Dark kitchens (also known as ghost or cloud kitchens) have increased in recent years in line with the delivery boom. These are restaurants oriented exclusively to delivery which, by not serving the public, economize by occupying cheaper facilities. This reality also allows them to operate different brands in the same place.
Of course, this model gained popularity during the pandemic and was, in fact, what allowed many restaurants to survive.
Startups based on this model are growing worldwide, such as CloudKitchens in the US, which rents kitchens to develop these restaurants and is valued at US$15 billion. It also happens that delivery startups enter the business themselves, as is the case of Deliveroo in the UK or Rappi in LatAm.
Foodology, which a year ago had its Series A for US$15 million, is one of the most important startups that operate dark kitchens in the region and today is announcing a new round: US$50 million, where US$20 million correspond to capital and US$30 million to debt.
Foodology’s previous investors, such as a16z, Wollef, and Kayyak Ventures, and new investors, such as Chimera, an Abu Dhabi-based VC, participated in the equity financing. The debt portion came from TriplePoint Capital, a Californian VC focused on startup loans.
Among the most striking (something the company is highlighting today in its press release) is the participation of pop star Maluma as one of the investors.
This is not the first time that the Colombian singer has been linked to a Colombian startup. In March of this year, Rappi announced him as a partner and brand ambassador, and in 2021 he was among the investors of the proptech La Haus.
Foodology presents itself as a fast way for companies to develop and scale virtual restaurants under their own brands or third-party brands. According to the company’s figures, it already has more than 80 virtual kitchens operating in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru, delivering more than 200,000 orders per month.
Daniela Izquierdo, founder of Foodology with Juan Guillermo Azuero, added that the startup model generates solid “unit economics” for the businesses, which guarantees them profitability in the near future. “For this reason, despite the difficult market conditions existing today, our investors supported us in our vision, and we saw an uplift in our valuation,” she said.
With the new funds, the company plans to reach 100 kitchens by the end of the year and establish itself as a leader in Brazil, a position it claims to have in Colombia and Mexico. In this regard, Azuero said that, among other things, they will look for M&A opportunities in that market.
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