Star Festival, the Japanese startup behind Bento box delivery and catering service, Gochikuru.com, announced today it has raised 1 billion yen (or about $10 million) from Jafco, one of Japan’s leading VC firms. With these funds, the company will expand its service to areas all around the country. Currently their service is available only in the five urban areas of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai, and Fukuoka.
Since its launch back in 2009, Gochikuru has been providing a variety of meals from its partner lunch vendors. To date they have partnered with more than 210 lunch-box brands and served more than 3.2 million users.
With these new funds, the company plans to add customer representatives and improve its logistics and distribution network. For example, it will provide lunch-box line-ups from famous Tokyo sushi brands to consumers living in the southern island of Okinawa. This is typically impossible because of the distances, but it can be done in partnership with local lunch vendors that can follow recipes provided by a particular sushi brand.
It is really interesting to see the company cultivating a license/production business in the food market. There are great opportunities in this industry, one often overlooked by most in the startup space.