A Blue Apron State of Mind

By Phin Barnes

Recipe for a World-Changing Startup

Ingredients:
• 1 Powerful Idea
• 3 Epic Founders
• 300 Artisan/Sustainable Farmers and Suppliers
• 5,000 Amazing Employees
• 1,000,000 Square Feet of Fulfillment Center Space

Recipe:
• Combine 3 Epic Founders with 1 Powerful Idea. 
• Sprinkle in over 5,000 Amazing Employees over the next five years. 
• Build relationships with over 300 Artisan/Sustainable Farmers and Suppliers.
• Develop a massively data-driven fulfillment operation with over 1,000,000 Square Feet of FDA-sanctioned, refrigerated space. 
• Mix until incredible home cooking is accessible to everyone.

Serving Size: 159 million delicious meals for a passionate community of over 1,000,000 home cooks.

Taken yesterday evening, in awe.

The name Blue Apron is an homage to chefs around the world who wear blue aprons while in training. Today, the blue apron is a symbol of lifelong learning — which is apt. As one of Blue Apron’s earliest investors and customers, I can’t think of a company or founding team that’s taught me more.

Matt, Ilia and Wadiak came together around a belief in the positive power of home-cooked meals and a deep passion for building a better food system. From our first meeting in a small warehouse in Brooklyn, their focus on leveraging operational excellence to deliver value to consumers and food suppliers was palpable. Their care for the experience of preparing a meal for those you love was a driving force. These founding values have only grown stronger with scale, and are now embodied by a team of more than 5,000.

Like the majority of our new investments, the Blue Apron team was referred to us by another founder in the First Round community — and they bought into the power of that community from the start. They learned and shared best practices, participated in our salons and summits, and gave back at every opportunity.

As an anchor in the New York ecosystem, this team continues to validate our belief that the city is an excellent place to build and grow a startup. We look forward to partnering with many more NYC-based founders as they follow Blue Apron’s lead.

Of course, its founders would be the first to remind me that going public is just another milestone — a marker on their path toward making incredible home cooking widely accessible. They know that as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot more work and growth ahead. But I hope, today, they’ll take a moment to pause and marvel a bit at what they’ve done — we all should: the financial opportunity they’ve created for the family farms and artisanal suppliers they partner with, the experience they deliver to customers who cook and eat better than ever before, the growth and learning opportunities extended to employees, and, finally, the value created for shareholders who’ve been lucky enough to go along for the ride.

I’m honored and humbled to be able to call these extraordinary founders partners and lifelong members of the First Round community. Many thanks to the whole Blue Apron team.