The COVID-19 pandemic has left a giant hole for businesses, but one group of Burnaby friends are finding their way through it.
Burnaby childhood friends and founders Becky Brauer, Dhruv Sood, and Husein Rahemtulla went from creating recipes in their home kitchen and making delivery runs to their customers, to recently producing their millionth meal for customers out of their 35,000-square-food production facility through their company Fresh Prep, a meal kit delivery series.
The trio has also completed their Series A round of financing of a whopping $7 million. Led by venture capital firm Renewal Funds, along with strategic and existing investors, the cumulative funds raised for this five-year-old company is over $10 million to date.
“We’re thrilled to partner with a local company that has strong values and offers products and a service that support the local economy,” said Genevieve Pinto, partner at Renewal Funds, in a news release.
Fresh Prep now delivers tens of thousands of meals each week across the Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions.
“Partnering with local businesses has been a key ingredient to our growth,” said Sood. “We purchase meat locally from Intercity Packers and Rossdown Farms to ensure the freshest local proteins along with seasonally local produce for our customers.”
Fresh Prep also works with other local suppliers to provide additional items such as smoothies, baked goods, snacks and more within their online marketplace to provide additional options to customers, while supporting the local economy. In April, Fresh Prep gave back nearly $10,000 in proceeds to their local suppliers through a special rebate program.
“Post COVID-19, we believe that our customers’ food preferences and cooking habits will remain focused on home-cooked meals and supporting local suppliers,” said Brauer. “With the support of our investors, we are ready to grow to meet customers’ changing needs.”
The new round will go towards hiring more talent and service enhancements for the rollout of Fresh Prep’s 100% reusable meal kit, which will curb the usage of single-use plastics in Fresh Prep meal kits. Fresh Prep will be the only meal kit provider to offer such a product on mass scale in Canada, and this will be a significant step towards Fresh Prep’s goal of becoming a completely zero waste business by 2025.