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  • Sydney gourmet marketplace ChefPrep is in administration, 7 months after rebranding as CoLab after acquiring its Melbourne rival

Sydney gourmet marketplace ChefPrep is in administration, 7 months after rebranding as CoLab after acquiring its Melbourne rival

If you’re looking for some great food at a discount this Easter, CoLab’s new managers, EY, are offering 30% off the market’s bestsellers until April 11 – 5 days after creditors meet in Sydney to hear more about the financial state of affairs this Thursday.

The home delivery food marketplace, which raised $3 million less than 12 months ago in a Seed round backed by Artesian Ventures, Yellow Brick Road chairman Mark Bouris, Yaniv Bernstein and others, was handed over last week to trustees Morgan Kelly and David Kennedy from EY on March 27.

Founded in May 2021 by Elle Curran and Josh Abulafia after a $1.25 million angel round, the Sydney start-up is an online marketplace offering more than 1,500 products, from frozen, ready-to-eat versions of their best selling food from 150 Melbourne and Sydney restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as larder crafts, fresh produce and wine.

Last August, ChefPrep used some of that money to acquire and rebrand its Melbourne-esque CoLab under that name.

At the time, Abulafia said they planned to expand nationally, delivering meals in Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, as well as regional NSW and Victoria, alongside an ambition to launch internationally within 12 months.

Curran said at the time that the company had a customer base of nearly 30,000 people.

But that was clearly not enough for the company to remain solvent.

While it continues to trade, the fine print at the bottom of the Colab website reads:

“Morgan Kelly and David Kennedy of Ernst and Young (EY) were appointed as trustees of ChefPrep Pty Limited (trading as CoLab) and Co-Lab Pantry Pty Limited (all trustees appointed) (the group) on March 27, 2023. The trustees have assumed control over the affairs of the Group and have taken possession of its assets. This includes seeking proposals for an urgent recapitalization of the Group or the purchase of the Group’s business and assets. At this stage, the Bankruptcy Trustees intend to continue trading the Group on a business as usual basis. If you have any questions about the voluntary administration process, please contact us directly. We thank you for your continued support.”

The first creditors’ meeting will be held in Sydney at 11am on April 6, according to documents filed by the trustees with corporate regulator ASIC.

It’s been 12 torrid months in the food delivery startup industry, starting with Send’s collapse in May 2022, less than 12 months after launch.

That was followed by rival Voly in November, after burning $18 million in a Seed round led by Sequoia Capital India, backed by CoLab backer Artesian Capital. The brand and database were subsequently acquired by northern NSW meat delivery service Our Cow and relaunched in February this year.

Deliveroo pulled out of Australia late last year after losing $33 million in 2022.

Meanwhile, Milkrun fights for its life, cutting costs and staff in an attempt to break even after struggling to raise new capital. Milkrun had raised $75 million from Tiger Global in January 2022 in a Series A,

Startup Daily has reached out to CoLab and EY for comment about CoLab. We’ll update this story if and when we hear back.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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