Shef co-founders Alvin Salehi and Joey Grassia with 'shefs'.
Shef, a homemade food marketplace that enables cooks to sell meals in their local communities, has raised $8.8 million in seed funding.
Participants in the round included Y Combinator, Craft Ventures and M13, as well as founders and executives from Instacart, TaskRabbit, StubHub, AngelList, Lyft, Airbnb and Yelp.
Shef was founded in 2018 by former White House Technology Advisor Alvin Salehi and former Facebook employee and food start-up entrepreneur, Joey Grassia.
The company says that Shef combines the convenience and variety of takeaway with the quality, nutrition and freshness of home cooking.
Shef’s service, which is currently available in various regions across the US, has ‘skyrocketed’ in popularity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 4,000 applicants have reportedly now joined the waiting list to cook and sell food.
According to Shef, 60% of restaurants impacted by Covid-19 are not expected to reopen, and the company says that it is expanding its service to help create opportunities for those who will be left unemployed as a result.
“Our priority right now is to ease hardship, both for those in need of food and for those in need of opportunity,” said co-founder Salehi, whose parents are refugees and used to own a restaurant in California.
“Our mission has always been to help immigrants and refugees make a meaningful income. We’ve now expanded that mission to include feeding frontline healthcare workers and putting laid-off restaurant cooks back to work.”
Jeff Fluhr, founder and former CEO of StubHub, now general partner at Craft Ventures, added: “Shef has uncovered a compelling opportunity to help people build their own businesses through home cooking.
“Shef’s mission has become even more urgent because of the economic impact of Covid-19 and we are excited to support them as they expand to new markets: chefs across the nation will soon be able to prepare healthy and nutritious food for their communities.”
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