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Marc Lore-led food startup raises $700M; plans 90 stores by 2025

Wonder (Source: Marc Lore, LinkedIn)
Wonder is raising capital for growth (Source: Marc Lore, LinkedIn).

Wonder, the food startup founded by the former head of e-commerce at Walmart, has significant new funds and ambitious expansion plans.

In a post on his LinkedIn profile, Wonder founder Marc Lore said the company has raised $700 million in capital to “further its mission and expansion.” The funding includes participation from all major existing Wonder shareholders, led by NEA, GV, Accel, Bain Capital Ventures, Forerunner, Alpine and Harmony, as well as further investment from Watar Partners. Lore is also personally investing $100 million in this round.

Lore said the capital will support  expansion, research and development, and driving unit economics. The multi-pronged effort includes accelerating the expansion of Wonder’s physical retail locations, with plans to grow from its current base of 11 locations to 35 by the end of 2024 and 90 by the end of 2025, focusing on communities throughout the Northeast.

In January 2023, Wonder abandoned its previous mobile food truck focus and pivoted to an operating strategy reminiscent of the ghost kitchen model, initially operating 10 kitchens around New Jersey and New York that offer delivery and in-location dining and pickup.

Wonder also plans to “aggressively invest” in research and development, according to Lore, focusing on areas including faster cook times, software enhancements, new menu items, new chefs and new restaurant partnerships.

Lore said the company will also continue to invest in proprietary technology to drive operational efficiencies, including back-end technology focused on driving down food waste; next-gen kitchen designs to improve throughput and consistency, and an enhanced delivery network. 

New investors to this raise include Dragoneer, Jefferies, Red & Blue Ventures, CAZ Investments, Kuvare Insurance and Fubon Ventures. Strategic investors in this fundraise include existing investor Amex Ventures, as well as Nestle’s previously announced strategic investment. 

According to Lore, Wonder has met targets in the past 12 months including serving all 30 of its partner restaurants from a single location with an under-30-minute average order-to-eat time, achieving and maintaining a 60+ Net Promoter Score in customer satisfaction, and delivering unit-level profitability.

Wonder builds on recent expansion activity

Wonder opened its 11th location, which is both its first in Pennsylvania and first inside a Walmart store or a big box retailer, at Walmart’s store in Quakertown, Penn., in February 2024. All locations are across New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, including an outpost on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Two additional locations are set to open in May within Walmart stores in Teterboro and Ledgewood, New Jersey

Marc Lore, who is credited with transforming Walmart’s e-commerce operations and served as president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce from 2016 to January 2021, founded Wonder Group and committed himself full time to the business in December 2021. 

Wonder also offers Wonder+, a paid membership program costing $7.99 per month. Wonder+ benefits include no delivery fees on all Wonder orders, Fast Pass expedited delivery and pickup and exclusive access to promotions, experiences and perks.

Wonder – a brief history

Initially, Wonder operated a fleet of trucks that delivered made-to-order meals ordered online through the Wonder app directly to the customer’s home. 

Each truck was equipped with a mobile kitchen, with a chef completing the meal once the vehicle arrived at the customer’s home, and was dedicated to a particular menu, including those from top restaurants headed by celebrity chefs.

In November 2013, Wonder acquired meal kit provider Blue Apron for $103 million as a step on the way to the development of what Wonder says will be a “meal time super app.”

"As someone who is typically focused on the future, it’s hard not to look back at this strategic transformation and all that Wonder has accomplished within the past year with pride," Lore said in the LinkedIn post. "We are clearly on our way to building the super app for mealtime and fulfilling our mission of making great food more accessible."

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