For those of you who love to eat, like to cook, and dislike or don’t have time to shop in the market, fasten your seatbelts. Or perhaps loosen your waistbelts. And angels, get ready to loosen the checkbook. Got a new favorite.
I’m fond of TechStars companies (it is such a great filter, with acceptance rates hovering around 1%), and even fonder of repeat, successful entrepreneurs. So when I heard of Plated, a TechStars NYC company where two HBS grads with startup success who were walking away from high paying job offers on the Street (just like Brent Grinna at Evertrue–one of my favorite angel investments), I wanted to learn more. I tweeted to @Plated to see if they were free–I was in NYC on other business with 2 hours before I had to leave for the airport–and got a response within minutes.
I cabbed it over to Plated’s office within TechStars to talk with Josh Hix, one of the co-founders. The basic idea is that you go to the site, “shop” once a week, pick out a few meals (minimum 4 plates) from their changing menu, and they select and send you all the ingredients, pre-measured, recipes attached. From my vantage point as a consumer, they do the work, I enjoy the fun and the meal.
I had a million questions: Is this scalable? (well, yes, actually). How are the margins? What are the logistics? How will you acquire customers…and in every case, they had a solid strategy and a well-considered response. As was evident in this coverage in the WSJ, in Thrillist, and in all these articles shown on AngelList. But as they say, the proof’s in the pudding. Josh emailed me a coupon for a sample box (this was Friday), I checked it out, and decided to surprise the wife with a Tilapia Cobb Salad on Tuesday night.
We drove from our house in VT to our apartment in Boston Tuesday mid-day, which is the day when deliveries are made. The doorman called my cellphone at 10:17am to tell me a perishable package had arrived, and I was worried that it would be a few more hours before I would arrive in Boston, but I thought even if the food was ruined–it was in the 70s–I could check out the quality of the packaging.
Inside, we found an insulated bag, with cold packs keeping everything fresh.
The packaging was perfect, the convenience couldn’t be beat (I don’t know about you, but I just don’t want to go to the store just to score a 1/2 cup of buttermilk,) the recipe was quick and yummy (although I freelanced it a little on the dressing,) and most importantly, I scored points with my wife, who had been skeptical–especially about me cooking, and ended a convert.
So what’s not to love? The market is huge, a quality, differentiated product is reasonably priced, the service superb, the vision can scale, and most importantly, they are sweating the small points, the entire customer experience, and delivering. Literally.
OK–so my execution as junior chef wasn’t world class. But theirs is. Nice job, Plated! Tastiest due diligence ever. Hey, sign up with code 8a8f36 when you get to the cash register, and you’ll get a few dinners comped when you sign up. Just like Pandora let’s you discover new music easily, this makes expanding your cooking repertoire dead simple. And check them out on AngelList, if you can’t make it to NYC Demo Day.