Virtual Kitchen Co emerges from stealth with $15 million to help restaurateurs grow delivery and bridge the world of tech and mortar
Virtual Kitchen Co (VKC), a San Francisco based tech startup focused on food delivery logistics and technology, today announced its formal launch with a $15M Series A financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Base10 Partners. Led by former Uber senior team, its mission is to empower restaurants to expand delivery coverage and bring great food to more people.
Other backers for the Series A financing include Rappi co-founder Sebastian Mejia, former Yelp SVP of Engineering Michael Stoppelman, Opendoor co-founder JD Ross, and Maple VC founder Andre Charoo. In conjunction with the funding, VKC also announced Andrew Chen from A16z and Adeyemi Ajao from Base10 will be joining its board. To date, the startup has raised $17 million in total funding and will use the fresh capital infusion to build new facilities, R&D, and hiring.
Founded in 2018 Ken Chong, Matt Sawchuck, and Andro Radonich, the San Francisco based, VKC provides a turnkey solution to restaurants, combining space, operations, and tech that allows restaurants to increase their delivery presence with minimal costs. Before founding VKC, Chong formerly led Marketplace product teams at Uber, developing it’s next-gen network pricing, marketplace health, and real-time pricing systems. Sawchuk spent six years at Uber developing a number of large business lines including UberX and UberEATS in San Francisco. Andro Radonich built one of the largest high-end corporate catering businesses in the Bay Area over the past decade.
With multiple delivery-optimized kitchens already in San Francisco, the company will open another dozen Bay Area facilities in the next six months. Early restaurant partners include local favorites such as DOSA, Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers, Poki Time, and more.
“For a few years now we’ve seen customers opting for more casual dining and the convenience of delivery,” said Anjan Mitra, DOSA owner and Executive Chef. “Combined with rising costs, labor shortages, and changes in the business climate, we have had to evolve DOSA’s business model away from full-service restaurants. As we explored various options, Virtual Kitchen was the only partner who had a feasible solution for our customers, while also making financial sense for us. They will seamlessly give us the reach across the Bay Area, without the risky financial investment and operational costs required by other dark kitchen providers. Virtual Kitchen is a wonderful partner that has designed a solution that respects innovative restaurant brands, and also understands the challenges of running a neighborhood restaurant.”
Restaurants see increasing operational challenges with the growing popularity of food delivery apps, but also an opportunity to bring their delicious menus to more customers. This paradigm shift within the industry has caused uncertainty for owners and without proper adjustment could prove disastrous for restaurant owners.
“Local food brands are beloved by consumers, but can always use a leg up in their business and operations. It’s fantastic to see how our cities’ best restaurants can scale beyond their retail footprint using food delivery,” said Andrew Chen, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “We’re seeing a ton of innovation happening rapidly in this space right now. The Virtual Kitchen team has the perfect blend of expertise to build this startup, and we couldn’t be more excited to start our journey with them.”
“We were surprised to see our favorite restaurants growing rapidly on Uber Eats, but when we talked to them, they told us bottom-line wasn’t growing with the current brick and mortar setup,” said Ken Chong, co-founder and CEO. “Consumers love the convenience of food delivery apps, and demand keeps growing. We want to equip food entrepreneurs with the best platform to take advantage of the food delivery economy.”
“In what is a true breath of fresh air for a Silicon Valley based company, Matt, Ken and Andro got together to help food entrepreneurs not only survive but thrive in the food delivery economy,” said Adeyemi Ajao, Managing Partner at Base10. “They know too well the unintended consequences that unchecked ‘disruption’ and ‘automation’ could have on an industry. We are pleased to be partnering with the team as they continue to scale.”