Home Chef Secures $40 Million in Series B Funding by Gary Bird

Home Chef

Congratulations to our client, Home Chef—a Chicago-based meal kit delivery service—on securing $40 million in Series B capital (TechCrunch)! This funding, provided by L Catterton, will allow Home Chef to sustain its rapid growth in the $1.5 billion US meal kit industry.

Home Chef has grown its shipment volume by over 150x since the beginning of last year, and is now delivering more than 1.5 million meals per month to over 97 percent of the country. The company's diverse menu of familiar, easy-to-prepare recipes has catapulted Home Chef's success. 

Home Chef enables customers of all cooking abilities to prepare meals for only $9.95 per serving, unless otherwise specified. Customers can fully customize their weekly delivery, selecting any combination of dinner options plus add-on items such as breakfasts, smoothies and fruit baskets.

Try out Home Chef today!

ContainerX is Acquired by Cisco! by Gary Bird

ContainerX

ContainerX

Congratulations to our client, ContainerX, on being acquired by Cisco (Cisco Blog)!

Launched a year and a half ago by a small team of engineers from Microsoft, VMware and Citrix, ContainerX created the world's first multi-tenant container platform for Linux and Windows. A self-hosted CaaS platform, ContainerX is the most powerful way to manage Docker in the enterprise.

We started working with ContainerX just before the company launched its first beta product in November 2015. Each month following that, the company released a beta, leading up to its general availability announcement in June 2016.

The power of Cisco’s cloud (ZDNet) and ContainerX’s expertise has potential to offer a turn-key cutting edge private and hybrid cloud to customers. And with the help of the massive distribution channels and reach that Cisco provides, ContainerX can build a bigger team and expand its reach and impact.

We wish ContainerX the best of luck on the next chapter!

Get updates on ContainerX.

Go for the Gold by Gary Bird

After cheering on Team USA in the Rio Olympics, we decided to host our own contest. Competing in events such as basketball, bocce ball and disc golf, each team member was able to show off his or her abilities. Although we didn't discover the next Michael Phelps, we didn't find any Ryan Lochtes either ... ;) In the end, everyone brought their A game and had a fantastic time.

Team FortyThree

Team FortyThree

The American Diet: Why are we unhealthy and what can we do about it? by Gary Bird

We’ve all been there: we get home utterly exhausted after a long day. Then, the dreaded question… what’s for dinner? The last thing we want to do is think about what to cook for ourselves, let alone the rest of our family. So we resort to takeout to quickly satisfy our cravings.

Then the guilt sets in.

I could have prepared a healthy meal. I should not have fed my kids fast food for the second time this week. I should be saving my money for that trip I’ve planned.

The Home Chef team surveyed 1,000 Americans about their eating and cooking habits. The results showed that 75 percent of people never, rarely, or only occasionally eat healthy foods.

Over 50 percent of those surveyed believe they are or may be overweight. When asked why:

·      60 percent said the portion sizes they eat are too large

·      52 percent said their family doesn’t know how to buy healthy food

·      25 percent said their family doesn’t have time to cook healthy meals

·      16 percent said their family doesn’t know how to cook healthy meals

When asked why they do not eat healthy meals:

·      58 percent said the convenience of fast food/ food delivery is too appealing

·      51 percent said time was a factor

·      44 percent said money was a factor

…We have a healthy solution.

 

Over 80 percent of respondents agreed that a meal kit delivery service containing easy-to-follow recipes and pre-portioned ingredients could help them and their families eat healthier.

By providing fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes to households across the U.S., Home Chef is simplifying healthy home cooking. With step-by-step instructions for thirteen new dishes each week, you can make a variety of delicious meals that are good for your body, your culinary repertoire, and your wallet.

How does that sound for dinner?

Click here for $30 off your first order.

Considering Crowdfunding? Meet the Backers. by Benjamin Olivas

Consumer tech companies considering crowdfunding should host their project on Kickstarter and target males between 18 and 34 on social media, according to a new survey by FortyThree.
 
Crowdfunding is booming with an estimated $34 billion raised last year, up nearly sixfold from two years ago. It’s no surprise that a wide variety of companies, both big and small, are considering jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon. Businesses in the technology and gaming industries, in particular, have a lot to gain from crowdfunding.
 
If your company is one of them, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the backer community. To get a better sense of backers’ motivations, buying habits and more, FortyThree surveyed 500 people who have contributed money to at least one crowdfunding project and focused on those who funded a project specifically related to technology or gaming.
 
According to the survey results, the vast majority of technology and gaming backers—90% to be exact—funded projects on Kickstarter. Surprisingly, half of respondents reported that the crowdfunding video had only “some” influence on their decision to fund a technology or gaming project, whereas 21% said the video had “little” influence.
 
Backers also said that social media played a major role in driving them to a crowdfunding project. Eighty-two percent reported hearing about the technology or gaming project(s) they eventually funded via social platforms.
 
Here is a detailed breakdown of our findings:

  • Target Practice: The majority (76%) of crowdfunding backers for technology and gaming projects are men. Of that demographic, 84% are between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Tell Me More: The top three places where technology and gaming backers find out about crowdfunding projects are social media (82%), friends (42%) and online news sites (36%).
  •  Repeat Customers: Most backers (78%) reported receiving the technology or gaming product/service they funded and 66% said they were satisfied with the purchase. In addition, 32% said they would purchase it again.
  •  Credibility is Key: The majority (87%) of technology and gaming backers said the amount already raised by a crowdfunding project has influenced their decision to fund one in the past. Nearly half also said the founders’ prior experience in the industry plays an important role.


Read all of the survey responses. 

The major takeaway here is if you’re thinking about launching a crowdfunding project related to technology or gaming, Kickstarter is a great platform for reaching men ages 18 to 34 years old. Just make sure to amplify your message on social media.
 
Source: FortyThree PR surveyed 500 individuals who have backed at least one crowdfunding project

The Top 4 Skills for Tech Marketing Pros by Benjamin Olivas

The old adage that half your advertising budget is being wasted still holds true, but now you know which half is being wasted and you can quickly correct it.
 
We live, work and play online and for marketers this new reality creates enormous challenges and opportunities.
 
After talking with numerous Silicon Valley marketing experts, we’ve picked the top four marketing skills essential for success in today’s digital landscape:  
 

Content Marketing: Create useful content for your target audience. This can range from insightful articles, surveys, videos, infographics, how-to's, etc. Once you have the content on your site or, better yet, published on a media site, then drive potential customers/partners to it. Use Facebook and Twitter for consumers and LinkedIn to target investors, partners and influencers.
 
Free Web Traffic: Very little is more valuable than free traffic resulting in new customers. Some effective strategies are: 1) Automate a free part of your service or product on the web in exchange for contact info; 2) Offer useful stats or a report in exchange for an email; 3) Get an SEO and/or search engine marketing (SEM) expert and optimize your site for the kind of traffic you want.
 
Automate, Automate, Automate: Almost everything you do in online marketing can be tracked and then sliced and diced. The number of tools is growing every day, but some good ones are MintClicky and, of course, Google Analytics. These will give you a very clear and real-time picture of what is working and not working.
 
Mobile: Mobile can’t be an afterthought and you are better off with a mobile-first marketing campaign. All your marketing campaigns need to be optimized for smartphones because the majority of views will come from phones.
 
We are all in uncharted territory, but these best practices can separate the winners from the losers. The reward for winners is successfully engaging with new customers in a way that is authentic and mutually beneficial. 

Portal Receives Top Honors at CES by Benjamin Olivas

Two prestigious consumer tech publications, Tom's Guide and BGR, gave Ignition Design Labs’ Portal Wi-Fi router with top honors at CES this year. Tom's Guide named Portal as Best New Tech at CES, while BGR named Portal Best CES Innovation Award.

More than 20 new routers were introduced at CES, yet Portal rose above the rest with a new kind of router that cuts through congestion and interference to deliver unprecedented speed, coverage and reliability for all consumers — in even the most challenging Internet environments.

"CES 2016 saw some categories come of age and others see a resurgence," said Mark Spoonauer, editor in chief of Tom's Guide. "Companies are also finding innovative ways to mash trends together. But the ultimate deciding factor for our award-winning products is how they will make your life better, whether it's for work or play, or both."

Check our their video.