Huge turn as popular delivery start-up is SAVED at the last minute – after announcing it would go under
- CoLab went into administration earlier this month
- Has been provided with a lifeline by supplier Efoodz
- The delivery start-up sector is struggling
- MilkRun, Voly went down in Australia, Deliveroo pulled out
A popular gourmet food delivery start-up has been rescued from the brink of collapse after a supplier jumped at the chance to acquire the company.
CoLab voluntarily went bankrupt earlier this month after the Sydney-based start-up, which offered ready meals from 150 restaurants, failed to raise more capital.
Financial giant Ernst and Young took over the company’s operations in hopes it would find new life with new owners, as it began to liquidate CoLab.
When Efoodz CEO Andy Lam was approached by the administrator asking what to do with unsold inventory delivered to CoLab, he offered a lifeline.
The Melbourne-based ready-to-eat meal platform has acquired CoLab’s business and assets for an undisclosed cash sum, with the deal closing on Friday.
A gourmet meal delivery start-up has been saved from collapse by EFoodz (pictured), one of its suppliers
Mr. Lam looks forward to turning CoLab’s fortunes around with plans to expand his current Sydney and Melbourne customer base nationwide within six months.
“I was shocked to hear about CoLab’s collapse because I thought it had the support,” he told Daily Mail Australia
‘I thought about it and saw it as a good opportunity to buy the company that had a lot of potential but was in the run-down phase.
“It would have been a shame for the business to end if it could recover because I think it could be profitable with a change of structure.”
Mr. Lam’s first task will be to move CoLab’s operations to Efoodz’s purpose-built facility in Melbourne.
“It opens a lot of doors, from expanding the range and selling our own products on the platform to attracting new customers,” he said.
“Our message to CoLab’s customers is that things are in good hands and we’re looking after suppliers.”
“The acquisition provides strong growth opportunities for our group, taking advantage of existing facilities, cost savings and the opportunity to enter new domestic markets, realizing CoLab’s full potential in premium food and beverage.”
Efoodz CEO Andy Lam (pictured) jumped at the chance to turn CoLab’s fortunes around and revive the company
Andy Lam will move CoLab operations to Efoodz’s purpose-built facility in Melbourne (pictured)
A letter to EY suppliers said Efoodz will continue to operate CoLab’s platform on a ‘business as usual’ basis.
Having previously worked in the hospitality industry, Mr. Lam founded Efoodz in 2021, the same year CoLab was originally founded by Elle Curran and Josh Abulafia.
“It was set up in a small kitchen where meals were prepared during Covid after the pandemic swept over the cafe I was running,” recalled Mr Lam.
“I started cooking some meals and packing meals that I sold online. Turnover grew and within a year we had outgrown the kitchen.’
Two and a half years later, Efoodz consists of 35 employees and prepares more than 60,000 meals a month with the guarantee ‘Kitchen to Customer in 48 hours’.
Founded as Co-Lab Pantry in 2021, CoLab merged with ChefPrep the following year with big plans to expand nationally to other state capitals and regional areas.
CoLab is described on its website as a 24-7 online destination with an assortment of 1,500 products, from gourmet food and drink in the pantry, fresh produce, frozen meals and gift packages.
Previously backed by millionaire entrepreneur Mark Bouris, it had also secured $3 million in funding from venture firms Artesian Ventures and Berlin-based Global Founders Capital.
CoLab previously employed 16 employees, all of whom have been laid off and will no longer be joining the company.
The company’s near miss follows a turbulent year for the struggling food delivery start-up industry with the demise of Send, Delivr, Deliveroo, Voly and MilkRun, all of which resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs.
CoLab co-founders Elle Curran and Josh Abulafia (pictured) appointed EY as trustees for their startup earlier this month