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Learning about the business process of a startup: The Heycater case

Berlin catering startup Heycater has concluded a new round of financing. According to the managing directors Therese Köhler and Henrik Piroth, a “mid-seven-digit” amount had flowed in conversation with Gründerszene and NGIN Food. They do not call a precise sum.

New looks

Internally, the bosses call the round “Series Phoenix”. The startup has massively increased its share capital and once again completely renewed its circle of shareholders. “The company should look like a newcomer,” says Piroth. Heycater wanted to bring more experienced entrepreneurs on board after their own touch and no longer distribute the power to individual investors, as it was the case before.

Problems in heaven

Atlantic Food Labs, Döhler Ventures and Kraut Capital, which have been involved in the startup since 2016, have drastically reduced their stake. Former employees as well as the former managers Radtke and Neubauer have sold their company shares. Köhler and Piroth have topped up, they currently own about 35 percent of various companies. In addition, Hevella Capital, the venture capital firm of Creditshelf investor Rolf Elgeti, and Trivago founders Rolf Schrömgens and Malte Siewert have invested in Heycater. Even though the company valuation has changed considerably, the round of financing has not been a “down round”, according to the managers.

Profitable for nine months

Heycater has a turbulent time behind him. “We ate shit,” the boss today told Gründerszene and NGIN Food. In 2017 Heycater had to dismiss half of the team. Very economical, they would have continued the company, Köhler. In the year before, co-founder Sophie Radtke and product manager Miriam Neubauer also surprisingly left the company. Founder Therese Köhler continued her business for three months alone. The three were disagreeing about the future of the startup, said Köhler a year ago to founder scene and NGIN Food.

The trio would have brought the wrong employees for management positions in the company and the company grew too fast, said Köhler at that time.

Heycater, thoughts put on growth

Heycater now wants to invest in growth, but does not call specific plans. Since the wave of layoffs in 2017, the startup has not had to lay off any more employees, but has hired new ones, according to Piroth. According to the website, the portal provides food for more than 150 catering companies in seven major German cities. The platform is also aiming for regions outside Germany in the future.

From April 2018 Heycater had been profitable for nine months. In 2018, the company was able to triple its sales year-on-year according to its own statements. But the managing directors do not want to reveal exact figures. Only that much is known: In 2016, the startup implemented a million euros and wanted to double the sum in the following year.

A competitor has withdrawn

A competitor in the German market is Lemoncat. Doreen Huber’s three-year-old startup recently raised funds in 2017, including Rocket Internet and Point Nine Capital. Sales are not known.

Rocket Internet is currently building the B2B Food Group to bring its catering startups under the company. This includes the German-British platform Caterwings, which has so far fallen short of expectations. That the German market is difficult, had to admit also the French competitor Gocater. After the platform was taken over in the summer by the US company Ezcater, Gocater revised according to website currently its Germany business.


Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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