April 18, 2016
The sharing economy is my most favorite recent trend. I call it a “trend” but I really hope that it continues to grow and branch out in new and innovative ways. I love how technology can be leveraged to bring people together and facilitate in-person interactions that can lead to friendships and the building of communities.
Homemade is a startup that is bringing people together over something that almost everyone enjoys – home-cooked food. Their goal is to connect home cooks with people who want to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Not only does it give you the opportunity to buy delicious homemade food (or cook for others to enjoy), but it is also part of their mission to get people to form meaningful connections around food.
While Homemade originally launched in NYC (and is now also available in Philadelphia, Toronto, Chicago and DC) another startup called CookNook was doing a very similar thing in DC. The two companies recently joined forces in a strategic merger to rapidly expand across the east coast. Homemade acquired CookNook as well as all of the cooks and customers they had in their network.
“When Faheem [Noor Ali] and I founded the company in 2014, we were committed to empowering home cooks to provide their delicious meals toward a local, and captive, customer base,” said Neil Shah, CookNook CEO and Co-Founder. “We are pleased that Homemade can apply their successful New York experience, and particularly their great mobile app, to what we have built and take peer to peer food sharing to a new level in DC”.
Now you may think this is a good idea in theory, but have some concerns about the safety of the food you’re ordering from people who are making it in their private kitchens. Obviously, they’re probably not trained in the standards that commercial kitchens must keep. However, Homemade stresses that food safety is a top priority for them. When someone signs up to be a cook on their platform, they are sent on-boarding documents with health and safety standards, as well as best practices with running a food enterprise. They are also continuously working on food safety and outreach education. Of course they likely can’t prevent everything, but sometimes you just need to have faith that the person cooking for you is not out to poison you.
As someone who lives in DC and loves home-cooked food, but rarely has the chance to cook for myself, this merger and expansion into the DC market is very exciting for me. Homemade also made news recently when they raised a $2.1 million seed round.
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