Tovala, the first-ever meal service paired with a countertop smart oven that scans, steams, bakes, and broils its chef-crafted meals, announces the close of a $30M Series C funding round led by Left Lane Capital, with participation from previous investors Finistere Ventures, Comcast Ventures, OurCrowd, Origin Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Joe Mansueto.
Tovala’s second fundraise in a six-month time span brings the company’s most recent funding total to over $50M, enabling the rapidly growing company to open a new production facility, expand the team, improve the customer experience, and continue building a dominant food and consumer technology brand.
Launched in 2017, Tovala’s upward trajectory reached new levels in 2020 as consumers invested in at-home meal solutions that met their dual demands of convenience and quality. Unlike category competitors that rely on time-intensive cooking or microwaved solutions, Tovala provides the coveted experience of a fresh home-cooked meal without the work typically required. The scan-to-cook technology — paired with chef-crafted meals — meets a deep-seated consumer need, delivering a premium experience without effort. Meals take less than one minute to prep and cook perfectly in under 20 minutes.
Recent Tovala highlights include:
- Annualized revenue increased by 10x in past 18 months
- Increased employee count by 40 percent in 2020
- Shipped over 3 million meals
- Customers engage with the Tovala Smart Oven features and meal service an average of 32 times per month.
“During a year when normal life was impossible and we collectively faced unexpected hardships, the Tovala team rallied to provide our customers with a source of comfort: meals they could rely on. Despite the pandemic, weather disasters, and a range of external challenges, we focused on delivering tens of thousands of meals each week to households that depended on our services,” said David Rabie, CEO of Tovala. “We are grateful to be a growing company during a difficult economic moment and we appreciate the partnership of Left Lane Capital to help our business reach more people in the months and years to come.”
The team at Left Lane Capital has successfully invested in notable food and DTC businesses, ranging from HelloFresh and Farmer's Dog to meditation app Calm. The firm is committed to supporting high-growth, high-retention consumer and internet businesses. Left Lane will work closely with the Tovala team as it continues to scale its business nationwide. Co-Founder and Managing Partner Jason Fiedler will join Tovala’s Board of Directors.
“The pairing of a meal subscription with a connected device has enabled Tovala to achieve a customer retention rate that is a step-function better than anything else we’ve seen in food delivery — in many ways similar to what Peloton achieved in a traditionally low-retention fitness industry,” said Jason Fiedler, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Left Lane Capital. “Our team brings a proven track record of investing in category-defining consumer subscription businesses, and we’re excited about Tovala’s potential to be the next major food tech company.”
In 2020, Tovala capped a year of innovation and company milestones, including:
- Launched more than 400 new meals to their rotating weekly menu
- Debuted premium meals, featuring steak and seafood
- Rolled out meal customization options
- Launched a national TV advertising campaign
- Opened a new production facility
- Engaged high profile new customers, ranging from professional athletes to national news personalities
Prior to 2020, Tovala introduced a new Scan-to-Cook feature that allows its smart ovens to scan the barcode of nearly 1,000 brand-name grocery items to perfectly cook them without preheating, making its technology even more versatile. Additionally, Tovala partnered with LG to embed its Scan-to-Cook technology in select LG smart ovens so that when a customer scans a Tovala Meal's barcode via the LG ThinQ app, LG's smart oven automatically sets the optimal temperature and cooking time. Beginning in 2021, select Tovala Meals will be available for purchase on the LG ThinQ app.
Tovala was born from a mission to reinvent home cooking to save people time. Launched in 2017 by passionate culinary-tech duo David Rabie and Bryan Wilcox, Tovala’s fresh, chef-crafted meals and smart oven work together to let customers enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal without the work. Each meal requires one minute of prep time before the Tovala Smart Oven scans and cooks it perfectly in 20 minutes or less.
With 5 different cooking functions (steam, bake, broil, toast, reheat) and the ability to scan-to-cook nearly 1,000 brand-name grocery items from brands like Kashi and Amy’s, the Tovala Smart Oven's versatility extends beyond just cooking Tovala Meals.
About Left Lane Capital
Left Lane Capital is a New York-based growth equity firm. Left Lane invests in high-growth consumer internet and technology companies that build lasting customer relationships. Left Lane’s mission is to partner with world-class entrepreneurs and category-defining businesses that are fundamental to the human condition and spirit.