Premium Groceries Without Premium Markups
Move is a new digital supermarket offering premium groceries without premium markups.
The company identifies "premium" groceries from around the world, and then ships them to customers under its own brand. By removing the middlemen and getting rid of price markups, Move offers savings of 10% to 15% compared to traditional grocery stores.
In two years, the company has built a nationwide supply chain of some of the world’s top food producers, received funding from top investors, and shipped more than 7,000 orders through a beta version of its marketplace.
Now the company is ready to launch its service nationwide. Move has already received an offer to be acquired. But its team has its sights set on taking the company public instead.
There certainly seems to be a need for a service like this:
Today, 85% of what consumers spend at the supermarket is the result of price markups and fees for importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. For a family spending $120 each week on groceries, that’s $108 going to these middlemen, and just $12 going to the food producers.
Shopping in supermarkets has become frustrating, with crowded aisles and long checkout lines.
Finally, roughly 1/3 of the U.S. population lives in a “food desert” — areas where there are no supermarkets within five miles, or where premium foods are nearly impossible to find.
Move aims to solve these problems with what it calls the “Supermarket of the future.”
Move’s marketplace offers 250 household staple food items from top artisans around the world. The company focuses on premium items, and leverages relationships with its suppliers to make this happen.
For example, Move searches for the best jam company, coffee roaster, and cereal supplier in the country, and then buys those products for its marketplace. Simply put, Move finds the best version of a product, and helps take that product nationwide.
Jason Wang, Founder of Caviar, a startup that sold to Square for $90 million, noted: “This is the food chefs eat and it is miles ahead of anything you’d find on the average supermarket.”
Here’s how Move’s process works:
Customers visit Move’s website and place their order. Behind the scenes, Move’s suppliers send their products to one of four distribution centers located around the country. These centers ensure that Move can send perishable food to any customer in a timely manner. Suppliers send the exact amount of food being ordered for the week, helping Move eliminate food waste and lower its costs.
Once the food arrives at the distribution center, each individual item is placed into the customer’s order. After all products have arrived, the order is shipped out and sent to the customer within two days.
Move charges customers a $100 annual membership fee to shop on its marketplace. In addition, the company earns a profit on each order. On a $135 order, for example, Move earns a net profit of $54. Based on sales through the beta version of its marketplace, the average order value is $135, and the average customer spends $1,000 per year. In other words, each customer’s lifetime value is 7x Move’s cost to acquire them.
With respect to this funding round, the $25 million valuation is certainly steep. That being said, it’s important to note that the company has made significant progress since its last funding round...
In 2017, it raised funds at a $15 million valuation from highly prominent investors and "smart money." And at the time, the company still hadn’t launched its beta marketplace or built its distribution networks.
Investors in that round included:
• FJ Labs, a venture firm that's invested in startups including Uber, AdoreMe, and FanDuel.
• FundersClub, a venture firm whose portfolio includes Coinbase, Instacart, and Slack.
• Kima Ventures, an early-stage VC firm whose portfolio includes Lyft.
In addition, Move is a graduate of Y Combinator, an "accelerator" program whose alumni include Reddit, Airbnb, and Dropbox.
All that's to say that Move believes — and professional investors seem to agree — that its business could one day be worth far more than $15 million or $25 million.
That’s why, despite having already received an offer to be acquired, the company isn’t planning to sell right now. Instead, it's "shooting for the moon" and aiming to eventually go public.
Going forward, the company plans to open a nationwide chain of brick-and-mortar stores, and add membership perks including a shopping concierge service and cooking classes.
In addition, Move aims to expand its marketplace to include toiletries, pharmaceutical products, and alcohol.
Thaddeus has extensive experience in the food industry, including successful food-related startups.
He was the Former Director of Quality for Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN), a meal-kit delivery service, and spent three years as a sous chef at various restaurants across the U.S.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert co-founded Playlist.com, an Internet radio service that grew to more than 50 million users.
In addition, he served as Vice President of Finance for NorthStar Systems International, a software development company, and Chief Financial Officer for several music companies including Tribeworks and Audio Explosion.
For six years, Robert was a senior consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also spent two years as a strategic Chief Financial Officer for Burkland Associates, a company advising startups on how to grow their business.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Chai has been with Move since its inception.
He earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
A VC firm investing in early-stage Internet companies whose portfolio includes Juno, Unomy, and Keen Systems.
A VC firm investing in consumer-facing startups whose portfolio includes Uber, AdoreMe, and FanDuel.
A VC firm whose portfolio includes Routehappy, Crew, and Chango.
Seed-stage fund, investor in Lyft
A VC firm investing in early-stage companies.
Seed-stage accelerator whose alumni include Scribd, Reddit, Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe