Home cooking US startup Blue Apron gets funding sizzle

SAN FRANCISCO - A US startup that delivers do-it-yourself home cooking kits complete with pre-measured ingredients announced on Tuesday it will turn up the heat with USD$135 million (S$181 million) in fresh funding.

Blue Apron's latest investment round, led by Fidelity Management and Research Company, gives the New York-based firm a valuation of USD$2 billion, the company confirmed in US media reports.

Blue Apron said it will use the freshly raised funds to build its network of farms, suppliers, and distribution facilities in the United States.

"Our mission is to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone," Blue Apron co-founder and chief executive Matt Salzberg said in a release.

"This financing will allow us to further improve the efficiency of our model, from sourcing to fulfillment, in order to bring our customers a level of quality that has never been available at scale before." Blue Apron operates a subscription-based service that lets people order three or more meals weekly at a cost of about USD$10 per person.

It boasts of close relationships with farmers who can anticipate what crops will be needed for the company's pre-planned meals.

Blue Apron, launched in 2012, said that its volume has tripled in the past six months and that it delivers more than three million meals monthly to US homes.

"Each week we send hundreds of thousands of customers all the pre-measured and perfectly proportioned ingredients they need to prepare delicious and healthy meals at home," Blue Apron said in the release.