Local Crate raises $1.4 mln seed round for meal kit delivery

The Syndicate Fund, Matchstick Ventures, M25 Group and Router Ventures led a $1.4 million seed round in Local Crate, which delivers meal kits. Other investors in the seed funding included a group of Minnesota angel investors. Local Crate will use proceeds for growth. 

Press Release

Techstars alum, Local Crate, announced today it has raised $1.4 million in a Seed funding round led by Midwestern based firms The Syndicate Fund, Matchstick Ventures, M25 Group, and Router Ventures. Additionally, a select group of Minnesota angel investors contributed. Local Crate will use the funding to fuel market and channel growth, expanding its vision to build out the first locally-driven food platform on a national scale.

Local Crate is set to launch in Illinois today, featuring a limited-release seared shrimp with cauliflower couscous and spring vegetables recipe from award-winning Chicago chef, Zoe Schor of Split-Rail. Chef Zoe trained with Thomas Kellerand Tom Colicchio and was executive chef at Chicago’s Ada Street before opening her own restaurant Split-Rail in June 2017. “What’s cool about Local Crate is it takes something that can be so daunting to a level where it becomes much more manageable,” said Schor. (To see Local Crate’s entire weekly menu, please visit https://localcrate.com/this-weeks-menu.)

“Local Crate works with award-winning local chefs, local farmers, and local makers to create inspired recipes with the freshest ingredients,” said Frank Jackman, Local Crate’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “We deliver the very best from each growing region in locally-sourced and pre-measured meal kits right to your home or office, eliminating food waste and using up to 80% less packaging than nationally delivered services.”

Local Crate shipped its first Crate to subscribers in Minnesota in November 2015. In 2017, Local Crate was one of 10 startups selected for the three-month intensive startup accelerator Techstars + Target Retail Program. Local Crate continues to develop new and nourish existing partnerships with local farms, award-winning chefs, and passionate makers in each growing area it serves. Sales of Local Crate meal kits benefit local hunger relief efforts like St. Paul based East Side Table. Additional markets and national retail outlets are slotted for 2018 and beyond.

Brett Brohl, founder and managing director of The Syndicate Fund said, “The Syndicate Fund is proud to deepen our partnership with Local Crate. Consumers are hungry for a local food authority that not only provides fresh, delicious, and convenient meals, but also gives back to their community by supporting local farmers, makers, and hunger relief efforts. Local Crate has an experienced leadership team with substantial food, technology, and marketing expertise, as well as a differentiated model that has it poised for rapid growth.”

In addition to adding new markets, Local Crate recently expanded its executive team to include Erin Newkirk as its chief marketing officer and James Collins as its vice president of operations. Erin Newkirk is an award-winning entrepreneur with leadership in tech, food and health; spanning start-ups to growth companies to billion-dollar brands. James Collinscomes to Local Crate with over eighteen years in food industry operations management. Of particular interest, Collins was part of the team that developed the first local grocery delivery system, Coborns Delivers, where he acted as operations process manager.

About The Syndicate Fund 
The Syndicate Fund is an early stage venture capital fund that provides entrepreneurs capital and access to our network of Syndicate members. Brett Brohl, founder and Managing Director of The Syndicate Fund, is also the managing director at the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator. For more information, visit http://www.thesyndicatefund.com.

About Matchstick Ventures 
Matchstick Ventures is a Minneapolis based venture capital firm that invests in early stage startups. Matchstick’s continued support of Local Crate has been due to the team’s continued growth and ability to successfully produce a differentiated product in the market. Ryan Broshar, founder and Managing Director of Matchstick Ventures, is also the managing director at Techstars Retail. For more information, please visit http://www.matchstickventures.com.

About M25 Group
M25 Group is a Chicago-based Midwest-focused venture capital firm run by Victor Gutwein and Mike Asem. Since the fund’s inception in 2015, the firm has invested in over fifty early-stage, Midwest-based tech startups. M25’s objective, analytical model has helped support their thesis and craft an ‘index fund of Midwest startups.’ Their collaborative, forward-thinking approach and diverse investments across industries and business models throughout the region have allowed M25 to establish themselves as a key node in Midwest startup ecosystem. For more information, visit https://m25vc.com/.

About Techstars 
Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow. For more information, visit http://www.techstars.com.

About Local Crate
Local Crate delivers fresh, delicious, seasonal meal kits in partnership with award-winning chefs, local farmers, and passionate makers. Easy-to-make recipes and pre-portioned ingredients are sourced locally by growing region, reducing food and packaging waste. Additionally, Local Crate nourishes communities by giving back to hunger relief efforts. Good things come to those who Crate. For more information, please visit http://www.localcrate.com.