A growing hunger for home-cooked meal delivery has led one of the founding members of Afterpay, David Hancock, to lead a $500,000 raise into a former chef’s meal delivery service on Sydney’s northern beaches.
FoodSt is an online marketplace for home-cooked meals, founded by Lorraine Gnanadickam and her husband, Sanjay. The business has sold more than 15,000 meals since launching, with 25 cooks offering more than 100 different meals in a range of cuisines via the site. The meals are sold on a minimum $70 spend, are pre-ordered and delivered frozen once a week.
It’s one of a number of similar marketplace ventures harnessing the passions of home cooks across Australia and is planning a national roll-out with the funds.
While the cash injection is substantial, it’s the equivalent of a night out in a three-star restaurant for Hancock, Afterpay’s former group head, who stepped down as a director in 2019, but amassed a personal fortune worth more than $100 million from the BNPL fintech’s surging share price.
In December, Hancock exercised a final 200,000 options in Afterpay at a strike price of $2.70. The share price was lingering just under $100 at that point. It’s now above $140.
Despite working professionally as a cook, Gnanadickam said she founded FoodSt because as the parent of two small children, she was frustrated by her lack of time to prepare healthy home-cooked meals. She also wanted to offer flexibility and an income to others passionate about food.
“We also offer employment to those who are talented and passionate about food yet may struggle with traditional workplaces,” she said.
“Some of our cooks have sold their meals while on maternity leave and we’ve had immigrants grow successful small businesses, despite limited English, using their cooking skills. Watching our cooks succeed on the platform is one of the most satisfying components of this business.
“We have people from all walks of life selling meals on the platform. Our cooks are from all over the world bringing flavours of their home countries to the plate, meaning we have a unique marriage of diversity and authenticity in our menu.”
Hancock said the combination of high growth with social impact appealed to him.
“Not only is the grocery replacement market growing by over 300% year on year, FoodSt has a life changing impact on the lives of many people looking for flexible work options that they can do with a family from home,” he said.