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Asian food delivery startup Chowbus raises $4M

When one food delivery startup fails, another gets funded.
Chowbus, an Asianfood ordering platform headquartered in Chicago, has brought in a $4 million seed funding led byGreycroft PartnersandFJ Labs, with participation fromHyde Park AngelsandFika Ventures. The startup, aware of the challenges that plague startups in this space, says offering exclusive access to restaurants and eliminating service fees sets it apart from big-name competitors like Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates.
The Chowbus platform focuses on meals rather than restaurants. While scrolling through the mobile app, auser is connected to various independent restaurants depending on what particular dish theyre seeking.Chowbussays only a small portion of the restaurants on its platform, 15 percent, are also available on Grubhub and Uber Eats.
Theapp is currently available in Chicago,Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Champaign, Ill. and Lansing, Mich. With the new investment, which brings Chowbus total raised to just over $5 million, the startup will launch in up to 20 additional markets. Eventually, Chowbus says it will expand into other cuisines, too, beginning with Mexican and Italian.
Chowbuswas founded in 2016 by chief executive officer Linxin Wen and chief technology officer Suyu Zhang.
When I first came to the U.S. five years ago, I found most restaurants I really liked [werent] on Grubhub nor other major delivery platforms and the delivery fees were quite high, Wen told TechCrunch. So I thought, maybe I can build a platform to support these restaurants,
TechCrunch chatted with Wen and Zhang on Tuesday, the day after Munchery announced it was shutting down its prepared meal delivery business. Naturally, I asked the founders what made them think Chowbus can survive in an already crowded market, dominated by the likes of Uber.
The central kitchen model doesnt work; the cost is too high, Zhang said, referring to Muncherys business model, which prepared food for its meal service in-house rather than sourcing through local restaurants.
We dont own the kitchen or the chef, we just take advantage of the resources and help restaurants make more money, Wen added. The food delivery space is really huge and growing so quick.

After an abrupt shutdown, Muncherys small business vendors are the ones picking up the bill
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