French Food Tech Startup Not So Dark Raises $80M to Fuel Expansion of New Online Delivery Model
Investment will power growth of Not So Dark’s online delivery franchise model across Europe, offering traditional restaurants a digital delivery solution that runs seamlessly from their existing kitchens.
PARIS, France – Not So Dark today announced that it has raised $80M in Series B funding, led by Kharis Capital and Verlinvest, in partnership with Conviviality Ventures. The round, which raises Not So Dark’s total funding to date to $105M, will be used to expand its fast-growing virtual food delivery franchise model across Europe.
Online global food delivery surged at a rate of 33% CAGR during the pandemic to represent an estimated $43B. The industry is projected to further grow at a rate of 10% CAGR over the next 5 years. Consumers are hungry for better, fresher food choices, more variety and increased convenience particularly in smaller cities where delivery options are limited to big chains.
Not So Dark resolves the supply and demand issue by creating high-quality food brands that are available via popular online delivery services like Deliveroo and UberEats beyond large cities – as the food can be prepared in local restaurants. These smaller restaurants get a digital franchise that runs seamlessly in the background, adjacent to their traditional business, to leverage their existing infrastructure and optimize profitability. Simultaneously, delivery platforms get access to new, on-trend offerings in smaller cities, giving them the ability to scale.
Not So Dark initially launched in 2020 as a virtual food brand creator with delivery-only menus sold on UberEats and Deliveroo. In less than a year it was deployed across France with tech-optimized operations running out of its own dark kitchens.
But the company had its sights set on something bigger, and founders Clément Benoit (former Founder and CEO of Stuart) and Alexandre Haggai decided to pivot the business and build the future of online delivery around traditional restaurants instead of dedicated dark kitchens. Just eight months after its pivot, Not So Dark secured another $80M to fuel its growth and ambitious expansion plans.
With NSD’s model, restaurants get everything they need to succeed – from a digital ordering system, effortless turnkey operations, a platform that continuously optimizes business performance, built-in marketing that runs around the clock, and strong unit economics. The company has already secured a portfolio of 150 partners that operate in more than 100 cities and is generating millions in monthly revenue.
NSD’s built-in data analytics platform is driven by machine learning capabilities that are hyper responsive to changes in price, demand and competition. This innovation is game-changing for the food delivery industry, particularly at a time when competition is tough, prices fluctuate daily and supply chains are strained.
The company’s dedicated R&D team continuously optimizes menus to meet market demand, through crowd pleasing original brands like Vegedal, Como Kitchen, Coquillettes, JFK Burgers and Gaïa Pita. Digital marketing campaigns and celebrity endorsements make brands come to life – such as actor Gad Elmaleh’s much-loved couscous brand, Walida.
According to Clément Benoit, “Pivoting and starting from zero was a massive undertaking. But we saw so clearly that the future of the online delivery industry was in forging partnerships with traditional restaurants – not competing with them. We’re honored that our initial investors trusted our vision. The new funding will be used to strengthen our market leadership in France and scale across Europe at a very fast pace.”
Daniel Grossman, Managing Partner of Kharis Capital believes Not So Dark is a company bound for market leadership: “We’ve studied the dark kitchens market and watched its rapid development. We believe NSD cracked the model that essentially allows all parties involved to profitably grow their business while offering customers alternative and convenient food offerings. In just one year, Not So Dark has already established itself as a major figure in the sector. We are pleased to accompany the founders of this French gem in this new stage of its growth towards European leadership.”
Raphael Thiolon, Executive Director at Verlinvest adds, “Clem, Alex and the Not So Dark team are building a unique platform that adds tremendous value to the whole food delivery ecosystem: a greater choice of exciting brands and high-quality meal options for consumers; additional volumes and profits for restaurants at no extra cost or complexity; and extensive new supply for food delivery players – enabling them to broaden their offer, especially outside of big cities. They’re using technology, R&D and disruptive marketing to improve consumers’ food habits, which is at the core of Verlinvest’s investment strategy. We’re thrilled to welcome Not So Dark into our portfolio and to help them build the dominant virtual brand platform in Europe.”
Not So Dark will use this new funding to expand its franchise operations across Europe and fulfill its ambition of becoming the world’s biggest restaurant – without a single kitchen.
About Not So Dark
Founded in early 2020 by Clement Benoit and Alexandre Haggai, Not So Dark is the European leader in tech-driven virtual delivery brands. The company creates popular original-concept food brands designed exclusively for online delivery. Its virtual franchise model allows brick-and-mortar to run a busy digital online delivery business from their existing kitchens. Not So Dark currently counts 100 tech-and food-focused employees and is experiencing exceptional growth.
About Kharis Capital
Kharis Capital is a private equity firm focused on growth and technology innovation in consumer markets. They manage direct investment partnerships, backed by long-term capital. With a presence in Brussels,, Luxemburg, Paris, Switzerland, New York and Hong Kong, we have deployed around USD 800m since inception in 2015.
Verlinvest is an international, family-backed evergreen investment company. It partners with visionary entrepreneurs who are driving consumer revolutions and building the next generation of category-defining brands that will positively impact the consumer sector for many years. Established in 1995, with offices in New York, Brussels, London, Mumbai, and Singapore, Verlinvest focuses on growth-stage companies in FMCG, healthcare, and digital retail, who are restless to accelerate growth. The company counts brands such as Oatly, Vita Coco, Tony’s Chocolonely, BYJU’s, Purplle.com, Mutti and Who Gives A Crap among its portfolio, alongside alumni Chewy.com, Vitaminwater and Remy Cointreau.