Feb 21st 2014, 15:45, by Ryan Lawler
For people with busy lives, coming home and making dinner for the family can be a pain. Equally as painful? Trying to find a place to go out to or order from that the whole family can agree on. Y Combinator alum Gobble is seeking to alleviate that pain by offering up personalized meal selections through a subscription delivery service.
This isn’t the first time we’ve covered Gobble. When it first launched a few years ago, the startup was focused on creating a marketplace for home-cooked meals.
Since then, the company has changed its business model quite a bit. While the marketplace idea was great for finding new and interesting dishes from quality chefs, it lacked the kind of thing that keeps people coming back for more.
So Gobble built a subscription business designed to help families and groups have great, personalized meals delivered to their homes.
This is how it works: Customers sign up, tell Gobble how many people are in their household (including how many adults and kids), and selects dates and times that they’d like to have meals delivered. They can also specify initial meal preferences or dietary restrictions.
At the beginning of the week, those customers will receive a calendar with meal options for the week laid out for them. They can add or subtract days, or change their meal selection up to 24 hours before delivery.
But here comes the fun part: Customers can rate and provide feedback on meals, which allows Gobble to create a personalized profile for them based on a “taste algorithm.” Over time, the system is designed to offer up things that are more to your liking. Kind of like Pandora, for food.
According to founder Ooshma Garg, the company is also hoping to find “the best” of each dish or cuisine in the area. Since it’s a subscription service with meals planned out days in advance, it has a high level of predictability, which means it can match up chefs, restaurants, and catering services that have excess capacity. (ZeroCater, also a YC alum, does the same kind of thing but with corporate clients.)
Gobble’s main target market is busy families, and the company charges $10 a meal for adult portions, $8 a meal for kids, and a weekly delivery fee of $9.99 for unlimited meals. For now, the service is available in the South Bay, specifically Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and San Carlos. (See map below)
The company has raised a total of $1.2 million in seed funding, from investors that include Reid Hoffman (via the Greylock Discovery Fund), Felicis Ventures, Founder Collective, SV Angel, Morado Venture Partners, Thrive Capital, Keith Rabois, Jack Abraham, Lorenzo Thione, Ben Ling, Noah Goodhart, Craig Shapiro, and Doug Chertok.