We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck an ex-Deliveroo exec used to raise $37 million for his virtual-restaurant startup
This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.
- Virtual-restaurant startup Taster raised $37 million in a Series B round led by Octopus Ventures.
- Taster creates menus and dishes with chefs and licenses them out to restaurants in London and Paris.
The virtual-restaurant startup Taster has raised $37 million in a Series B round led by Octopus Ventures.
Taster, founded in 2017 by the entrepreneur Anton Soulier, is one of a crop of startups that have sprung up to create food brands solely for food-delivery apps such as Uber Eats and the UK’s Deliveroo. Soulier previously worked at Deliveroo.
Each of the company’s restaurant brands, such as the Vietnamese-food-focused Mission Saigon and the Korean fried-chicken brand Out Fry, were developed in partnership with chefs to create a menu for food delivery. Taster said it delivered more than 1 million meals in 2020.
Taster doesn’t just operate its food brands itself, it also scales up by licensing out its brands to restaurant partners who effectively buy a concept and then do the cooking. Meals are then delivered via a partnership with Deliveroo.
The boom in delivery has been a mixed bag for some physical restaurants that question high commission fees from apps like Deliveroo. But Taster says that adding its food brands can help restaurants make use of any underused kitchen space and bring in a new revenue stream. The startup says it works with its restaurant partners to prepare them for marketing its brands and to set up their kitchens to make the most of the brands.
“We’re having more and more restaurants approach us, so this funding helps us really scale,” Soulier told Insider. “We’ve decided to accelerate the license model and double down on our tech and marketing.”
Taster said it hoped to have 10,000 digital restaurants live globally by 2025, across 3,000 licensed partner restaurants, with a plan to move beyond its key hubs of London and Paris.
Funding conversations began in February, Soulier said, adding that this time around it had been easier to explain the concept to investors than for Taster’s Series A funding round.
The Series B also had participation from Rakuten, as well as from existing investors Battery Ventures, LocalGlobe, and Heartcore Capital, which led the company’s Series A in June 2019.
Rebecca Hunt, an investor at Octopus Ventures, said everything about Taster was “designed specifically for the takeaway customer.” That results in a better experience and high levels of repeat business, she added.
“By partnering with existing experts in food preparation to run local kitchens,” she said, “it can scale rapidly while ensuring consistency of food quality, as well as operational efficiency.”
Check out Taster’s (redacted) pitch deck for the round: