LA-based expat Australian chef Curtis Stone has signed on with the “Airbnb of dinner parties”, catering startup Gathar, as the Queensland startup expands into the US market.
Gathar’s US expansion follows a $1 million in post-seed funding led by angel investment group ACAC Innovation, along with Up Bank co-founder, Dominic Pym among the new investors backing the private chef and catering platform. Gathar previously raised $600,000 in June 2020.
Stone, now a Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur, opened his first solo restaurant, Maude in Beverly Hills in 2014.
The chef, who found fame as a regular on Oprah, said he was proud to introduce Gathar to the US at a time when more chefs are making the move towards the creator economy.
“The thing that excites me about Gathar is the amazing community of chefs and caterers we’ll be supporting, giving them the ability to create restaurant-quality dining experiences for people in the comfort of their own homes,” he said.
“The world has changed for chefs. Post-pandemic, we’re seeing more chefs wanting to start their own private chef businesses and I think Gathar is in the perfect position to support this shift within the industry.”
Gathar CEO and co-founder, Jodie Mlikota said the business has seen a 330% increase in demand last year.
“Our growth in revenue and ability to attract investment, even during pandemics and floods, has proven our resilience and potential,” she said.
“It’s so encouraging to know our users, investors and partners like Curtis can see the possibilities ahead for Gathar globally.”
Gathar launched in Cairns and Port Douglas in far north Queensland in late 2018, and now operates in 27 locations nationally, collaborating with more than 180 chefs, cooks, caterers and stylists.
Mlikota says the capital raised will be used to scale the Gathar platform and Australian team as well as establishing the brand’s presence in the United States.
“Over the past four years, our focus has been on building a global, scalable platform that changes the way the world gathers,” she said.
“We’ve created thousands of amazing dining experiences in Australia from date nights to dinner parties, corporate events and weddings, and we can’t wait to help LA get ‘gatharing’ soon.”
ACAC Innovation CEO Bryce Greig, an early stage backer of the Gather said it was “an easy decision” to lead the new capital round.
“Gathar’s growth in the Australian market gives us huge confidence for their entry into the US and expansion into future locations beyond LA.”