Alven Capital is excited to announce its participation in Frichti’s latest round of financing to support the startup’s rapid expansion. In recent weeks, demand and word-of-mouth has indeed proved very strong, as well as the users’ satisfaction and their rate of regularly returning to the service. The company was launched in May 2015 by Julia Bijaoui, who has honed her consumer web skills at another of Alven’s portfolio companies, the beauty products subscription service Joliebox, then at the American counterpart Birchbox after they acquired Joliebox in 2013. Mrs Bijaoui is now acting as CEO of Frichti, where she leads what one might call the third generation of online food delivery services. After the first wave of simple aggregation of takeaway restaurants menus and online orders (AlloResto (FR), Grubhub (US)…), and the recent second wave of on-demand labor platforms extending into food delivery (UberEats, Deliveroo, TakeEatEasy, Foodora…), Frichti differentiates itself by the strategic move of vertically integrating its entire stack: They employ the cooks who prepare their own meals as well as the fleet who delivers them. This ensures a tight control on the customer’s experience and on the operating costs.
Through operational excellence and mutualized costs, they are able to offer the convenience of online order and quick delivery and maintain meals of high quality at scale without sacrificing affordability. That infamously impossible sweet spot in the three-way compromise between quality, speed and price even has a project management model named after it, and is often reminded in Venn diagrams about anything from graphic design to software development. That is the relative novelty in the customer’s experience of food delivery, and the reason why we see Frichti as being so promising.
Frichti has managed in only a few months to woo the Parisian crowd, who when compared to other regions is notorious for mostly eating either home-cooked meals or dining at restaurants. Their trademark? Top chefs cooking a simple cuisine with quality in-season produce, modeled on what users would cook for a nicer meal for themselves while breaking with traditional delivery foods such as pizza or sushi or the staples of home-cooked meals like pasta or frozen food. Last but not least, the icing on the cake is how Frichti nurtures its service of homey meals while fully embracing the convenience of fast delivery and flawless digital interfaces to cater to impatient, time-constrained and digitally savvy urban dwellers.
The competition has quickly become fierce in Paris like in most urban centers globally, but the addressable market is huge given the universal and recurrent aspect of eating and how familiar consumers are getting with ordering food online. Though we have seen large funding rounds being invested in similar companies in hopes of growing market shares, we do not expect only one winner to take it all like in some other verticals. Building loyalty is especially tricky around food where consumers are known to be fickle customers, one of Frichti’s advantages over the competition. Alven is excited to be supporting Frichti through its growth trajectory in Paris, Europe and beyond. The Series A round consisting of €12M is led by Alven Capital as the original seed investor, and joined by IdInvest and successful French entrepreneurs Pierre Valade (Sunrise), Céline Lazorthes (Leetchi) et Céline Orjubin (My Little Paris).