There aren’t many people better placed to take this massive mission on than Josh Magidson. Having sold his first business called eatstudent to JustEat, he went on to found the largest Chinese food delivery chain in the UK. As we got to know him over the following months it became increasingly clear that when he told us (frequently!) that the food industry was fundamentally broken, he really meant it. And he had felt it deeply.
It’s an industry that requires heavy CapEx, sees high failure rates (80% of new food businesses fail within 2 years), has appalling margins for food brands, generates massive food waste and is strongly reliant on low paid labour. Meanwhile from a customer perspective eating food at home and/or work is either expensive (i.e. Deliveroo, UberEats, takeout), inconvenient (think Meal Kits and cooking from scratch) or depressing (we’re looking at you ready meals).
So back to HomeCooks and how they’re shaking things up. Born out of the pandemic, HomeCooks started as a Facebook group that amassed 10k users organically matching local chefs to bored lockdown eaters. For these eaters, HomeCooks presented a low-cost, convenient and exciting way to try food from their local community. Meanwhile for food creators it offered a new channel to sell authentic home-cooked food to a growing customer base.
Fast forward to 2023 and the HomeCooks team has built a food marketplace connecting chefs to a nationwide network of eaters, bringing 60k meals to 7k customers on their platform in the past year alone. Customers love both the authenticity and almost limitless variety that HomeCooks offers (Lilia’s Madagascan coconut chicken & lasary, anyone?); it’s as simple as browsing 100s of high quality pre-prepped meals made by independent chefs, choosing your selection and delivery day, and then tucking in. To capitalise on the massive consumer demand, HomeCooks have just launched their subscription offering enabling customers to get regular deliveries straight to their door.
Meanwhile food creators, from individuals like Ann-Marie cooking her legendary Jerk Chicken from home through to micro food brands like Satay Street and Willy’s Pies, have been able to open up massive nationwide distribution channels in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. The secret to achieve this scalability is in the flash-freezing at HomeCooks’ centralised warehouse, something the other major players like Deliveroo and co simply can’t crack with their existing models. In return for giving these chefs access to a nationwide network of eaters, these influential micro brands also bring new customers onto the platform from their own social followings, reducing CAC and only accelerating the growth flywheel further.
Where next? Well the Eat at Home industry is huge and growing fast (up 80% since 2015 to a £18bn TAM in the UK) with over 890k food businesses across Europe alone; yet both sides of the market are still woefully underserved. There’s a huge opportunity at play to not only bring amazing home-cooked food to the masses across the UK and beyond, but also to empower budding food creators with the tools they need to share their culinary talents with the world.
It’s only the start for Josh and his team so we’re delighted to come onboard as investors in their £2.5m seed round led by Speedinvest, with participation from marketplace specialists Dutch Founders Fund (setup by the ex-founder of Just Eat) as well as strategic angels from Deliveroo and our friends at Rianta who led HomeCooks’ pre-seed.
All that’s left is for you to give it a go and let us know what you think (we highly recommend the Dan Dan Noodles from Sen Noods). Oh, and we promise your food will actually arrive this time…