This week KAIGO, a personalized meal delivery service, announced it had raised $3 million in seed funding (hat/tip FoodBusinessNews). Micromanagement Ventures and Mike Lee, the founder of MyFitnessPal, both participated.
Founded in 2014, KAIGO delivers personalized, health-optimized meals from local restaurants directly to individuals. First users complete a short online assessment to indicate their health priorities (better sleep, more energy during the day, weight loss, etc). A KAIGO medical partner calls you within 24 hours to get more insight into your goals and help the company construct a personalized health plan, which they form with a partner dietician. The company also works with over 1,000 medical providers to check out your medical records, to see your bloodwork and medical history (I’m assuming with your permission first).
After KAIGO draws up your nutrition plan they work with local chefs and restaurant partners to have them cook up meals for you, which are then delivered to your door (by KAIGO or by the restaurant, it isn’t clear). You also get periodic check-ins by the KAIGO team to make sure that your goals are being met.
So far, KAIGO only operates in New York and San Francisco. They’ll use their seed funding to expand into new cities, including Washington, DC and Los Angeles.
Honestly, this sounds like a very expensive — and inefficient — process. There’s a lot of hands-on work and the bit about working with local restaurants to cook and delivery the food has got to be costly. It’s especially hard to justify since there are plenty of other services out there offering personalized meal plans and recipes (Nutrient, Suggestic) or personalized prepared food/meal kit delivery (Daily Harvest, Snap Kitchen, Innit). You can also (duh) just cut out the middleman and order food from restaurants directly.
Then again, KAIGO could be a boutique offering. It certainly has boutique pricing: the service comes with a one-time $299 fee to cover personal assessments, plus a monthly fee of $249 to have the meals planned, prepared, and delivered. Plus the costs of the meals themselves. In short, it’s not for those on a budget.
The startup is also targeting individuals struggling with chronic illnesses, who might be willing to pay more to try something new if other specialized diets haven’t given them relief in the past.
Skepticism aside, KAIGO is certainly tapping into two bigs trends we’ve been seeing a lot of at The Spoon: personalization and food-as-medicine. Those are both topics we’ll be exploring in depth at Customize, our food personalization summit in New York on February 27th! Use code SPOON15 to snag 15% off tickets.