HUNGRY Secures $8 Million To Connect Chefs To Catering Events

By Dan Anderson ● Apr 7, 2019

HUNGRY, an Arlington, Virginia-based marketplace that connects independent chefs with the catering events market, announced it has raised $8 million in Series A funding. This round of funding was co-led by Sands Capital Ventures and Motley Fool Ventures and it included Marcy Venture Partners — which is the venture capital firm established by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z along with Larry Marcus (Walden Venture Capital) and Jay Brown (Roc Nation co-founder and CEO). Including this funding round, HUNGRY has raised $12.5 million.

Additional investors include Walter Robb (former Whole Foods co-CEO), Usher (Grammy Award-winning singer), Tom Colicchio (chef/owner of Crafted Hospitality and head judge of Bravo’s Top Chef), Ming Tsai (chef/owner Blue Dragon and CEO Ming East-West), Seth Goldman (Honest Tea founder and Beyond Meat Executive Chairman), Dave Free (Grammy Award-winning producer), Ndamukong Suh (NFL Pro Bowler), Dan Simons (co-founder of Founding Farmers Restaurant Group), Daniel Kao (former GM of DoorDash Canada), Eric Kessler (Arabella Advisors founder), James Madison Innovations, and Private Access Network (PAN).

“HUNGRY’s core purpose is to make the lives of everyone we touch better. Through our proprietary platform we have created a new and better career path for chefs while providing higher quality and more delicious food for employees and removing the hassle and frustration of ordering office catering for companies,” said HUNGRY CEO Jeff Grass.

Founded by Eman Pahlevani (COO) and Shy Pahlevani (president), HUNGRY is planning to use the funding to continue investing in its digital marketplace and logistics platforms along with accelerating growth in new markets across the U.S. As of now, the company operates in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

“We are very thankful to all of our investors and supporters. This truly is an amazing syndicate of powerful investors and we are excited about having their support to propel HUNGRY’s growth across the country,” added Eman Pahlevani.

HUNGRY connects independent chefs with a platform to sell their cuisines to corporate customers. Instead of ordering from restaurants or traditional caterers, offices can order directly from talented independent chefs — each specializing in their own cuisines. Some of HUNGRY’s chefs include former White House chefs, Chopped Champions, Food Network chefs, and the personal chefs of celebrities.

“HUNGRY’s disruptive model is a game changer for everyone involved in their ecosystem. The team is led by seasoned entrepreneurs who have an incredible track record. We are pleased to partner with HUNGRY and look forward to supporting their explosive growth,” explained Sands Capital Ventures partner Michael Graninger.

Currently, HUNGRY saves companies an average of 33% over traditional restaurants and caterers while chefs on the HUNGRY platform early three to ten times more per hour than standard culinary jobs. Over 400 companies in the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia areas have connected with HUNGRY with their office food needs including Amazon, Microsoft, WeWork, E-Trade, etc.

“The platform HUNGRY has built provides chefs with economic opportunity and culinary freedom, while making it easier for offices to provide good, reliable, healthy food. We are proud to support a company that serves the needs of so many stakeholders so well,” noted Motley Fool Ventures venture partner Lawrence Greenberg.

As part of HUNGRY’s ‘Fight Against Hunger’ program, the company donates one meal to those in need for every two purchased. And through the ‘WeRecycle’ program, environmental waste reduction is promoted by offering biodegradable plates and cutlery with its delivered meals.

“HUNGRY has built a brand that is defined by customer satisfaction. The team has cracked the code on a user-friendly marketplace that combines skilled chefs with an easy-to-use digital ordering experience. We’re thrilled to be a part of the HUNGRY journey,” Larry Marcus commented.

The average cost of a catered meal in the Washington, D.C. area is more than $18 compared to $12 for HUNGRY. And chefs working on the HUNGRY platform make about $75-$150 per hour compared to the industry average of $22 per hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics).