Meez, a company that creates professional recipe software and a cooking operating system, has raised its first-ever funding round of $6.5 million to continue developing its tools to help chefs manage their recipes.
CEO Josh Sharkey, a chef for most of his career, founded the New York-based tech company in 2015. However, what led to the search for a place to keep his recipes and processes came 15 years earlier when he lost a notebook where he kept recipes and how Prepare dishes. Colleagues were using everything from standard Google or Word documents to spreadsheets, but Sharkey wanted a more digital approach.
“The idea of how to digitize everything just stuck in my mind,” he told TechCrunch. “There are tools for things like inventory management or financial software, but there hasn’t been anything designed for the things we do in the kitchen or related to what we actually do.”
He and his team built Meez to be a collaboration tool, recipe keeper, progression tool, training, and prep tool all rolled into one—Sharkey referred to it as “Google Drive for Chefs.”
The technology has two components, the first is how users put their recipes into the system and then how to make them scalable and usable by both the user and their colleagues in the kitchen. It also includes resources that chefs benefit from every day, such as ingredient yields and unit conversion, a menu cost calculator, automated allergen labeling, and nutrition analysis.
Launched in 2020, Meez is already a major client of restaurants, such as Jose Andres and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as well as culinary schools, including the Institute of Culinary Education.
Struck Capital led the funding round, joined by Craft Ventures, Relish Works, Aurify Brands, Food Tech Angels and Branded Strategic Ventures. The angel investors who support the company include former Snap chief product, Bobby Lo, and founders of Shef and Bento Box founder and CEO Krystle Mobayeni.
Started in December 2020 with 20 paying customers, Meez has grown to more than 750 today among a variety of restaurants, from fine dining to fast-paced and culinary schools, an area Sharkey plans to dig into next year. Also during that time, the company’s revenue has grown steadily by 22% month over month, which is attributable to the company’s unique approach and digital adoption making its way into the kitchen.
“The adoption curve has hit the childhood stages of the food world,” Sharkey added. “Cooking professionals are starting to realize how to do more with less, and they can’t count on their work all the time. Things that worked before the pandemic don’t work now. This is a useful tool and a necessity because you can’t just rely on a recipe anymore, there are other things you have to do to be able from running your own content, and there was nowhere to do that before.”
Sharkey intends to deploy new capital into iOS app development and technology development, including menu planning, self-automation and launch and testing of direct-to-consumer recipe sharing.
In addition, the company plans to attract new restaurants this year and increase the staff. Meez now has 17 employees, and Sharkey expects to add 10 more this year.
“Culinary experts are some of the most creative and innovative people on the planet. Due to the physical nature of their work, very little attention has been paid to how digital technology can be leveraged to improve workflows and collaboration systems,” Struck Capital CEO Adam Struck said in a written statement. their own.” “Josh is a unique founder in that he is a professional chef, operator in the restaurant industry, and technologist. He was able to synthesize the pain points of nearly all kitchens into an intuitive and beautifully designed platform that addresses the major pain points of one of the largest and oldest industries in the world.”