China shared-kitchen startup wins Tiger Global backing

February 25, 2019 15:18
Chinese shared-kitchens provider Panda Selected aims to expand its facilities after raising fresh capital, offering commercial real estate, operation management, supply chain and brand promotion to catering enterprises. Photo: Panda Selected

Panda Selected, a Beijing-headquartered shared-kitchen startup, has announced the completion of its Series C funding round, raising US$50 million from a group of international backers.

The round was led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from existing investors such as DCM Ventures and GenBridge Capital.

Founded in 2016, Panda Selected seeks to ride the concept of shared kitchens, under which restaurants that focus exclusively on takeout orders can utilize a common kitchen run by an outside party.

As food industry entrepreneurs struggle to afford the traditional restaurant model, Panda Selected provides kitchen facilities, operation management, supply chain and brand promotion for catering enterprises, enabling kitchens to cater exclusively for customers ordering in, and share facilities with others which greatly eliminates overhead costs.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Li Haipeng, CEO and founder of Panda Selected, said his firm charges clients monthly fees, as well as additional fees for services including data analytics.

The startup has now established about 120 shared kitchens covering China’s major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen, with over 800 domestic catering brands such as Haidilao, Kungfu, Luckin Coffee, among others. With each of its kitchens at about 400 to 500 square meters, they are capable of having 15 to 20 restaurants operating in a space.

According to Chinese tech news site 36kr, Panda Selected charges clients a one-off entry fee, and monthly fees, as well as additional fees for services including those related to data. According to a previous report in 2017, the company revealed that the entry fee was about 20,000 yuan (US$2,977), and that each brand on average paid about 10,000 yuan (US$1,488) for the monthly rent for the facilities, which the company claims to be 50 percent lower than the market average.

36kr also reported that for outstanding restaurants in its facilities, average order volume can reach 7,800 on a daily basis.

In a press statement, Panda Selected said the new funds will pave way for doubling the number of locations over the next eight months, and strengthen Panda’s merchant services.

“With this round of financing, we expect to further extend our leadership position by rapidly expanding to serve more cities and core business districts, more locations with more offerings, and continuing to improve services and help our merchants operate better and faster,” Li said in the statement.

Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the latest round values Panda Selected at US$300 million, and that it brings the startup’s total capital to US$80 million.

With the growing popularity of shared kitchens, or cloud kitchen, in China, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has reportedly partnered with the former COO of the bike-sharing startup Ofo, Yanqi Zhang, to get Kalanick’s Los Angeles-based CloudKitchens entering the China domestic market.

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