ckbk pulls a ‘Spotify for recipes’ out of the beta oven – gpgmail


Cooking may be under sustained attack by a wave of on-demand food delivery startups, with names that can double as gluttonous calls to action (oh hey Just Eat!), but that hasn’t stopped London-based startup ckbk from pushing in the opposite direction — with a digital service that offers on-demand access to high quality recipes licensed from major publishers of best selling cookbooks.

Indeed, the ckbk platform serves up not just individual recipes but entire cookbooks for browsing in app form.

The ckbk platform, which launches out of beta today — after a Kickstarter campaign last year that raised just over $55k — is being touted by its creators as ‘Spotify for recipes’. Think ‘playlists’ of professionally programmed dishes to whip up in the kitchen.

At launch it offers access to a catalog of more than 350 cookbooks (80,000+ recipes) — a culinary library that’s slated to keep growing.

For $8.99/£8.99 per month the premium ckbk user gets to tuck in to unlimited access to this “curated collection of cookbooks” — with content selected using “recommendations from hundreds of chefs and food experts including Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi”.

A freemium layer offers access gratis to three recipes per month.

Subscribers are essentially paying for someone else with (most likely) superior knowledge of cooking to sort the wheat from the chaff so you don’t have to do the legwork of figuring out what freebie Internet recipes are worth investing your time (and after it, teeth) in.

Not just any old recipes, editorially curated recipes is the ckbk promise.

Content partners at launch include “dozens” of major publishers — including Chronicle Books, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Rodale, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing and Penguin Random House’s Rodale and Struik imprints.

Culinary content available via the platform is billed as spanning both contemporary authors like Molly Yeh and David Tanis, to award winning authorities and Michelin starred chefs, while also dipping into old  culinary classics, such as On Food & Cooking and the Oxford Companion to Food, and offering works penned by legendary French chef and restauranteur Escoffier.

Publishers participating in ckbk’s platform are being promised a new digital revenue stream (it’s not clear what the revenue share is) — sweetened with data in the form of “new insights into patterns of cookbook recipe usage” they can use to feed into future editorial output. So of course all ckbk users are having their foodie browsing extensively data-mined.

To push its ‘premium recipes’ proposition ckbk is trailing a bunch of forthcoming promotional partnerships with kitchenware brands, food-related ecommerce brands, food events, culinary schools and publishing channels — which it says will be launching in the next few months.

It also says recipes on the platform have been optimized for integration with connected kitchen appliances.

European company BSH (whose appliance brands include Bosch, Gaggenau, NEFF and Siemens) is named as the first strategic partner for ckbk. It will be offering premium membership of the service to UK buyers of its NEFF N90 connected oven.

A subset of ‘smart’ cookbook recipes on ckbk will automatically set the correct time and oven temperature via the N90’s Home Connect system — for anyone who can’t be bothered to twiddle the dials themselves.

ckbk adds that selected recipes will be further “optimized” to make the most of features and cooking modes of the smart oven. A tidbit which might make a seasoned chef raise an eyebrow and question whether that’s heading towards recipes for robots.

The licensing project has certainly been a slow burn. The company behind ckbk, 1000 Cookbooks, has been working on getting the concept to market since 2014, per Crunchbase.

It says it’s currently raising a $2M seed funding round — having previously raised a total of $750,000 in pre-seed funding via investors, the Techstars/BSH Future Home accelerator program, and its Kickstarter campaign.


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Novameat has a platform for 3D printing steaks and has new money to take it to market – gpgmail


Novameat, a Spanish startup looking to accelerate the development of alternative proteins across the meat aisle, has gotten a boost in the form of new investment capital from the leading foodtech investment firm, New Crop Capital.

Founded by biomedical engineering expert Giuseppe Scionti, Novameat builds on Scionti’s decade of research as an assistant professor in bioengineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the University College of London, Chalmers University and Polytechnic University of Milan.

The company first came to fame with the production of the world’s first 3D printed plant-based beefsteak in 2018 and will use the new funds from New Crop Capital to further develop its platform for accelerating the development of meats like steak, chicken breasts and other fibrous textured meat replacements.

The company has developed a new scaffolding technology that mimics the texture, appearance, nutritional and sensorial properties of fibrous meats like beefsteaks, chicken breasts, and fish filets.

Scionti sees the technology as the next step in the development of plant-based and lab-cultured alternatives to traditional proteins. While many clean meat and plant-based food companies have managed to take ground meat replacements to market with similar taste and textural qualities to the real thing, steaks and cuts of muscle meat have proven harder to replicate.

Novameat potentially solves that problem.

“While I was researching on regenerating animal tissues through bioprinting technologies for biomedical and veterinary applications, I discovered a way to bio-hack the structure of the native 3D matrix of a variety of plant-based proteins to achieve a meaty texture,” said Scionti, in a statement.

The core of Novameat’s technology is a customized printer that enables companies to create the kinds of fibrous tissues needed to make a steak. “We are providing the equipment, the machinery, under a licensing agreement to these companies,” says Scionti. “Plant-based meat manufacturers have access to something that creates the texture and taste of a steak.”

Traditional extrusion technologies are not capable of using the ingredients from Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods and print a steak, but Novameat’s founder argues that his technology can.

The technology was promising enough to attract the attention of New Crop Capital, arguably one of the most seasoned investors in the expanding market of meat replacement. The venture firm’s portfolio includes Memphis Meat, Beyond Meat, Kite Hill, Geltor, Good Dot, Aleph Farms, Supermeat, Mosa Meat, New Wave and Zero Egg.

“We think the global food supply chain is broken and we are focused on fixing one of those challenges which is animal protein,” says New Crop Capital’s Dan Altschuler Malek. “We see that there is an opportunity to shift consumer behavior to reduce their consumption of animal protein products to products that are at the price point that people will pay.”

Novameat can help reduce costs, Malek thinks, because it speeds up the time to create meat substitutes.

Normally four weeks before you have enough material around the cells.. it’s important for the

Scionti says that the company’s micro-extrusion technology enables companies to get a three dimensional structure without having to go through an incubation period that can take a significant amount of time and increase costs.

“Novameat’s bioprinting-based technology provides a flexible and tunable method of producing plant-based meat, with the utility to create different textures from a wide variety of ingredients, all within a single piece of meat,” he said. “Low and high-moisture extruders are the primary method currently used to restructure plant proteins to create the texture of meat. While extrusion works well for some applications, this method may not be ideal for mimicking all types of animal meat. Alternative technologies like Novameat’s give plant-based meat manufacturers a wider array of tools to mimic all types of meat and seafood,” said Good Food Institute Director of Science and Technology David Welch, in a statement.


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There’s an ocean of opportunity for startups targeting the seafood industry – gpgmail


Seafood has blown past its iceberg lettuce stage and entered trendy greens territory, with eaters loading up on oceanic superfoods and falling in love with previously unknown species as fast as daters swipe right. Even inland-dwelling locavores can easily satisfy their seafood cravings. What once was waste is now a premium snack, or maybe a wallet. We get that farmed fish is good—in every sense of that word. Mystery fish are a thing of the past. Sustainability is a minimum standard, not a luxury.

Just two years ago, that’s what I thought the seafood world would look like in 2027. Back then, as I studied trends in consumer desires, seafood sustainability initiatives, technology and investment, I foresaw seven transformative changes happening within a decade.

At the time it seemed like I was surfing the edge of plausibility. But based on what I’ve learned from the 200 or so seafood innovators entering the Fish 2.0 network over this past year, it’s all happening—in many cases much faster than I expected. And it’s happening all over the world.

So what does the future of seafood look like today?

Our palates are getting schooled

I predicted more diverse seafood diets, and while lionfish is not (yet) the new kale, don’t be surprised to see it sitting atop a Caesar salad in a few years.

People are looking beyond the shrimp-salmon-tuna triumvirate and learning to love the less familiar. Barramundi and cobia are going mainstream in some markets. Sustainable seafood purveyors are turning species that used to get thrown away into high-end treats, and celebrity chefs are buying invasive species (like that lionfish) and overlooked delicacies (like scampi caviar). At the same time, it’s getting easier to grow healthful, great-tasting salmon and other popular species in land-based farms, thanks to better feeds, disease prevention and production systems.

It looks like we really will stop loving our favorite wild fish to death and become more adventurous seafood eaters.

Fish and boat, Saint Louis, Senegal, West Africa, Africa (Photo: Godong / robertharding/Getty Images)

We’re buying direct

Local seafood still isn’t easy to come by for many of us, but options for buying direct from fishers—near or far—are proliferating. The number of community-supported fisheries (seafood’s take on the farm-to-table model) on Local Catch has quadrupled since 2017, and some fishers are looking to copy Seattle’s Pike’s Place fish market model. Even more are selling direct to restaurants and fishmongers in their home markets and overseas.

Fishers are finding that quality and diversity earn a premium. By selling boat- or farm-fresh seafood direct to chefs and market owners, they can earn three to six times the price distributors pay. And mobile apps are making it fast and easy for those who provide top-notch seafood to connect with those who want it. This trend is likely to grow as food packaging and preservation technologies continue to improve, making shipping cheaper. Big picture: sustainable seafood is reaching a broader market than ever, at prices that reflect its value.

Mystery fish are so yesterday

So many startups are working on traceability and transparency challenges that there’s little doubt we’ll soon know who caught a fish, where they caught it, how cold they kept it and more. Mystery fish is well on its way to no longer being a thing, at least in regions where regulations are enforced.

The rise of seatech is speeding efforts to clear up seafood’s notoriously murky supply chain. Sensors, robotics, networked cameras and other technologies that operate in and out of the water are helping fishers and farmers collect and analyze real-time data, so they can catch and grow seafood in the best possible way. Labor practices are getting a dose of daylight too.

The questions today are not about whether we can collect essential data, but about who owns the data, how public it should be and which datasets are most important. This is a huge leap forward.

Courtesy of Mikael Damkier/Shutterstock

Fish feed solutions accelerate

Right now, most farmed fish eat food made from wild forage fish. That’s not sustainable, which is why two years ago we were thrilled by the mere existence of alternative fish feed ingredients. Now more sophisticated thinking about the problem is fueling surprisingly fast progress.

Today it’s all about optimizing and scaling production. Many companies are turning black soldier flies into fish feed, and now they’re working on genetics that make flies richer in omega 3s and function better as feeds. Others have turned algae, grains and even industrial methane emissions into nutritious fish feed ingredients, and they’re figuring out the best mix of ingredients to grow each species.

This confluence of creative thinking means the fish feed problem is likely to get solved sooner than we thought possible, and make an even bigger impact on the aquaculture industry.

Farmed fish are big—and that’s a good thing

Speaking of aquaculture, I said farmed fish would fill out more of our seafood plate, and they are. Aquaculture is growing at a clip of 5.8 percent a year and accounts for more than half the fish we eat.

Not all farmed fish are raised right, but they can be. Solutions to aquaculture’s sustainability challenges are heading to market. In addition to the fish feed problem, innovators are working on escape-proof ocean farms, resource-efficient land farms, natural remedies for healthier fish, capturing and upcycling fish farm waste, and more productive hatcheries. This is all good—we need sustainable fish farming to take the pressure off wild fisheries and meet global demand for clean protein.

Photo courtesy of GettyImages/Johanna Parkin

There’s a war on waste

Turning waste into value was a niche in 2017. Now it’s one part of a broader campaign to crack down on waste at every point in the seafood supply chain. Does throwing out heads, tails and bones really make sense? Increasingly, the answer is no. New processing and preservation technologies allow higher yield from each fish, and people are taking a fresh look at “trash.”

Fish jerky from California whitefish offcuts is making a splash, as are bone broths made from seafood. In Australia, new products like scampi caviar, honey bugs and GT shrimp (named by Aussies after the car)—all recently discarded as bycatch—are yielding higher profits than the traditional deep-water scampi catch. The challenge now shifts from reducing waste in these supply chains to making sure the full fisheries remain sustainable.

Sustainability is the table stake

Over 90 percent of large-scale, U.S.-based seafood buyers have committed to selling only sustainable products. They’re trying to pluck the junk from their supply chains—and they have plenty of work yet to do—so there’s no way they’re buying something new that’s not sustainable. And the seafood itself is just the start of the conversation. Buyers want to know what a supplier is doing about labor, packaging and resource use, and new products must beat the status quo to gain space on shelves and screens. Introducing an unsustainable seafood product to today’s marketplace would be like introducing a petroleum-powered Hummer to the current car market. We can’t claim victory on sustainability yet, but the tide truly has turned.

Change goes deeper and faster

What most surprises me about all this progress is not just how fast it’s happening, but how people are redefining the problems. Instead of simply creating different fish feeds, innovators are asking how we can cut the amount of feed needed to grow each fish, make feeds more nutritious and breed fish that are light eaters or thrive on vegetarian diets. Instead of wondering whether aquaculture can advance, they’re working on clearing bottlenecks around hatcheries, disease and genetics. Packaging waste was barely on the seafood world’s radar two years ago; now it’s a prime target.

This has a lot to do with the sheer number of talented entrepreneurs and investors entering the seafood sector. The more ideas and technologies we put in play, the more hits we’re going to have. It also has to do with connections. I’m struck by how eager people are to work together regionally and across oceans and borders, once they get out of their caves and meet each other. The entrepreneurs participating in Fish 2.0 are as interested in partnerships with other businesses as they are in investment. As these personal networks pull together pieces of innovation bubbling up around the world and more investors jump into the pool, the pace of change in seafood has moved from a simmer to a rolling boil.


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Bellwether Coffee, ‘the fastest-growing company in coffee,’ raises $40M Series B – gpgmail


There’s an arms race in retail to produce better coffee, and one startup, Bellwether Coffee, thinks it has the solution for retailers to sell the very best beans.

The business, headquartered in Berkeley, is today announcing a $40 million Series B financing led by DBL Partners and SolarCity co-founders Peter and Lyndon Rive. The round brings its total funding to $56 million, including a $10 million Series A last summer.

The hardware and software business manufactures tech-enabled zero-emission commercial coffee roasters designed to sit in cafes, grocery stores, on college campuses and any other place people buy coffee. Purchase of a roaster, which are sold for $75,000 or leased for $1,000 per month, comes with access to an online marketplace for coffee beans. The goal is to give coffee shops the power to roast their own beans, forgoing the middle men that have historically sold wholesale pre-roasted beans at a premium to cafes around the world.

“We want to create this connected coffee experience from the farm in Ethiopia all the way to the roaster at the cafe and the customer,” Bellwether chief executive officer Nathan Gilliland tells gpgmail.

With roughly 140 customers, Bellwether plans to expand manufacturing capabilities and grow its customer-facing team with the infusion of venture capital funding. After growing revenues 6x in 2019, the startup is also unlocking its global ambitions, with launches in Southeast Asia and Europe scheduled for next year.

Gilliland credits the company’s growth to a larger movement at play: The “premiumization of coffee,” in which consumers are in search of higher quality cups of joe.

“You saw it happen with wine, you saw it in craft beer,” he said. “You were drinking Bud Light and now you’re drinking craft beer. You see it in higher-end grocery stores pushing out these products; it’s the premiumization of the category.”

“Thirty years ago, everyone drank Folgers, then Starbucks changed how everyone thought about coffee in the 80s, then Blue Bottle took it to the next step and that’s the backdrop,” he added.

Bellwether was founded in 2013 by Ricardo Lopez. The company is also backed by FusionX, Congruent Ventures, Coffee Bell, Tandem Capital, Spindrift Equities, XN Ventures, Balius Partners and Hardware Club.


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Kentucky Fried Chicken goes beyond chicken in partnership with Beyond Meat – gpgmail


Kentucky Fried Chicken is going beyond chicken with its latest partnership.

As other chicken chains vie for chicken sandwich dominance, KFC is doing its bit for the planet and taking its first fledgling steps to move beyond the chicken coop with a plant-based chicken nugget in partnership with Beyond Meat.

The first nuggets are going on sale at a single restaurant on August 27th in Smyrna, Ga.

KFC has already experimented with vegetarian offerings outside of the U.S. In the U.K. the company has an “Impostor Burger” on the menu that’s made from mushrooms and was developed with the English vcompany, Quorn.

Beyond Fried Chicken’s one-day-only offer from KFC is significantly different from the month-long citywide rollout that Burger King did for the Impossible Whopper (its Impossible Foods menu item) earlier this year. But it comes as most fast food chains are trying to come to grips with rising consumer demand for vegetarian alternatives to traditional menu items.

Beyond Meat’s foray into fast casual chicken comes after several big wins for the company with Dunkin Donuts, Del Taco, Tim Hortons, Carl’s Jr. and TGIFridays.

“KFC is an iconic part of American culture and a brand that I, like so many consumers, grew up with. To be able to bring Beyond Fried Chicken, in all of its KFC-inspired deliciousness to market, speaks to our collective ability to meet the consumer where they are and accompany them on their journey. My only regret is not being able to see the legendary Colonel himself enjoy this important moment,” said Ethan Brown, founder and CEO, Beyond Meat, in a statement.

Chicken is one of the next battlegrounds for the alternative protein purveyors, although they’re not just looking at plant-based chicken substitutes. Companies like Memphis Meats (and, reportedly, Just) are working on lab-cultured meat cultivated from animal cells.

News of KFC and Beyond Meat’s challenge to conventional chicken chains sent Beyond Meat’s stock price up more nearly 6%, or $8.28 per share, to close at $155.13.


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Join The New Stack for Pancake & Podcast with Q&A at TC Sessions: Enterprise – gpgmail


Popular enterprise news and research site The New Stack is coming to gpgmail Sessions: Enterprise on September 5 for a special Pancake & Podcast session with live Q&A, featuring, you guessed it, delicious pancakes and awesome panelists!

Here’s the “short stack” of what’s going to happen:

  • Pancake buffet opens at 7:45 am on Thursday, September 5 at TC Sessions: Enterprise
  • At 8:15 am the panel discussion/podcast kicks off; the topic, “The People and Technology You Need to Build a Modern Enterprise
  • After the discussion, the moderators will host a live audience Q&A session with the panelists
  • Once the Q&A is done, attendees will get the chance to win some amazing raffle prizes

You can only take part in this fun pancake-breakfast podcast if you register for a ticket to  TC Sessions: Enterprise. Use the code TNS30 to get 30% off the conference registration price!

Here’s the longer version of what’s going to happen:

At 8:15 a.m., The New Stack founder and publisher Alex Williams takes the stage as the moderator and host of the panel discussion. Our topic: “The People and Technology You Need to Build a Modern Enterprise.” We’ll start with intros of our panelists and then dive into the topic with Sid Sijbrandij, founder and CEO at GitLab, and Frederic Lardinois, enterprise reporter and editor at gpgmail, as our initial panelists. More panelists to come!

Then it’s time for questions. Questions we could see getting asked (hint, hint): Who’s on your team? What makes a great technical team for the enterprise startup? What are the observations a journalist has about how the enterprise is changing? What about when the time comes for AI? Who will I need on my team?

And just before 9 a.m., we’ll pick a ticket out of the hat and announce our raffle winner. It’s the perfect way to start the day.

On a side note, the pancake breakfast discussion will be published as a podcast on The New Stack Analysts

But there’s only one way to get a prize and network with fellow attendees, and that’s by registering for TC Sessions: Enterprise and joining us for a short stack with The New Stack. Tickets are now $349, but you can save 30% with code TNS30.


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With $40 million in funding and a $200 million valuation, will the only museums be Museums of Ice Cream? – gpgmail


Call the rollers of big rounds,
The well-capitalized ones, and have them back
makers of rooms themed like concupiscent curds.

Let the influencers gather in the styles
they love to wear, and let other startups
throw away their term sheets like last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only museum is the Museum of Ice Cream.

Take from the dresser of deal
a term sheet for $40 million,
to give a $200 million valuation to Figure8
“an experience-first development company”
created to commercialize backdrop boudoirs.

Museums displayed art once
But now that achievement is
a backdrop for a human face.
All aesthetics ignored, they come
To show how bold they are, and stunned.

Let investors like
Elizabeth Street Ventures, Maywic Select Investment, and OCV Partners beam.
The only museum will be the Museum of Ice Cream.


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Aluminum packaging is coming for your water as Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand takes the plunge – gpgmail


Coca Cola’s Dasani brand is the latest company pitching bottled water to go the aluminum can route.

It’s part of a broader rejiggering of the water brand’s plans to use mostly recycled material for their water bottles by 2030.

The company is debuting a hybrid bottle that’s made from half renewable and recycled PET plastic in addition to new PET plastic. Consumers can expect those bottles to hit store shelves by mid-2020, according to the company.

Coca-Cola is also going to be rolling out more Dasani PureFill water dispensers (fancy water fountains) for its corporate installations as an expansion of its Coca-Cola Freestyle mix and match soda dispensing products, the company said.

Finally, and most interestingly (at least to this reporter), Coke is going to introduce aluminum cans across the northeastern U.S. in the fall. A national expansion and a rollout of new aluminum bottles is planned for 2020, according to the company.

“Designing our packages to reduce the amount of raw materials used and incorporating recycled and renewable content in our bottles to help drive a circular economy for our packaging is an important part of our commitment to doing business the right way,” said Sneha Shah, Group Director, Packaging Innovation, Coca-Cola North America. “We are working diligently to continually reduce our overall environmental footprint through smarter package design, procurement of recycled and renewable materials while continuing to deliver exceptional consumer experiences.”

Coke’s moves follow similar announcements from the competition.

Earlier this year, Pepsi’s Aquafina brand announced the introduction of aluminum cans for its own water distribution business.

All of these companies are responding to concerns about the profusion of plastics in the environment and increasing consumer concerns about what this proliferation of plastic waste may mean for human life and health.

Researchers recently discovered plastic microfibers in rainwater in the Rocky Mountains, and plastics are also showing up in the food supply (primarily in fish). It’s unclear what impact these plastics may have on people, but perhaps the best recourse is not to have to find out?

There’s another reason that both Coke and Pepsi are beginning to roll out aluminum packaging for their water. Competition.

The brains behind Vitacoco recently launched a new water brand called Ever and Ever, which the company claims is taking significant market share from Dasani and Aquafina in the places where it’s being sold.

And aluminum is better for the environment.  “Because the majority of aluminum is made from recycling… emissions on a recycled aluminum product are much lower than a PET,” says Michael Kirban, the chief executive of VitaCoco. 

The company launched its own foray into the aluminum-packaged water category after working with Lonely Whale, a non-profit that focuses on ocean environmental issues.

“We’re in mostly tetrapack and mostly in cans and in certain instances in plastic bottles,” said Kirban. “We brought them in last year to talk about how we could offset our own impact. The idea came about with them as they were launching a campaign against plastic water bottles.”

Then there’s Liquid Death, the company whose over $1 million financing from the venture investment studio Science launched a thousand sneers on Twitter before eventually being embraced.

If anything, the moves by Coke and Pepsi (along with Liquid Death, Ever and Ever and other brands) shows that corporations are finally taking at least some small steps to try to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging and logistics decisions.

It’s worth noting that there are other ways to ensure that potable water is available universally without having to pay for additional packaging — paying money to upgrade water infrastructure so everyone in the U.S. has access to clean, delicious drinking water. Tap water could be good enough, if cities and states were willing to adhere to already established laws around water quality.


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Domino’s launches e-bike delivery to compete with UberEats, DoorDash – gpgmail


Domino’s will start using custom electric bikes for pizza delivery through a partnership with Rad Power Bikes, as it aims to become more competitive with on-demand apps like DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats.

Hundreds of e-bikes will be deployed across corporate-owned stores later this year in Baltimore, Houston, Miami and Salt Lake City, the company said Tuesday.

The e-bike announcement comes as Domino’s, which specializes in pizza, faces increasing competition from on-demand delivery apps like UberEats that offer customers far more choice. Domino’s could never offer enough menu options to compete with DoorDash or UberEats, but it can compete on service and delivery times.

The e-bikes are part of that plan. The company has also partnered with companies like Ford to test pizza delivery using autonomous vehicles. Earlier this summer, it launched a new pilot for self-driving pizza delivery in Houston in partnership with Nuro. Domino’s will use Nuro’s R2 vehicle, its second-generation autonomous electric test car, which will go into service later this year.

The e-bikes supplied by Rad Power Bikes are equipped with small integrated motors to assist with pedaling, and can run for 25 to 40 miles, depending on the user, before needing a recharge, according to the company. The bikes are equipped with lights in the front and back, reflective materials for driver safety and have a top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour.

Importantly, the e-bikes have been customized to hold pizza, drinks and sides. One e-bike can hold up to 12 large pizzas.

The company tested the e-bikes and discovered that service and delivery times improved, Tom Curtis, Domino’s executive vice president of corporate operations, said in the announcement. The e-bikes also opened up the labor pool for the company, allowing it to tap into candidates who might not have a car or driver’s license.

Some franchisee owners were already using e-bikes and found they are essential in hilly urban areas.

“While delivery on a traditional bike solved many of our traffic and parking issues, the hills in Seattle were tough on even our best cyclists,” Greg Keller, Seattle Domino’s franchisee said in a press release announcing the e-bike program. “E-bikes were a game-changer for us, and we’ve been delivering with them for three years now. We have been able to save money, provide better service, increase hiring and maintain a happy workforce.”


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Deliveroo is exiting the German market – gpgmail


UK on-demand food delivery startup Deliveroo is pulling the plug on its service in Germany.

The startup expanded into the market more than four years ago. But in an email sent to users it writes that — “regrettably” — it will be exiting Germany on August 16.

“This was not an easy decision and one we have not taken lightly,” it adds, saying its focus will be on “growing our operations in other markets around the world”.

The company had already dialled back service in the market, shuttering services in a number of smaller German cities a year ago. At the time it said it would focus on Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Frankfurt.

A spokesperson for Deliveroo confirmed it’s complete exit from Germany, emailing gpgmail the following statement:

We want to thank all of the riders and restaurants who worked with Deliveroo in Germany, as well our wonderful customers. It has been an honour to serve so many people amazing food from Germany’s many great restaurants and to work with so many brilliant, hard-working riders. We are grateful to our extremely talented employees for their commitment to bringing fantastic foods to people’s homes, and they will be supported in this period. Deliveroo will continue to grow and invest in markets across the world, seeking to become the world’s definitive food company.

The spokesperson added that Deliveroo intends to refocus resources and investment to accelerate growth and expansion in other markets across Europe and APAC — without specifying exactly where it plans to focus.

Support for riders and affected employees will include unknown levels of compensation and goodwill packages, according to information provided by Deliveroo. Update: The company has now provided more detail of the compensation, saying riders who have been active in the past 12 weeks will receive the following goodwill payments:

  • A goodwill payment of 10 days’ pay, based on their average weekly earnings over the past 12 weeks

  • Another goodwill payment of 2 weeks’ pay, based on their average weekly earnings over the past 12 weeks

Any outstanding fees will also be paid to riders.

Employees who are being terminated will receive their statutory notice plus a further payment — either of two weeks’ pay for those who have been at the company for up to a year, or one month’s pay for each year of employment for those who have been at the company for more than a year.

Deliveroo has also said it does not rule out returning to Germany in future, albeit it expressed a similar sentiment when it downsized its service footprint in the market last year.

At the time of its launch into Germany, back in April 2015, we wrote that Deliveroo would face “stiff competition”, noting for example that Berlin was already host to a range of local food delivery startups.

Competition in the on-demand food delivery space in Europe has raged fiercely for years — with very little to distinguish one delivery app from another, aside from price. Switching service is always just an app tap away.  But with consolidation now starting to eat into the market the temperature is rising.

At the end of last year another Deliveroo rival, Delivery Hero, ceded its entire business in Germany to Netherlands-based Takeaway.com — selling the unit for €930M.

While, late last month, UK-based Just Eat and Takeaway.com announced they were in advanced talks to combine their businesses. Their boards reached agreement on terms last week — with the deal set to be put to their respective shareholders before the end of the year.

Most likely that mega-merger is concentrating minds at Deliveroo. Competing for customers with a platform giant valued at $10BN+ certainly does not sound like a cake walk.

gpgmail’s Steve O’Hear contributed to this report 


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