Following a new £28.5m investment, Timo Boldt tells the investment story of Gousto, the meal-kit company he founded in 2012 as part of an Elite Business exclusive
The online grocery market was still in its infancy in 2012 but showed great potential and was forecast to be worth £18bn by 2018. At that time it had also become clear that busy lifestyles were taking a toll on people’s ability to cook healthy and nutritious food from scratch, yet the percentage of food going to waste in people’s homes was still high.
I knew change needed to take place in the food industry, so my founding mission was to transform the sector by dramatically embracing the mega-trends of grocery land, which were sustainability, health, convenience and online. The result was Gousto, a meal-kit provider. Our aim was to make it easier for families to cook good food easily by delivering fresh ingredients and recipes straight to their door.
In our early days, there was no understanding about recipe box delivery services as the concept was brand-new. We therefore had to educate consumers about the positive difference a service like this could have on their lives. And in order to fund and scale our mission we also needed to convince investors that this wasn’t just an idea that would help reduce food waste, it was going to be a market with serious growth potential.
The Gousto team was incredibly lucky to connect with an excellent team of investors in the early days including Angel CoFund, MMC Ventures, Unilever Ventures and BGF Ventures – without whom, the business would have never been able to get off the ground. Our challenge to scale Gousto in that early period, while taking the early recipe kit proposition and developing it to where it is now, has only been possible to achieve through hard work, operational excellence, software and data science.
Buy-in from our investors gave us the boost to get to where we are today, allowing us to heavily invest in developing the infrastructure, logistics, packaging and technology that has propelled our success. As a result of these key investments, our revenues rocketed nearly 100% in 2017 and we currently deliver over one million meals monthly.
It’s been quite a journey so far but we’re not there yet. Our commitment to our mission remains unwavering but we now begin a new and exciting chapter with a further fundraise of an additional £28.5m equity funding from our existing investors and new investor Hargreave Hale. This brings the total amount we’ve raised to £56.5m to date.
With the new capital we’re prioritising product investment to ensure continued growth and we’ll continue improving the Gousto experience for our customers as our digital lives evolve. Our ambition is to help UK families produce 400 million home-cooked meals by 2025 and extend 0% household food waste to three million more homes.
From a business perspective, our new funding allows us to support the British economy with the creation of new jobs as we expect our headcount to increase two-fold over the next few years. This is a pivotal moment for us and the wider recipe kit market but it should also serve as a moment of motivation for startups everywhere too. Indeed, once we were just a new idea in search of customers and capital and now that we have both we’re determined to go onwards and upwards – so can you.
This latest funding round is recognition of the trust shown by our early-stage investors, our team’s achievements to date and the potential to continue scaling in an increasingly crowded market – three key ingredients that startups from all sectors can bear in mind when putting together their own recipe for success.