13 Sep Territory Foods raises 4 million on its quest to make food healthy and delicious
We’ve all been there. You’re dedicated to your career, so much so that you end up neglecting your health despite all the warning signs. This was Patrick Smith’s story, the founder of a new and rapidly growing startup that’s been finding its footing the DFW market and beyond, Territory Foods.
While he’s now based in D.C., as the son of a military officer he grew up playing tennis across North Texas and living in the surrounding areas as well. Now that his days of tennis are behind him, he’s grown into a successful software engineer and entrepreneur. After his last company was acquired, he decided to take a break from engineering and focus on his own health, which had fallen low on his list of priorities. This proved to be an amazing experience for him, as he quickly realized that improving his health also improved his overall quality of life, brain function, and productivity. A big component of this was eating intentionally–and out of this, Territory Foods was born.
Inspired by this journey back into good health, Patrick began testing out a small concept he had with his own local gym. Giving people the option to choose their dietary requirements (Whole30, vegan, low fat, etc.), he partnered with local chefs to cater healthy meals to meet those requirements, ordered in advance and delivered to the gym for pick-up. These menu options seemed like a good place to start based on his own experience, and the fact that 35-40% of adults in the United States are members of a “food tribe,” which dictates their diet and lifestyle. Once he began, the demand blew him away–from customers, to distribution partners and chefs, the concept really took off.
To bring Territory Foods to life, Patrick began by building out a platform for personalized nutrition. He was trying to solve how to give customers food they love and want to come back for–maintain the simplicity in cooking, but provide a large variety to accommodate different tastes and dietary needs, and crafting those meals at scale. His approach and choice to focus on wellness centers as a central hub for this idea not only connected him directly to his ideal customers, but it eliminated the overhead of taking on brick and mortar locations. Instead, the supply chain looks like this: Territory Foods thoroughly vets a network of chefs that source local ingredients to cook at scale for orders placed in advance by customers (using their own professional kitchens and equipment), and those fully prepared meals are then delivered and distributed to the wellness centers (crossfit gyms, yoga studios, etc.), for customers to pick up and consume.
Despite the business’ initial success, the company didn’t start fundraising until they knew they had a financial model that was sound and had proven itself. “It was really important to me [after having run other startups] not to start the business with capital,” Patrick said. After things began to solidify and take off, they did then eventually raise capital and recently announced a $4 million funding extension, which initially closed on May 3, 2018.
This announcement comes amid a time of rapid growth and scale for the brand, which now delivers to more than 500 locations in Washington, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. Territory will record more than 100% year-over-year growth this year.
“For this year, we’re focused on staying in the same city footprint and continuing to grow and serve those communities more deeply,” Patrick told Launch DFW. As the business grows, they’re also looking towards the personalization side of things, which is where many consumer industries are headed. The data science work they’re doing now will help them better craft menus that adapt to individual tastes, resulting in happier, healthier customers.
Overall, it’s clear that Patrick’s personal experience with nutrition and fitness has driven him and his team to create a company focused not only on health, but also on serving the local communities. He describes the process as “deeply local, down to the suppliers, farmers, growers [. . .] 90% of the meals are local in each individual market.” And an additional perk? If you’re eating meals customized and pre-made just for you, food waste decreases, resulting in a win for everyone all around.
When asked about his advice to other startup founders, Patrick details the harmony that should exist between those involved in the business. In addition to product market fit, he points out that finding the right fit with co-founders and investors is invaluable: “At the end of the day, this is a human endeavor, and if there’s something that’s out of alignment with all of this, and you build a business that’s not connected to a need you relate to, it’s not going to work.”
Interested in grabbing a meal yourself? You can check out a delivery location here.