A Queensland dinner party marketplace that matches hosts with caterers – from chefs and talented home cooks – has raised $600,000 in seed funding.
Brisbane-based ACAC Innovation led the raise with the FNQ Angels and the Queensland Government’s Business Development Fund as co-investors. It’s the second time FNQ Angels has supported the regional startup, having tipped in initial capital in early 2019.
Founded in far north Queensland in 2018, Gathar offers a range of set menus priced at between $38 and $150 a head, and even a $750 five-course lobster, steak and truffle meal for two.
Gathar caterers come to your home, holiday house or office and cook, serve and wash up after. The business initially launched in Cairns and Port Douglas, where the founders are based, and has now expanded to 10 markets nationally, including Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and the holiday destinations of Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
The raise demonstrates confidence from angel investors once covid-19 restrictions lift and people can get together again
Gathar co-founder and CEO Jodie Mlikota, who describes the business as “the Airbnb of dinner parties”, said the will be used to expand across Australia with plans to launch internationally in the pipeline.
“We will be able to onboard hundreds of new chefs, cooks and grazing stylists to create delicious dining experiences for people across the country,” she said.
“By growing their businesses, we’re helping to aid the recovery of the hospitality industry following covid-19,” she said.
Gathar has more than 100 cooks and chefs on its platform, and delivered dining experiences for more than 4000 guests nationally.
Mlikota said that while covid-19 initially halted bookings, the business has rebounded.
“Since restrictions on the numbers of people allowed indoors have eased, we’ve had a return to pre- coronavirus booking numbers,” she said.
“Over the coming months we expect to be ahead of where we were before lockdown.”
The business has paid $200,000 to its caterers since launch.
ACAC Innovation CEO Bryce Greig said he was impressed by the sophistication of Gathar’s business model.
“I don’t think existing food delivery services quite meet the standard you’re after when it comes to hosting a party,” he said.
Ms Mlikota, who has a marketing background, came up with the idea for Gathar after spending too much time in the kitchen during her own dinner parties and enlisted fellow foodies and tech experts Nicky Jurd and Kaj Haffenden as her co-founders.