San Francisco-based contactless food delivery firm, Cheetah, established itself as an up-and-coming business-to-business (B2B) startup since its founding in 2015. The company provided thousands of Bay Area restaurants with much-needed supplies and has fulfilled over 350,000 orders.
However, the coronavirus outbreak happened and significantly disrupted its operations. Cheetah has since rebounded by offering innovative new consumer services and secured $36 million in new funding.
Meeting Adversity with Resiliency
Cheetah came to the marketplace with a smart solution to help independent restaurateurs, café owners, and food truck operators succeed. The e-commerce startup maintains an application that allows business owners to place orders for fresh produce, meat, dairy, beverages, bakery items, and cleaning supplies for next day delivery. By harnessing the expertise of food industry veterans, logistics specialists, chefs, and data scientists, the firm became a supplier for over 3,000 Bay Area eateries.
However, the onset of COVID-19 prompted Cheetah to change its business model abruptly.
After the California state government issued a shelter-in-place order, the firm’s revenue quickly plunged by 80 percent. But instead of collapsing, the company showed resiliency in the face of adversity by expanding its service to offers food and supplies at wholesale prices directly to consumers. The female-led startup transformed its fleet of 100 refrigerated trucks into mobile operating centers.
Now, Bay Area individuals and families can arrange for contactless pickup of Farmland Pork products, Bob’s Red Mill grains, Coca-Cola beverages, and a slew of other products. Shoppers can visit 10 drive-thru locations to have their groceries safely placed in their trunks the day after ordering them. The firm’s pivot has proven very successful; it processed more than $72,000 in consumer sales the week it offered its new service.
Cheetah Picks Up Speed
In a recent Series B round, Cheetah secured $36 million in outside capital, bringing its lifetime funding to $67.7 million. Eclipse Ventures led the firm’s latest cash infusion, which also featured contributions from Floodgate Fund, Hanaco Ventures, and ICONIQ Capital. Having persisted through an existential crisis, the firm now has a PitchBook valuation of $180 million.
The startup wants to use its newly acquired resources to build out its operations to aid a broader range of consumers. “Now, we can provide even more people with the food and supplies they need in a safe and cost-effective way, throughout this crisis and beyond,” said Cheetah CEO and Co-Founder Na’ama Moran. “Our purpose has always been to help independent restaurants thrive. Now we are helping communities thrive.”
The startup is pursuing its mission by bringing new products to its rapidly expanding customer base. The company recently inked an exclusive distribution agreement with Impossible Foods, which allows consumers to pick up its third-pound meatless burger patties through its contactless grocery pick-up locations. The firm also plans to expand into the Dallas/Fort Worth region, and potentially “one or two other markets” in 2021.
The great promise of digitization is that it makes the provision of services faster, easier, and more affordable. With its remarkable agility and resilience, Cheetah is helping small businesses, individuals, and families realize that promise.