Sydney startup ChefPrep acquires Melbourne rival and turns into CoLab

Sydney food markets ChefPrep has acquired and rebranded the Melbourne likeness, Co-Lab Pantry CoLab.

The ChefPrep side was founded in May last year by Elle Curran and Josh Abulafia, after a $1.25 million angel round. In April, they raked in $3 million in a seed round led by Artesian Ventures and Global Founders Capital, with Yellow Brick Road chairman Mark Bouris also among ChefPrep’s backers.

Some of those funds went toward the acquisition of Co-Lab Pantry, although the costs of the merger had not been disclosed.

Co-CEO Elle Curran said the company now has a customer base of nearly 30,000 people and they’ve thought long and hard about the decision to rebrand to CoLab.

“ChefPrep and Co-Lab Pantry were both born out of a shared frustration over mass-prepared ready meals, so it’s only natural that we’ve come together to continue our mission of bringing incredible food to as many people as possible. ,” she said.

“We needed a name that would resonate with both our Sydney and Melbourne customers, and that could scale both interstate and internationally. Separately, ChefPrep and Co-Lab Pantry names were too restrictive as they spoke to specific product offerings (by chef-prepared ready meals and artisan pantry products), while our combined brand would offer both product lines – plus more!

“In the end, we came up with the name CoLab, because it reflected the collaboration of our two companies uniting as one, as well as the collaboration between our restaurants and the community of unofficial foodies.”

CoLab in an online store for pantry staples, restaurant-prepared meals, drinks and products, for home delivery.

It features over 1,500 products from 150 restaurants, cafes, growers and makers – from Melbourne’s Chotto Motto to Sydney’s LoDe Pies & Pastries.

Famous chefs such as Anna Polyviou of MasterChef and Jawin Rratchawong of The Great Australian Bake Off), have also signed up to CoLab, with Polyviou’s Cookie Dough and Kneady Boi “Unfortunate Cookies” launching on the site this week.

The merger also means that Sydney customers will be able to have ready-to-eat meals and pantry products delivered from Melbourne restaurants the next day, and vice versa. In the coming weeks, customers will have access to same-day delivery from interstate restaurants.

CoLab is also expanding its delivery locations to ship chef-prepared ready meals to Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and regional NSW and Victoria.

With a clear roadmap for national ambitions, co-CEO Josh Abulafia said they now plan to launch internationally within the next 12 months.

“We simply want to make it easy for people to do their weekly grocery shopping from home – no lines, no aisles, no stress – and just as easy for restaurateurs and food and beverage manufacturers to create and scale their e-commerce offerings. “, he said. .

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