“We do the prep. You be the chef.” Hmm, where have we heard that idea before…?
Oh, yeah. Meal kit startup Blue Apron (and pretty much any meal kit company).
Unfortunately for all of them, it’s Amazon’s idea now. The eCommerce giant has registered a trademark for the service, and immediately after, Blue Apron’s shares hit an all-time midday low of $6.45 per share. Blue Apron stocks was down more than 10 percent on Monday.
This news really kicks Blue Apron while it’s down. Not too long ago, the meal delivery startup was valued around $2 billion in the private market, earning it a place among unicorns. That was before its IPO in June. But it was also before Amazon’s blockbuster purchase of Whole Foods.
Now, between the eCommerce giant’s subsequent move into Blue Apron’s niche and Blue Apron’s own struggle to convert new customers, it’s clear that investors just aren’t feeling it. Blue Apron’s stock is down by almost 30 percent since one month ago.
Despite its high valuation, the meal delivery company is not — and never has been — profitable. In fact, over the years, it’s only become less so as it pays more and more to sway new users to its service (compare $94 per new customer when it launched to $460 per new customer today). It has reported steeper net losses every year since 2014.
Blue Apron CEO Matthew Salzberg seems to think it’s all a game of biding one’s time.
“We’re tackling a huge market, and we’re focused on the long term, quite frankly,” Salzberg told CNBC. “The stock price today, whether it’s up, down, left or right, is really just the beginning of this new chapter in our company’s life.”
Others don’t see it happening for Blue Apron, either now or later.
“The dominant players within the space will compete at a level that won’t allow Blue Apron to be successful long term,” predicted David Seaburg, head of sales trading at Cowen and Co. “It’s all about scale.”