Photographer: Oriana Koren/The New York Times/Redux

Meal-Kit Maker Blue Apron Said to Hold Preliminary Talks on IPO

  • Private funding valued home cooking startup at $2 billion
  • Existing investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity

Meal-kit delivery company Blue Apron Inc. has held preliminary talks with banks about options for raising capital, including a possible initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company has discussed with potential advisers the possibility of proceeding with an IPO in the next 12 months, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The company hasn’t made any decision to go public and may opt for a different way to raise capital, the people said.

New York-based Blue Apron, which is currently profitable, according to another person familiar with the situation, was valued at more than $2 billion in a 2015 private funding round. The company counts Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity and First Round Capital among its investors. It would be valued at about $3 billion in an IPO, said the people familiar with the situation.

A spokeswoman for Blue Apron at Edelman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

It’s been a quiet time for offerings from technology startups valued at more than $1 billion. So far this year, only one technology or communications company with venture capital shareholders has gone public: Acacia Communications Inc. raised $119 million last month, including an overallotment to shareholders. The stock has climbed more than 50 percent since its debut.

Slow Start

The lethargy in IPOs has characterized other industries, as well. This year marks the slowest start for U.S. corporate listings since the recession, though a swell of activity late last month could help encourage others to go to market. Another Bessemer portfolio company, Twilio Inc., which makes communications software for web and mobile apps, filed its initial prospectus on May 26.

Blue Apron, founded in 2012, sends customers boxes of pre-portioned ingredients and instructions to cook meals at home. The two-person plan costs $59.94 a week and includes three recipes that each serve two people.

Last October, Blue Apron named Brad Dickerson chief financial officer. Dickerson joined from Under Armour Inc., the sportswear company where he’d been since 2004, most recently as CFO and chief operating officer. He started at the meal-kit company early this year, according to a statement.

Blue Apron is one of a number of food-delivery startups to attract money in recent years. Plated, which also started in 2012, has a similar ingredient-delivery model. German startup HelloFresh started in the U.S. later that year and Purple Carrot began its vegan options in fall 2014.