MenuAid, a food tech startup helping answer the “What’s for dinner?” question, has raised NZ$1 million in Seed funding
New Zealand specialist agritech and foodtech seed-stage investor Sprout led the round after the startup completed its accelerator program earlier this year.
MenuAid is a subscription-based meal planning and food delivery platform that offers personalised recipes and smart shopping lists to help people cook better at home.
The capital will be used to introduce personalisation through curated recipes and an understanding of dietary and brand preferences through the use of Artificial Intelligence, as well as expand supermarket partnerships. The business will also look to double its team.
Launched in September 2021 by Elise Hilliam and her partner Toby Skilton as a New Zealand first, MenuAid is also eyeing off Australia as its first international market. The startup’s user base has grown to 7000 through word of mouth, a number it plans to increase to 100,000 within 12 months.
Its early backers, having largely bootstrapped util now include Masterchef New Zealand winner Brett McGregor, and food writer Helen Jackson.
Elise Hilliam, MenuAid’s CEO, said subscribers receive five recipes weekly. There are also customised shopping lists that reflect individual preferences for food items and brands and how often they are bought. Users can remove items they already have and swap out ingredients they don’t like, before choosing to shop themselves or have the items delivered to their door.
“Our goal is to make mealtimes simple, more affordable and enjoyable for consumers who value convenience but want to reduce packaging waste,” she said.
“The advice and industry connections received through Sprout’s specialist Accelerator, combined with the investment, will allow us to pursue our international growth plans with greater speed and confidence.”
Sprout Investment Manager Warren Bebb said MenuAid solved the angst of figuring out what to cook the evening meal in dilemma in a new and highly scalable way.
We were impressed by the founders’ insights into consumer food trends and positioning of MenuAid as a strategic partner to supermarkets and other food suppliers,” he said.
“With the addition of AI, personalisation will be a key driver of growth.”