Why We Invested In Popchew:
As more creators become “brands”, consumer demand for physical touch points from the creators they follow has reached an inflection point. To support this movement, new platforms have emerged to help creators design, productize, and distribute physical product offerings to their followers. Pietra, as an example, has become the go-to destination for creators launching apparel, home goods, and jewelry products, among other popular consumer categories. However, from a creator infrastructure perspective, one of the most popular consumer categories has been left out — food.
With this in mind, we were thrilled to discover and invest in Popchew — a turnkey operating system for creators launching independent food products and brands.
Beyond the macro trends around creators as “brands” already discussed in our post here, there’s a few reasons I, and the Flybridge team, were so excited to invest:
First, food and beverage is one of the most popular categories on social platforms. On Instagram, for example:
- #food accounts for 250M+ posts
- Food “fans” log into Instagram 18 times a day
- 38% of instagram users view food content
Food content is also core to TikTok’s growth — #food content has over 269.1B views as of today. Unlike dances or challenges, food represents a content category that 1) appeals to a wide range of TikTok users across ages, income brackets, geographies, etc. and 2) can grow with creators as they, and their audiences, mature.
Second, in addition to the rise of “food” influencers across social platforms, non-food influencers, celebrities, and creators are entering the category. Travis Scott notably earned $20M through launching a collaboration menu item with McDonalds. Dunkin Donuts launched a similar custom collaboration with TikTok’s superstar Charli D’amelio. The drink — “The Charli” — was purchased hundreds of thousands of times within the first five days of launch. Early data from Pietra also suggests that creators don’t need millions of followers to successfully launch products. ~10,000+ followers can be sufficient if they’re highly engaged, which opens up a bigger, and growing, pool of “micro” influencers and creators that can leverage the Popchew platform.
Third, in addition to momentum in both the creator economy and the social “food” space, food delivery is also at an all time high — ~$126B as of 2021. Importantly, millennials and Gen Zs, the most active users across social platforms, also represent one of the largest user segments for food delivery apps. 24% of Gen Zs order takeout 3–4 times a week.
Fourth, in conjunction with increased demand for delivery, there’s been a rise of dark kitchens to power digital native food brands. The dark kitchen market was estimated to be over $40B in 2019, and has grown substantially since then due largely to Covid-19 tailwinds (source). Leading players in the food delivery space, such as DoorDash, have actually started launching their own ghost kitchens as of this summer to control more of the “stack”.
Overall, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Popchew’s founders, Rushir and Nick, as they go after this exciting opportunity. They launched their first creator-led product, Bitcoin Pizza, with influencer Pomp earlier this year, and have several other exciting partnerships in the works. You can sign up for early access here to follow their journey and learn more!