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FreshDirect Raises $189 Million To Expand Reach

Today, grocery delivery service FreshDirect announced it had closed a $189 million round led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management on behalf of its PEG Digital Growth Fund II L.P. Also investing in the round was second-time investor W Capital and AARP’s Innovation Fund.

ob-dq508_freshd_g_20090511101706The round is the largest to date for the 17 year-old company, which previously raised roughly $90 million over three previous rounds. The capital will go towards expansion into new markets, new facilities and new consumer programs, according to the company.

Earlier in 2016, FreshDirect expanded its offerings with the launch of FoodKick, an on-demand, same-day, delivery business. In total the company exceeds $600 million in annual revenue.

Unlike other delivery services, such as Instacart or Peapod, FreshDirect does not offer delivery from specific retailers, but rather ships from its own distribution centers. The company currently operates in five states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. A large part of the capital will go towards geographic expansion.

While more and more consumers are turning to delivery services for groceries, there’s also increasing competition from meal kit services such as Blue Apron and Plated, which eliminate the need to grocery shop entirely.

The news comes just days after Bloomberg reported on the deal terms of natural products retailer Whole Foods Market’s investment in Instacart. Earlier this year the investment had leaked but deal terms were not known.

The deal, said sources, were based on Instacart’s 2014 valuation of $2 billion and amounted to roughly $36 million in total equity. Prior to the investment, Instacart had raised more than $270 million, wrote Bloomberg.

This year Whole Foods also built a white label ordering platform with Instacart which allows shoppers to place orders through the retailer’s website and then have them fulfilled by the delivery service.

2016 has also seen Walmart acquire online retailer Jet.com (which also includes groceries among its offerings) and Amazon expand their own private label business and its AmazonFresh grocery service.

For the full press release, please see below:

September 26, 2016 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time: NEW YORK- FreshDirect, the Northeast’s preeminent online food retailer, today announced it has closed a $189 million investment round led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management on behalf of its PEG Digital Growth Fund II L.P., returning investor W Capital and other investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, including the AARP Innovation Fund.

“We are thrilled to partner with a group of world-class investors led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management at this pivotal time for FreshDirect. The funding will fuel expansion into new markets, increase capacity with new manufacturing and distribution facilities, and launch new businesses that meet today’s consumers’ needs as their preferences and buying habits evolve,” said Jason Ackerman, FreshDirect’s Co-Founder and CEO.

In addition, FreshDirect announced that Larry Unrein, Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Private Equity Group, and Ashmi Mehrotra, Managing Director, joined the company’s board of directors.

“As demand for fresh ingredients delivered to your door continues to rise, high quality food, produce and packaged goods providers are drawing significant attention from the investment community,” said Mr. Unrein. “FreshDirect is one of the first to connect its customers with farmers and artisans at the click of a button. The company is also expanding its reach through the new mobile, on-demand offering FoodKick. By meeting the demands of the modern shopper on these two fronts, FreshDirect remains a forward thinking leader in this growing market segment.”

Profitable since 2010, the company exceeds $600 million in annual revenue primarily through its leading online market shares in the New York and Philadelphia metro areas. FreshDirect’s focus on sourcing and curating the freshest food combined with the fastest farm-to-table delivery has resulted in customer retention levels well above industry averages and profitability in all geographic regions it serves. According to e-commerce research firm Slice Intelligence, FreshDirect leads all measured online grocery merchants nationwide in monthly sales per customer.

“FreshDirect is an established innovator, has a solid roadmap for growth and a large addressable market. We were passionate about FreshDirect a year ago and believe the company is well positioned to continue to lead the online food retail sector. We’re grateful for the opportunity to increase our share,” said Katie Stitch of W Capital Partners.

“The AARP Innovation Fund is focused on supporting companies that are developing new services and products focused on the interests and needs of people age 50-plus and their families,” said AARP EVP and COO Scott Frisch. “FreshDirect’s ability not only to provide customers with fresh, healthy food, but to deliver it directly to their home makes the company an ideal fit with AARP’s investment strategy.”

Earlier this year, FreshDirect expanded its portfolio with the launch of FoodKick, an on-demand, mobile-first delivery business that caters to the spontaneous needs of urban dwellers with a curated selection of localized food, alcohol and everyday essentials. Having exceeded expectations in the launch markets of Brooklyn and Queens, FoodKick will soon expand service to Manhattan.

About FreshDirect: FreshDirect is a food tech company and the Northeast’s leading online fresh food grocer, delivering directly to customers throughout five states, including the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. FreshDirect is committed to sourcing the freshest and best-tasting meat, fish, produce and specialty items through direct relationships with suppliers, growers and farmers. In 2016, FreshDirect expanded its portfolio with the launch of FoodKick, an on-demand business that caters to the needs of urban-dwellers with a curated selection of food, alcohol and essentials – all delivered within an hour. Launched in 2002, FreshDirect is a privately held company headquartered in Long Island City, NY. For more information, visit www.freshdirect.com or www.foodkick.com.

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