New York-based organic meal delivery startup Sakara Life, which has celebrities and Victoria Secret supermodels among its clientele, has now tapped into a new market: Middle America, catapulting the company to sell over a million meals across 48 states.
“We thought that most of our clients would be in New York City and Los Angeles, but what we have found is that we have a tremendous amount of our clients in the middle of the country and the South because it’s hard to get this type of food in those parts of the country,” Whitney Tingle, co-founder of Sakara Life, told FOX Business.
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Tingle and her childhood best friend, Danielle DuBoise, started selling their superfood-filled meals door-to-door on their bikes in New York City nearly six years ago, with only $700 of funding. Lily Aldridge, a veteran Victoria Secret model, was one of their first clients.
Aldridge told Fox Business she uses the meals to help her prepare for the catwalk, calling it her go-to-food program. Other models and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow soon followed suit.
While there was fresh buzz surrounding them, things didn’t really start changing for the company until 2015 when they met angel investors, Jeff Boyd and Bob Mylod, former CEO and CFO of Priceline, who helped them raise $4.8 million in venture capital.
“It was one of the keys in building our business,” Tingle adds. “I mean they built Priceline into a $100 billion business, and they believe in our mission. They are clients and they eat our food. So, it’s a combination of both.”
Today, the company operates two hubs in New York City and Los Angeles and employs 90 people.
The brand, which creates ready-to-eat, plant-based meals that ships directly to your doorstep, differentiated itself from early competitors such as meal-kits companies like Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh by focusing on the idea that food is a medicine.
“Our customers understand that importance in both food as medicine and preventive medicine, so they know that we’re looking out for their health first and foremost.” Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of Sakara Life said, adding that their meals are also known to help with losing a few extra pounds and clearing acne.
But those results do come at cost. Sakara Life charges of upwards of $69 a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Additionally, DuBoise said they strategically built their business, where they won’t have to depend on future capital or investments again.
“Typically, people in our space, other meal delivery companies have either IPOed or have raised a crazy amount of capital from venture firms that is usually to fund massive operating losses, we’re really trying to do it differently and really look at funding our own growth so we can hold on to future,” she said.
The company said its goal for the year ahead is focusing on lowering its price points to make its healthy products more accessible to everyone.