More money keeps flowing into the delivery space, this time Goldbelly grabbed the attention of restaurateur Danny Meyer and his young fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments.
Goldbelly was founded in 2012 in New York with the purpose of getting “legendary foods” to customers overnight. What constitutes a legendary food? Well, perusing the site is a feast for the eyes made up of classic items like Pat’s Cheesesteaks out of Philadelphia, pizza from the Detroit Style Pizza Company, dessert from Milk Bar or ribs from the St. Louis barbecue institution Pappy’s. It was actually some of Meyer’s favorite childhood custard that grabbed his attention.
According to CNBC, a package of frozen custard from Ted Drewes, a St. Louis favorite, arrived at Meyer’s door. Meyer, who grew up in St. Louis, was rapt.
“I had absolutely no idea you could even get Ted Drewes other than going home to St. Louis,” Meyer told CNBC. “I was smitten.”
Four years later, he’s leading Goldbelly’s $20 million Series B round. Intel Capital, 645 Ventures and 500 Startups also joined the round, all three re-upping their investments from Goldbelly’s Series A round.
The $200 million Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI) fund has also invested in reservation provider Resy Network, New York-based Joe Coffee and ice cream maker Salt & Straw. So far, Meyer says the investments empower companies to get to the next great businesses and allow for “cross pollination” between brands. Salt & Straw, for example, has Joe Coffee on the menu.
“Enlightened Hospitality Investments allows us to find and fuel growth for best-in-class culture-driven businesses that are on the precipice of doing great things,” said Danny Meyer, founder and chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, said. “EHI provides us with a strategic investment vehicle to formalize future transactions and bring the benefits of our experience and relationships, which we have cultivated through USHG, to beloved companies that share our passion for our team and community.”
Mark Leavitt, the chief investment officer at USHG and former head of Piper Jaffray’s Telecom Media and Technology investment banking practice, will oversee the fund. He said all the investments fit with Meyer’s idea of “enlightened hospitality,” where companies do better when they embody a kinder, gentler culture.
“Danny described it at our LP meeting, he said, ‘We set this up because we wanted to show that nice guys can finish first,’” Leavitt told Restaurant Finance Monitor. “I think there are enough companies that believe this is a differentiator, and I think people all call it different things but you kind of know it when you see it. We watch the way companies behave and prioritize their stakeholders, they may not say this is ‘enlightened hospitality’ but it’s really the same thing.”
Goldbelly’s unique model of empowering popular small businesses with logistical advances fits the bill well.
“We are thrilled to partner with Danny and the team at Enlightened Hospitality Investments and to join their great portfolio of brands who are unified by shared values of hospitality and a commitment to providing a stronger emotional connection to food,” said founder and CEO Joe Ariel in a press release. “At Goldbelly, we believe that the country’s greatest foods are made by passionate regional food makers and artisans. We’ve created a platform to empower these iconic local brands to connect with food lovers across the country, and look forward to enabling more people to enjoy these magical food experiences around the country.”
Goldbelly will use the new funding to meet increased demand and expand its technology and operations teams in its newly opened New York City headquarters. As a part of the transaction, Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and a partner in Enlighted Hospitality Investments, will join the Company’s advisory board.
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