Sesame, the new food delivery marketplace with a mission to keep restaurants in business, announced today that it closed a pre-seed funding round of $3.4M. The round was co-led by Eldridge Industries, Tuesday Capital, and Relish Works — a venture arm of Gordon Food Service, the largest privately-held food distributor in North America.
The capital was raised to launch a beta product in New York City and will support the company’s expansion throughout the New York metro area and further develop its proprietary technology, built in part by Frog Design, an internationally recognized digital design agency.
Founder and CEO Josh Morgan, a veteran of Hillstone Restaurant Group and The NoMad, and currently a partner at Aurify Brands, said: “We’re thrilled to have the support of investors like Gordon Food Service who are aligned with Sesame’s mission of empowering independent restaurants to regain control of their off-premise business and put dollars back into their pockets. The current delivery ecosystem is broken and we are excited to bring a more sustainable solution to as many restaurant owners as possible.”
Sesame combats the monopolization of restaurants’ off-premise business by third-party delivery apps, like DoorDash, Grubhub and UberEats, via a transparent, flat-fee cost structure, charging restaurants only $125 per month with no commission fees. This means restaurants have a much higher profit contribution on Sesame orders relative to other delivery apps. Sesame allows restaurants to regain control of their off-premise business by promising data transparency and giving restaurants easy access to customer information. Ron Parker, CEO of Related Hospitality Group and Sesame investor and advisor, said: “In short, the Sesame platform puts economics back in the pockets of restaurant owners and the platform has a strong community investment connection. I’m thrilled someone has finally cracked the code to ‘break the chain’ of the draconian fee models being used by GrubHub, DoorDash & UberEats.”
For consumers, Sesame charges a flat, $3.00 service fee for each order, as opposed to variable percentage-based fees charged by most delivery apps, which ultimately saves them more money. Additionally, Sesame’s Impact Points program rewards users with loyalty points to donate to their favorite charities, and the platform’s ongoing giveback program with City Harvest — New York’s first and largest food rescue organization — means that for every order placed, Sesame will make a donation to help a New Yorker in need.
Sesame’s current restaurant partners include Ivan Ramen, Nice Day, Melt Shop, Melt’s Wing Shop, Melt’s Chicken Shop, Sticky’s Finger Joint, Junzi Kitchen, Black Tap, Blue Park Kitchen, The Little Beet, Fields Good Chicken, Inday, Westville, Glaze, Two Boots, Kati Roll Company, Mulberry & Vine, MáLà Project, Baked Cravings, Schnipper’s, Honeybrains, Num Pang, Handsome Rice, Sushi Tokyo, Juice Press, Pad Thai Mee, Bareburger, and many others. With more than 200 businesses on the waiting list, new restaurants are going live on Sesame every week.