Usher’s mom, Jonetta Patton, opened J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator about three years ago, “offering aspiring chefs and caterers commercial kitchen space and equipment, food packaging services, and workshops designed to jumpstart their business,” Atlantic Magazine wrote at the time.
But when finding customers became her biggest challenge, Patton teamed with of Hungry—a startup connecting chefs with companies looking for catered meals—and she called on her famous son to help drive the co-branding effort to the next level.
“I was so excited, I called him. I said, ‘I’m telling you, this is the next big thing; you have to get on board,’” Patton recalls explaining to her son. “You know what? Immediately, he said, ‘Okay.’”
As reported by Forbes, Usher came on as an investor in the startup through its $8 million Series A round, led bySands Capital Ventures and Motley Fool Ventures. He joined a group of notable influencers such as entertainers Ndamukong Suh and Jay-Z (via his Marcy Venture Partners), as well as former Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb and restaurateur Tom Colicchio. Hungry has now raised $12.5 million since its founding by Eman and Shy Pahlevani in late 2016, the report states.
“Hungry has built a brand that is defined by customer satisfaction,” Larry Marcus, Marcy Venture Partners co-founder and managing director, said in the press release. “The team has cracked the code on a user-friendly marketplace that combines skilled chefs with an easy-to-use digital ordering experience. We’re thrilled to be a part of the Hungry journey.”
Via ARL Now:
The company puts together a rotating set of dining options for offices from a variety of hand-picked chefs. Once the meal is chosen, a delivery team brings the food there, sets up, and then packs up when the meal is done.
The central idea is that an office could order lunch for their staff every day for a month and never get the same food twice or have to worry about the logistics. The company currently operates throughout the D.C. region and recently expanded to Philadelphia.
“We are very thankful to all of our investors and supporters,” said Eman Pahlevani, Hungry’s co- founder and COO. “This truly is an amazing syndicate of powerful investors and we are excited about having their support to propel Hungry’s growth across the country.”
Any professional chef in a licensed commercial kitchen can apply to be on the platform; Hungry screens them and tastes each dish they’re planning to offer. Once admitted, chefs cook the meals and Hungry takes care of logistics. The company will use the cash influx to bankroll expansion into other territories including Atlanta.
“What Uber did for people with cars, Hungry is doing for talented chefs,” Eman Pahlevani tells Forbes. “We are allowing them to set their own hours, they make their own menus … it just gives them more time to be in the kitchen doing more of what they love doing, which is cooking amazing food.”
Some chefs are reportedly bringing in $20,000 to $30,000 per month on the platform.
“I think we’re going to partner in other markets,” Patton says. “I see it growing and being successful hugely on a global level.”[ione_media_gallery id=”495924″ overlay=”true”]