Meal delivery continues to be popular, but most of us use it to get perhaps not the best-for-us food delivered.
This is what Austin-based Prado wants to change. CEO Jon Carter, the former CEO of healthy meal delivery service Snap Kitchen, started the company in 2020 to provide a customizable e-commerce platform for local meal delivery companies.
Its technology enables users to combine into one place what are usually individual software programs for marketing, sales, fulfillment and shipping of perishable products, so they can focus on preparing better-for-you meals.
Carter, whose background also includes financial services and Live Nation Ticketmaster, knows what it’s like to live in a food desert, as do 19 million other Americans, and not have access to fresh food. That’s why he wanted to create a better, more affordable toolkit for food subscription businesses.
“Losing my father to diabetes was a transformational moment for me where I wanted to tie my professional endeavor to something personal and apply technology transformation at scale to something worthy itself,” he told TechCrunch. “I set out to address food access, health and wellness and nutrition. Growing up, I was more likely to see a Burger King or a donut shop within 10 miles of where I grew up rather than a Whole Foods, and I wanted to do something about that.”
Now he is, and also doing it with a fresh cash infusion of $5.75 million in seed funding. Bonfire Ventures led the round and was joined by Slauson & Co., January Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Bridge Investment Group and Supply Change Fund.
The investment will be used to add to the team, scale the platform and bring on more merchant partners in additional markets, Carter said.
Prado is a subscription-based service and offers two tiers, Pro at $49 per month and Enterprise for $199 per month. The difference in price gets you API data access, a monthly account review meeting and custom consulting.
Carter sees his company going up against the likes of shipping and fulfillment software companies, including Shopify, Happy Meal Prep, Bottle, Sprwt and EatFreshTech, but said Prado differentiates itself by not only being designed for perishable food items and having the all-in-one platform, but also providing a more modern and customized tech stack for the back end of the user’s experience.
The company is working with customers like Everytable, Prep To Your Door and Lucky Lime. Carter declined to give any hard numbers to his traction so far, but did say Prado’s annual recurring revenue was close to triple what it was in January 2022.
Prado also has partnerships with delivery services, including DoorDash and ShipEngine, so that local food subscription services can go right to the source and avoid the often high fees associated with restaurant food delivery apps, Carter said.
“We are looking to add more partners in the last-mile logistics category and are also very much focused on integrations so that we are building an ecosystem that adds value on top of what we’ve built,” he added.