Business COVID-19 Startups Venture

From B2B To D2C: Cheetah Raises $36M For Contactless Food Pickup & Delivery

Cheetah, which offers contactless pickup and delivery of food and supplies, has closed $36 million in a Series B funding round, the company exclusively told Crunchbase News.

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Eclipse Ventures led the investment, which also included participation from ICONIQ Capital, Hanaco Ventures and Floodgate. The financing brings the San Francisco-based company’s total funding to more than $66 million since its 2015 inception, according to Crunchbase data.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheetah offered a wholesale delivery service of ingredients and supplies for restaurants and small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But when the startup saw its business plunge by 80 percent “overnight” due to shelter-in-place orders, Cheetah quickly pivoted.

The startup now offers a direct-to-consumer service called Cheetah For People that delivers a range of goods such as bakery items, beverages, dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, fresh produce, condiments, snacks and cleaning supplies.

With so many retailers offering delivery service these days, I was curious as to what makes Cheetah different from its competitors.

Na’ama Moran, co-founder and CEO of Cheetah, told me that because Cheetah has its own fleet of refrigerated trucks it’s able to offer “competitive wholesale prices.” She said that unlike some similar services, Cheetah promises next-day delivery and pickup.

Consumers can place orders via Cheetah’s mobile app and then pick up items from one of Cheetah’s designated drive-through locations. Items are placed in the driver’s trunk to avoid contact.

With the pivot, the company currently services restaurants, small businesses and consumers. Its trucks essentially serve as mobile warehouses, Moran said. It currently operates 10 pickup locations in the Bay Area.

Lior Susan, founder and managing partner at Eclipse, believes the company’s vertical integration and technology stack is poised to do well considering the “changing buyer behavior as food supply chains shifted from a focus on commercial operations to consumer homes.”

The entire supply chain

Cheetah’s original model is similar to that of Choco’s, a Berlin-based startup that has developed a platform to make it easier for restaurants to order food from their suppliers. Choco recently raised $30.2 million at a $250 million valuation, news we covered in this piece earlier this month. Cheetah differs from Choco, according to Moran, in that it manages the entire supply chain.

“It’s built with our technology stack from the ground up,” she said. “That gives us a lot of advantage from a margin and profitability standpoint, in addition to allowing us to control the customer experience.”

So far, the pivot is going well, according to Moran.

“We had supplies in stock that groceries did not have, including toilet paper, flour, water and other hard to-get items, at incredibly affordable pricing,” she told Crunchbase News.

In less than eight weeks, the company has seen a run rate of $1 million a month in sales. This is in contrast to last year when it laid off staff after exiting nonperforming markets.

Now, Cheetah has plans to expand in 2021 to Dallas/Fort Worth, and “possibly one or two other markets.”

The company also recently inked an exclusive distribution partnership with Impossible Foods, allowing consumers to buy the plant-based Impossible Burger for the first time through Cheetah’s contactless mobile fulfillment centers.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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