Meal delivery subscription service Sun Basket has hired Bank of America and Jefferies to prepare for a public offering, per a Reuters report.
San Francisco-based Sun Basket, one of many recipe delivery startups that have cropped up over the last several years, specializes in meal kits and recipes featuring organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. The company was most recently valued at $300 million with a $15 million Series C in February. Existing investors include Sapphire Ventures, Baseline Ventures and Vulcan Capital.
Sun Basket has raised about $43 million in total equity funding since its founding three years ago, an amount and age far below the average seen for VC-backed companies that have completed IPOs in recent years. Startups that took the plunge into the public markets in 2016 had raised an average of $112 million and waited close to nine years after their founding to IPO, per PitchBook's 2016 US PE& VC IPO Review.
A race to the public markets
Sun Basket’s reported plans come a few months after Blue Apron, perhaps the best-known US meal delivery service, delayed its own IPO. New York-headquartered Blue Apron was reportedly preparing for its public offering in June 2016, but put the plans on hold in hopes of reaching a $3 billion valuation before its float, which is now expected later this year. That company is backed by Fidelity Investments, First Round Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners and most recently secured a $2 billion valuation in 2015 with a $135 million round, placing its private market value at a significantly higher number than that of Sun Basket.
Europe's HelloFresh is another subscription recipe service that called off its public offering. The company had planned to go public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange at the end of 2015, but the IPO was pulled amid reports that investors were skeptical about the Rocket Internet-backed company's €2 billion-plus valuation. It went on to raise an $88 million round in December 2016, leading many to wonder what its IPO roadmap might now look like.
Blue Apron and HelloFresh aren't the only VC-backed companies to delay or cancel IPO plans over the last few years. There were a total of 33 canceled public offerings among VC-backed companies around the globe in 2015, and 18 in 2016, according to PitchBook data.