London-based food start-up City Pantry announced it has closed a £4million Series A funding round, led by Octopus Investments with participation from existing investors and Newable Private Investing.
The funds will be used to continue the company’s triple-digit growth in London whilst also beginning expansion to new markets, targeting cities across the UK over the next 18 months.
The company, which was founded by Stuart Sunderland in 2013, is transforming the way employees eat by bringing food from exciting local caterers and restaurants direct to offices, covering events, meetings, and team meals.
It already serves over 20,000 meals every week to the employees of more than 500 companies, including Google, Amazon, PayPal, Slack, Spotify and Unilever. Customers use the City Pantry platform to choose from 300 of London’s most popular restaurants and caterers.
CloudOrigin was engaged by Octopus Investments to perform Technology and Operational Due Diligence – essentially looking at the “Who, What and How” of the IT capability at City Pantry – their people, process and technology at the heart of their online platform for B2B food delivery which serves over 20,000 meals a week to the employees of more than 500 companies at the time of review.
Interview with Richard Hall at CloudOrigin
What were some of the key challenges that you were faced with and how did you overcome them?
As ever, our challenge is to rapidly assess the maturity of the organisation, benchmark their progress against other comparable firms – both in B2B e-commerce and the broader technology sector globally – and translate our technical opinion and recommendations into pragmatic language and insights which best fits the investor’s deal process.
These will include both quantitative measures of software productivity and service delivery, and more qualitative comments on team structure and business processes, including key sales and digital marketing strategies.
For any Venture Capital or Private Equity investor, we must also consider not just the current viability of systems and operations, but how these will scale with the Management growth plan. We must then anticipate challenges and options, typically over a three to five-year period of expansion.
Thankfully, our team has many decades of Due Diligence experience and CloudOrigin has worked on hundreds of growth investments (with potential Enterprise Value totalling $20Billion USD) across the TMT sector in Europe, North and South America and Asia Pacific. We have built unique technology classification and benchmarking models to underpin our assessments, and can point to our concrete experience of the growing pains and strategies used by many of the most successful firms – from cutting edge start-ups with pioneering software or hardware technology such as FreeAgent, Senseye or Sky Futures to ‘unicorns’ such as Skyscanner or Ebury.
Moreover, how would you tackle the situation when the team you are working alongside are not as cooperative or well organised?
We find that building rapport with the target firm is normally straightforward, as our team has direct experience of running high growth technology firms and winning VC investment from prior roles. We have walked in their shoes. While we might have different expectations on our arrival, we know that no firm is perfect, and no matter how successful, they all are balancing future expansion, new market directions and current business demands. We also know technology choices evolve rapidly, and complex SaaS or e-commerce systems are far more organic than many people might think – they need constant pruning and attention as they increase in functionality and customers place new demands upon them.
Where a firm is less prepared for due diligence or the founding management team is inherently less experienced, we do not expect reams of documentation in advance and are always happy to whiteboard ideas, discuss growth plans and challenges and compare different perspectives from across the business – say marketing, finance and R&D – to reach a balanced report and actionable recommendations. Having performed hundreds of such assignments we have a very effective process to get to the heart of the matter with the least intrusion to the business.