You may not think much of the truck at the end of the street slinging carne asada and al pastor tacos for $1.50 a pop. But for Marc Lore, it’s a multibillion-dollar venture.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported the former Walmart CEO secured a $350 million funding round — at a mouth-watering $3.5 billion valuation — for Wonder, his latest start-up that calls itself a “cloud kitchen on wheels.” Yeah, we’ll just call it a food truck.
More Than Wonder Bread
Wonder doesn’t offer meals in a brick-and-mortar restaurant, or from a street-side food truck. It doesn’t offer delivery from a ghost kitchen via Postmates or Uber Eats, or ship meal ingredients like Blue Apron. Instead, Wonder allows users to order a food truck straight to their driveway or curbside. Chefs then whip-up meals to serve as hot and fresh as possible. Sounds appetizing sure but not exactly industry-breaking.
Still, Lore has been able to grow the business since it first fried potatoes and seared steaks in 2018:
- Wonder is currently available to some 130,000 households in New Jersey suburbs just west of New York City, with plans to expand across the state later this year. Its latest funding round brings Wonder’s total amount raised (including debt and equity) to $900 million.
- One repeat investor described the bull case to Axios: Lore’s scaling experience, perpetual menu licenses with celebrity chefs like The Food Channel’s Bobby Flay, and tech innovation within the trucks. The start-up also offers a DoorDash-like service called Envoy in its app within its areas of operation, which generates about a quarter of its overall revenue.
Name-Brand Value: The funding round already feels displaced in time, more suitable to last year’s era of tech optimism and low-interest rates. “Six months ago, we would have raised at a higher valuation,” Lore told the WSJ. We’ll just assume Wonder offers especially tasty reheated enchiladas.