller vehicles but all the food and delivery takes place elsewhere.
CookUnity rents time in commercial kitchens when the facilities would otherwise be closed, such as 9am-1pm in restaurants. This keeps real estate and equipment overheads low. A team of contracted chefs, each vetted and approved to create over 90 tasty meals a day each using seasonal and local ingredients sourced from local greenmarkets where possible, prepares and cooks the food from these commercial premises. In turn the fleet of chiller vans picks up prepared meals once a day, then transports and stores them in locations in the city ready to deliver within 30 minutes of an order. Customers receive super fresh, chilled meals that just need to be heated to eat.
CookUnity.us is open for business four days a week via the company’s online marketplace. The service currently serves parts of Manhattan.
Images courtesy of TechCrunch and CookUnity.
Inc.com: The Growing Food Delivery Network
TechCrunch: The Billion Dollar Food Delivery Wars
Sushipop (food delivery Argentina): https://angel.co/sushipop