Chowbus, the delivery app for ‘mom and pop’ Asian restaurants, raises $33 million to get the best Asian food delivered to you
Chowbus, a Chicago-based tech startup and a food-delivery platform that connects diners with high-quality, authentic Asian food from “mom and pop” restaurants and stores, today announced a $33 million Series A funding round to grow its existing business, launch its platform in new cities, and expand its product line, while continuing to support the restaurants and customers on the platform. The round was led by Silicon Valley-based Altos Ventures and NYC-based Left Lane Capital, with additional participation by Hyde Park Angels, Fika Ventures, FJ Labs and Silicon Valley Bank.
Founded in 2016 by CEO Linxin Wen and chief technology officer Suyu Zhang, Chowbus helps people discover local Asian cuisine that isn’t easily found on traditional third-party delivery apps. Chowbus provides a curated list of high-quality mom-and-pop restaurants and stores (paired with real food pictures), a unique bundling feature that allows users to order from multiple restaurants in a single delivery with no added fees, and reliable delivery service. In 2020, Chowbus was listed by Andreessen Horowitz as one of the largest and fastest-growing consumer-facing marketplaces in the U.S.
The funding comes on the heels of a period of significant growth for Chowbus, which was founded in 2016 by Suyu Zhang and Linxin Wen to connect people with authentic Asian food that’s not easily found on traditional third-party delivery apps. In the past year, Chowbus has increased its revenue 700% and grown its employee headcount 300%.
Chowbus is also pressing forward to offer new services beyond delivery to help restaurants fully leverage the power of its technology, like its recently released “dine-in” function, which allows diners to order and pay from their phone for a contactless dining experience at their favorite restaurant.
“Chowbus is proud to empower independent Asian restaurants and grocery stores across North America to share their diverse cuisine and grow their business,” said Linxin Wen, co-founder and CEO of Chowbus. “When we say we’re true partners to the restaurants we work with, we mean it. By eliminating hidden fees, helping them showcase their best dishes, and other efforts we make on their behalf, we really go the extra mile to help our restaurant partners succeed. We only succeed if they do.”
Chowbus connects diners with authentic local Asian restaurants in over 20 cities in North America. The bilingual platform provides a curated list of high-quality restaurants paired with high-quality images and a unique “bundling” feature that allows users to order the best dishes from multiple restaurants in a single delivery.
“Altos is excited to be investing in Chowbus’ mission of bringing authentic Asian food from independent mom-and-pop restaurants to passionate diners,” said Anthony Lee, Managing Director at Altos Ventures. “As children of Asian immigrants ourselves, our partnership resonates deeply with this mission and we look forward to supporting the next stage of the company’s growth.”
“The market is experiencing a permanent shift from offline to online ordering, a trend that Chowbus is actively driving,” said Harley Miller, Managing Partner at Left Lane Capital. “Focusing on this large and loyal constituency with a vertical-approach to supporting Asian restaurants and food purveyors has allowed Chowbus to differentiate itself on both sides of the marketplace. The capital efficiency with which they have operated, relative to the scale achieved, is extraordinarily impressive, and not something we often see.”
The Chowbus app is available in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Seattle, and many other cities across North America.