Locale, a curated food delivery start-up, has raised $14 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Founded in 2020 and a graduate of Y Combinator, San Francisco-based Locale allows users to order from several restaurants and food businesses through its vetted platform, bundling different food in a single order.
While Andreessen Horowitz has led the round, Y Combinator has joined the investment with Decent Capital and Wave Capital participating as well as former eBay chief executive Devin Wenig, Ancestry chief executive Deborah Liu, and the CEO of Poshmark Manish Chandra investing in the start-up.
Jonathan Friedland, who co-founded the start-up with high school friend Chris Clark, said Locale was founded after visiting a local bakery where huge lines of people were forming. The bakery, he said, hadn’t opted to use apps like Doordash or Uber Eats because that instant on-demand ordering model didn’t work for the likes of a bakery.
“For a bakery they need to make bread and croissants three days ahead of time to start rising the dough and everything,” Friedland said. “They could over-produce and then be left with a bunch of waste or they could under produce and sell on delivery apps that would take a 15% cut and then there would be with very little to sell in store to customers.”
Locale describes itself as a curated food ordering experience with a “strict vetting process” for what eateries and restaurants are let on the platform.
It focuses on independent and smaller businesses and eschews the instant ordering associated with food delivery apps, instead allowing users to order a bundle of food days in advance.
It is operating in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and most recently San Diego. According to the start-up it has delivered more than 50,000 orders for 130 small businesses.
Rather than charge a commission on deliveries, Locale charges a flat $5 fee on a delivery, which covers delivery regardless of location, so a user in Los Angeles can order a bundle of food from an eatery in San Diego to be delivered days later.
This expands a restaurant’s ability to serve customers well beyond its immediate vicinity.
“The only downside is that consumers have to wait for their food a little bit longer, and so that’s something that we’ve been working on training consumers to pick up.”
Deliveries are carried out for Locale by independent contractors, he added, with personal vehicles and refrigerated trucks.
The typical profile of customer on Locale is young families ordering meals and people looking to explore food options in their area. “It’s really people who love discovering new food.”
In choosing San Diego as its next market, Friedland said that it looks for cities with a big food culture and a large suburban sprawl.
“That’s where we really do well, especially in for example LA, an area with a lot of sprawl, and it’s really hard to get around. If you wanted to try food from East LA and you live in West LA, it’s like a two-hour drive,” he said.
“We won’t do as well in for example an area like Manhattan where people can easily walk to their nearest really good food spot.”
With its fresh funds in tow, Friedland said that he expects Locale to launch in two more cities this year as well as grow its team which currently has 15 people.