Chef Nightly Shuts Down, Citing Crowded Food-Delivery App Market

Boston-based Chef Nightly has closed down after struggling to stand out in the jam-packed food-delivery app industry.

CEO and co-founder Michael Sheeley announced the closure in a blog post Wednesday.

Sheeley explained: “In any marketplace, you either tap into a unique supply (in our case it was existing restaurant food) and do it years before a market really heats up, or you need to raise large amounts of capital, ignore unit economics, and hope for the best. The food-delivery space became a hot space in the very early phases of Chef Nightly, and raising lots of money and hoping for the best just doesn’t add up for us.”

The Chef Nightly app used artificial-intelligence techniques to suggest personalized meals made at local restaurants (selected by the Chef Nightly team) and delivered to customers’ doorsteps. The company launched the service last year in Boston and New York.

Chef Nightly, which employed seven people as of September, raised $1.5 million in seed money from Accomplice, Fullstack Ventures, Kayak and Lola Travel co-founder Paul English, DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins, and Bridge Boys. The startup was initially housed in the office of Blade, the former venture-creation outfit co-founded by English, whose team later stopped investing in companies in order to focus on building Lola.

Sheeley previously co-founded Runkeeper, a fitness-tracking app company recently acquired by Asics for $85 million.

The demise of Chef Nightly followed the closure on Tuesday of California-based SpoonRocket. That company hired its own chefs to cook food in bulk each day, and it sold the meals for less than $10 each and aimed to deliver them within 10 minutes, TechCrunch reported.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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