New funding round values catering marketplace Hungry at $100M+

Hungry, a catering marketplace that connects businesses with independent chefs, announced this week that it has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Hungry tells me that the funding valued the company at more than $100 million (pre-money).

The investors were also pretty impressive: The round was led by Evolution VC Partners and former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, who’s joining the startup’s board. Kevin Hart, Jay-Z, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, former Obama aide Reggie Love and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner also participated.

CEO Jeff Grass said that he and his co-founders Eman Pahlavani (COO) and Shy Pahlevani (president) got the idea for the company while working at their previous startup LiveSafe.

“LiveSafe was in a food desert, where the best options were Subway and Ruby Tuesday,” Grass said. “We wanted more authentic food and we started thinking about, ‘Is there a better way that taps into local chefs?’ ”

That eventually led to Hungry, which has built up a network of independent chefs in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Atlanta, providing catering to companies including Amazon, E-Trade, Microsoft and BCG. The chefs are all screened by Hungry, they cook out of “ghost kitchens” (commercial kitchens that aren’t attached to a restaurant) and then the food is delivered by the Hungry team.

“The food is produced at a much lower cost structure than at a restaurant with a retail location,” Grass said. “And yet you’re not sacrificing on quality. These are top chefs cooking their best dishes — you get higher than restaurant-quality food, but produced at a much lower cost.”

He added that this lower cost also allows the startup to be generous. Specifically, for every two meals sold, Hungry is supposed to donate one meal to end hunger in the U.S., and it has donated nearly 500,000 meals already.

As for the funding, Grass and his team will use it to expand into new markets — he hopes to be in 23 cities by the end of 2021.

What to consider when employees need to start working remotely

The COVID-19 crisis is touching all aspects of society, including how we work. In response, many companies are considering asking some percentage of their workforce to work remotely until the crisis abates.

If your organization doesn’t have a great deal of experience with remote work, there are a number of key things to think about as you set up a program. You are going to be under time constraints when it comes to enacting an action plan, so think about ways to leverage the tools, procedures and technologies you already have in place. You won’t have the luxury of conducting a six-month study.

We spoke to a few people who have been looking at the remote working space for more than a decade and asked about the issues companies should bear in mind when a large number of employees suddenly need to work from home.

The lay of the land

Alan Lepofsky, currently VP of Salesforce Quip, has studied the remote work market for more than a decade. He says there are three main pieces to building a remote working strategy. First, managers need to evaluate which tools they’ll be using to allow employees to continue collaborating when they aren’t together.