Data Snapshot is a regular AFN feature in which we analyze agrifoodtech market investment data provided by our parent company, AgFunder.
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The top VC deals for ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant companies have brought in roughly $1.1 billion over the last 12 months, according to preliminary data from AgFunder.
That figure, however, is largely due to a single mega-raise from nearly one year ago. Like many other areas of agrifoodtech investment right now, most of the deals were smaller and at early stages, reflecting the current downturn and cautious investor sentiment.
Ghost kitchens are one part of the AgFunder-defined Cloud Retail Infrastructure category, which also includes on-demand enabling tech and last-mile delivery robots and services.
Just a few years ago, ghost kitchens — also called cloud kitchens or dark kitchens — were mostly defined as large commissary kitchens for restaurants needing more space in which to fulfill online orders. Today, the sector is an increasingly overlapping jumble of that as well as ghost kitchens in the actual restaurant, mobile kitchens, virtual food halls and digital restaurants. All of those sub-categories are included here.
Top deals for ghost kitchens in 2022
In 2021, deals in the Cloud Retail Infrastructure category increased 61% over 2020, and investments in the sector grew more than 97% to $4.8bn.
A handful of mega deals propped up the category, including CloudKitchens’ $850 million raise and Kitopi’s massive $415 million Series C raise.
Fast-forward to 2022, and CloudKitchens’ raise, which closed in November 2021 but was announced in early 2022, included Microsoft as an investor, and still holds the top deal spot of the last 12 months. The only other mega-deal so far in 2021 has been from Kitchen United, which raised $100 million in July from Kroger, Circle K, and others.
Outside of these mega-deals, most of the top fundraises were for earlier-stage companies. Indonesia’s Hangry and Orlando, Florida-based Virtual Dining Concepts both landed Series A funds, as did Philippines-based CloudEats. Several other companies outside of the top 10, including Belgium’s Casper, Egyptian cloud kitchen startup The Food Lab and Finland-based Huuva have raised early-stage funding in the last 12 months.