Washington, D.C.-based CookNook is merging with Homemade, as the New York City-based startup expands into new markets on a $2.1 million seed round of funding. Connecting people who like to cook at home with people who like to eat home-cooked meals is one of those simple but potentially fruitful startup ideas, and it’s one that Homemade has brought to Philadelphia and San Francisco, before turning to D.C. and acquiring CookNook for an undisclosed amount.
“We were doing a competitive analysis of others in the field last year, and no one was in our market, so we reached out in a friendly way about sharing best practices to Homemade and others,” CookNook co-founder Neil Shah said in an interview with DC Inno. “Then when they were about to raise their fund, they wanted to move forward quickly, so they suggested the acquisition. We hadn’t raised what we were hoping for, so we were going to have to do something drastic in the next six to eight months anyway. The timing worked out.”
CookNook, which has been based out tech startup incubator 1776, is very similar in style to Homemade. Chefs apply to join the platform and can post their dishes and prices, usually about $10 a serving. Hungry people can look at what is scheduled near them and if enough people want the food, the chef will make it. It can be picked up or delivered depending on location. And while CookNook and Homemade check on safety standards, the chefs don’t technically need the usual commerical kitchen licenses because it treats the arrangement as friends sharing food and reimbursing each other rather than a business transaction.
“We’ll be rolling our chefs into their platform,” Shah said. “They have a pretty sleek app. Everything can be done on mobile by the chef, price, pictures, delivery radius. And now the chefs can deliver themselves. We were contracting with a third-party delivery company. There’s going to be a lot more great meals going around.”