Local fresh food delivery startup Local Crate raises $1.4 million to accelerate growth and expand market
There is a steady rise in the “Buy Local” movement especially when it comes to supporting local farmers. Even with the success of startups like HelloFresh, there is a still a growing need to support local businesses and farmers. Small and local businesses are driving the local economy. One startup is doing its share to to help local farmers and contribute the local economy. Local Crate is a Saint Paul, Minnesota-based startup that is providing a meal-kit service platform. The company delivers fresh, local, portioned ingredients & chef-designed recipes on a subscription basis. Its meal kit includes recipe card which has information about the dish and a detailed step by step recipe with photos and ingredients from sustainable local farms, enabling people to create restaurant quality meals at home with ease.
Today the company announced it has raised $1.4 million in a Seed funding round led by Midwestern based firms The Syndicate Fund, Matchstick Ventures, M25 Group, and Router Ventures. Additionally, a select group of Minnesota angel investors contributed. Local Crate will use the funding to fuel market and channel growth, expanding its vision to build out the first locally-driven food platform on a national scale.
Founded in 2015, the Techstars alum startup is set to launch in Illinois today, featuring a limited-release seared shrimp with cauliflower couscous and spring vegetables recipe from award-winning Chicago chef, Zoe Schor of Split-Rail. Chef Zoe trained with Thomas Keller and Tom Colicchio and was executive chef at Chicago’s Ada Street before opening her own restaurant Split-Rail in June 2017. “What’s cool about Local Crate is it takes something that can be so daunting to a level where it becomes much more manageable,” said Schor.
“Local Crate works with award-winning local chefs, local farmers, and local makers to create inspired recipes with the freshest ingredients,” said Frank Jackman, Local Crate’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “We deliver the very best from each growing region in locally-sourced and pre-measured meal kits right to your home or office, eliminating food waste and using up to 80% less packaging than nationally delivered services.”
Local Crate shipped its first Crate to subscribers in Minnesota in November 2015. In 2017, Local Crate was one of 10 startups selected for the three-month intensive startup accelerator Techstars + Target Retail Program. Local Crate continues to develop new and nourish existing partnerships with local farms, award-winning chefs, and passionate makers in each growing area it serves. Sales of Local Crate meal kits benefit local hunger relief efforts like St. Paul based East Side Table. Additional markets and national retail outlets are slotted for 2018 and beyond.
Brett Brohl, founder and managing director of The Syndicate Fund said, “The Syndicate Fund is proud to deepen our partnership with Local Crate. Consumers are hungry for a local food authority that not only provides fresh, delicious, and convenient meals, but also gives back to their community by supporting local farmers, makers, and hunger relief efforts. Local Crate has an experienced leadership team with substantial food, technology, and marketing expertise, as well as a differentiated model that has it poised for rapid growth.”
In addition to adding new markets, Local Crate recently expanded its executive team to include Erin Newkirk as its chief marketing officer and James Collins as its vice president of operations. Erin Newkirk is an award-winning entrepreneur with leadership in tech, food and health; spanning start-ups to growth companies to billion-dollar brands. James Collins comes to Local Crate with over eighteen years in food industry operations management. Of particular interest, Collins was part of the team that developed the first local grocery delivery system, Coborns Delivers, where he acted as operations process manager.