California’s AB 626 hasn’t even been a law for a full week and already we’re seeing startups step up to be the among the first to monetize the potential home cook economy. Case in point: Appetivo today announced the launch of its online platform for home based cooking businesses (and it’s the second one in a week).
Los Angeles-based Appetivo is an online marketplace that allows home cooks to sell their food to anyone. The app uses geolocation so someone looking for Italian food could see which home cooks are nearby offering that type of cuisine. At least initially, food will only be available for pick up, not delivery.
Appetivo will have a vetting process that involves site inspection and services to help home cooks get the proper permitting they’ll need to comply with AB 626 requirements. I say “will” because Appetivo hasn’t started onboarding people in the U.S. yet. As the law rolls out across the state, Appetivo will work with various municipalities to provide kitchens with an onboarding framework. Home chefs interested can learn more about timing and the process at Appetivo’s site.
The company has been operating in Mexico City for the past six months, where a less regulation-heavy environment has helped them build out and test their platform with a dozen kitchens. “What we’ve learned in Mexico, is that it’s one thing to build a platform. It’s a whole other thing to drive the business,” said Steve Voci, Chief Business Officer of Appetivo. “Anyone can build an elegant app, but how do you get kitchens to sign up? How do you get people to get permitted?”
So far, Appetivo is self and angel funded. In the U.S., it will first roll out in LA and other parts of Southern California. The company will make money by charging a 10 to 15 percent commission on orders to the consumer, so the home cook won’t have to pay.
Appetivo will be facing competition from DishDivvy, which launched last week in LA, and was actively involved in lobbying for the bill’s passage into law. In speaking with both companies, it seems like DishDivvy has a more rigorous on-boarding process for its home cooks, and has already started delivery discussions with DoorDash.
Rest assured that there will be many more startups like Appetivo and DishDivvy to follow. Home based cooking is an entirely new market and companies will be vying to become the “Uber for home cooks.” If other states adopt similar measures, these California-based companies will have more experience and an edge to scale out nationally.