Nearly seven months after the new coronavirus pandemic, Uber has essentially become a food takeaway company,media reported. Meanwhile, former Uber employees are looking for another way to benefit from the dramatic changes in the restaurant industry. Virtual Kitchen, a start-up founded by a former Uber executive, has just raised $20 million in new capital, according to an SEC document released Tuesday.
The company offers a commercial kitchen design that allows restaurants to serve food to customers without having to provide a dining area or storefront — especially during the New Crown blockade. Poki Time, one of its customers, said late last year that it was turning all three places into virtual kitchens.
Virtual Kitchen was founded in 2018 by CEOs Ken Chong and Matt Sawchuk. Chong was a product manager for Uber’s marketing business and Sawchuk was a team manager for Uber Eats.
Now, the pair are pairing up with their former boss. Travis Kalanick, a former UBER CEO, was ousted in 2017. He is the founder of Cloud Kitchens, which reportedly raised $400m from Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund last year. According to market research firm reports and data, the global cloud kitchen market will grow from about $650 million in 2018 to $2.6 billion in 2026.
Restaurants that work with Virtual Kitchen or Cloud Kitchens can still use delivery apps such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. Uber has relied on its own distribution business since the new crown pandemic paralysed much of the U.S. economy and led employers to switch to remote work. Uber said last month that total bookings for Uber Eats rose 113 percent in the most recent quarter, while its core ride-called business plunged 73 percent.
The round of financing was led by Keith Rabois, a partner at Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and more than a year ago Andreessen Horowitz and Base10 Partners led a $15.3 million round of funding.