Virtual restaurant brand marketplace Acelerate has raised $14 million. Sequoia Capital led the financing round.
The company helps match virtual brands with kitchens. George Jacobs, the company’s CEO, saw the need for restaurants to diversify their revenue streams. His family owns a pizza business, and he saw first-hand the challenges faced by small restaurant owners.
“A little over 28 years ago, my parents first introduced me to our family pizzeria, Georgee’s Pizza, when I was less than a week old,” he said in a recent blog post. “The following decades were filled with time spent talking with customers, working with employees, and frequent visits to Restaurant Depot with my father. These years of observation and experience gave me a firsthand look into a remarkable period of change in the restaurant industry.”
Acelerate is a marketplace where restaurants can connect with virtual brands and expand their kitchens’ offerings. The company works with Applebees and other brands and has processed 7 million orders since it was founded in 2019.
Jacobs believes restaurants need to evolve and change their overall business model. Restaurants have a high failure rate and very few survive past the first couple of years. Now, more customers are interested in online ordering and delivery, and that creates opportunities. George wants Acelerate to be a way that a restaurant can diversify and reach new customers.
“The more time I spent at Georgee’s Pizza, the more I began to notice the intricacies of all the moving pieces and a change in how restaurants needed to reach customers,” George wrote. “What started as a one-to-one restaurant model, one restaurant — one storefront: a physical brick and mortar location, quickly evolved to a one-to-many model, one restaurant — many storefronts: a physical location, online marketplaces like DoorDash and UberEats, social channels like Instagram and Google, direct to consumer websites and more. Additional pieces were being introduced to the already complex restaurant puzzle.”
After working briefly at DoorDash, George founded the online marketplace. The idea is that one kitchen can manage multiple brands to diversify revenue.
“Acelerate enables existing restaurants to run five brands out of a single kitchen,” George said. “Restaurateurs are happy because they make more profit, employees are happy because they’re more productive and have greater earning potential, and customers are happy because they have drastically increased selection to choose from.”