Jow raises $20 million for its meal and grocery planning service

Tech

French startup Jow has raised a $20 million funding round led by Eurazeo. Jow wants to make it easier to cook at home by taking care of menu ideas and helping you manage your online orders of groceries. The company has partnered with national food retailers so that your oder is seamlessly processed by your usual grocery store.

In addition to Eurazeo, existing investors Headline, DST and Stride.VC are also participating in today’s funding round. Founded in 2018, Jow has already raised $1.5 million in October 2018 and $7 million in December 2019.

It’s easier to describe Jow by describing what the service isn’t. Jow isn’t a grocery delivery service. Jow isn’t a food delivery company that lets you pick prepared meals either.

When you sign up to Jow, you first describe what it’s like at home. How many adults and children are living in your home? Are there any food allergy or specific restrictions? Do you have a microwave oven or a blender?

After that, Jow will recommend some meals for the next week. You can review and customize each meal. For instance, you can replace something if you don’t feel like eating that. You can add or remove people for each meal as well.

Jow automatically generates a list of items to buy to prepare those meals. The startup tries to be as efficient as possible, meaning that you won’t end up with three bottles of olive oil if you need olive oil in three different meals. At the end of the shopping journey, you can add household items, drinks and everything that isn’t on the list already.

The company doesn’t process your order directly. Jow transfers your list of items to a major supermarket near you. You can choose where you want to buy your food. The startup has partnered with the six largest grocery brands in France, Carrefour, Auchan, Intermarché, Leclerc, Monoprix and Chronodrive — this represents over 4,000 stores across the country.

You can connect to your favorite retailer using your existing login information from one of those brands. You can also choose between curbside pickup or home delivery.

Online grocery shopping isn’t new. But the experience hasn’t changed much over the past few years. You have to know what you’re looking for. Items are just sorted in various categories and you get a grid of items in each category.

That’s why it still feels difficult to plan in advance and order online. There are three ways to solve this issue — you can be well prepared and plan your week, you can rely on instant grocery shopping services that promise you deliveries in roughly 15 minutes, or you just avoid the issue entirely by ordering food on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and other food delivery services.

Jow thinks improving meal planning can change how you interact with online grocery shopping services. By removing the complexities, you could end up ordering less on food delivery services, saving money and reducing waste. Preparing a meal at home is always the most environmentally-friendly option.

And it’s a capital-efficient strategy as well. The startup only has 35 employees and doesn’t own any food items. It generates revenue from grocerers.

Overall, Jow users have ordered 20 million meals through the app. Nearly 70% of products in a customer’s basket come from the company’s recipes.

Jow closed its funding round earlier this year and is announcing it today. The company plans to expand to new countries starting with the U.S. It’ll face competition from other meal planning startups, such as Kitchenful.

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