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Delivery-only Maple shuts down operations

NYC-based startup joins UK-based Deliveroo

High-profile meal delivery startup Maple shut down operations Monday in New York City, the company said in a letter to customers.

Some Maple employees will be joining London-based Deliveroo, a similar company with operations in 12 countries, said Maple co-founders Caleb Merkl and Akshay Navle in their letter.

“We set out two years ago with a big idea about a new approach to food delivery and the lofty ambition of turning an industry on its head,” Merkl and Navle said.

Maple differentiated itself from typical restaurants by offering delivery only by employees.

Startup investors in a $22 million Series A funding round were led in March 2015 by Greenoaks Capital and included Thrive Capital, Primary Ventures, Bonobos CEO and founder Andy Dunn and David Chang of Momofuku. Thrive and Chang participated in $4 million in seed funding.

Chang in March of last year created his own delivery food service called Ando, which drew a $7 million investment in November.

Reports at the website Recode in December, relying on leaked investor presentations, said Maple appeared on average to have lost money on every meal in 2015, resulting in an operating loss of $9 million for the year on $2.7 million in gross revenue.

“By March of 2016, Maple began squeaking out a tiny profit of 30 cents per meal — or a gross margin of 2 percent — driven in part by reduced food costs,” the Recode report noted. 

Maple offered a limited and changing selection of lunch and dinner menu items sold exclusively via its app. Prices ranged from $11 to $17.

In the letter to Maple customers Monday, the co-founders said, “We built a brand that struck a chord with our customers and developed hundreds of menu items, allowing us to serve millions of meals to supportive and loyal customers.”

Merkl and Navle said Maple developed software that collected, bundled and routed orders ”to drive efficiency at every step of our process — from ingredient sourcing, all the way through delivery completion (resulting in over a million miles logged by our delivery team members).”

The phone message at Maple’s headquarters in New York referred callers to the website letter. The mailbox was full and could not accept messages. 

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Finance
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