San Francisco-based startup Cheetah announced the closure of a $36 million Series B funding round Tuesday. The round was led by Eclipse Ventures with additional participation from ICONIQ Capital, Hanaco Ventures, and Floodgate Fund.
The e-commerce platform plans on using the latest round of financing to expand its new contactless grocery pick-up service to residents of the Bay Area. The service will run alongside Cheetah’s existing wholesale delivery program to local restaurants.
“In late March when the coronavirus hit, our restaurant customers were hit incredibly hard. It was then we decided to pivot and open up our platform to additional customers, including consumers,” Na’ama Moran, co-founder and CEO of Cheetah, said in an interview with Built In.
Nearly a week before the order was issued, Moran called her co-founders and began planting the seeds for its new contactless grocery pick-up program.
“I already kind of had the foresight that the coronavirus would have a huge impact on our business and at the same time would also open up the opportunity to service the community. We already had a ton of supplies in our inventory,” Moran said. “Because we own our entire supply chain, we were able to pivot within days and essentially I think within three or four days we already had our first customer pick-ups ... we created a whole new model.”
Cheetah’s new service, offered via its free app, allows for products to go directly from wholesale distributors into the hands of the consumer.
“If food goes through a grocery store, it goes from the grower, to the distributor, to the grocery store and someone has to put it in place, then you have to go and pick it up or you have a shopper picking it up for you. So we’ve dramatically reduced the touch points and made this experience a lot safer and significantly faster and more affordable than going to a store,” Moran said.
Cheetah currently operates several pick-up locations in Santa Clara, Pleasanton, Lafayette, Redwood City and Oakland. The company is looking to expand to a total of 10 pick-up locations by the end of the week.
“We’re even looking into the opportunity of sending our trucks further out, if communities can book up a whole truck worth of goods, then we can even send our trucks to Napa or Santa Cruz,” Moran said.
For Moran, the opportunity to help small business owners and local families is also a personal win.
“I grew up in a village in Israel and my father was a farmer and later on he ran a bakery. And so I know kind of firsthand growing up in this household what it feels like to grow up with a parent who was a small business owner and their daily struggles to make ends meet kind of on their own dime,” Moran said.
According to Moran, the positive feedback from the local community has been overwhelming.
“Now, we can provide even more people with the food and supplies they need in a safe and cost-effective way, throughout this crisis and beyond. Our purpose has always been to help independent restaurants thrive. Now we are helping communities thrive,” Moran said in a statement.
Cheetah was founded in 2015 and has raised a total of $67.7 million in venture capital to date, according to Crunchbase.