- Dom's Kitchen & Market, a Chicago-based grocery startup that includes veteran supermarket executive Bob Mariano among its founders, has raised $15 million in seed funding, the company announced in a press release Wednesday. The funds bring the amount of capital the grocer has raised to $25 million.
- The investment round includes Cleveland Avenue, Valor Siren Ventures and Molto Capital, which had previously backed the company, as well as new investors Wasson Enterprises and Beliade.
- The new funding builds momentum for Dom's as the company prepares for the June opening of the first location in a chain of urban food stores it's developing.
The funding announcement by Dom's Kitchen & Market reflects optimism among investors that Mariano and his partners will be able to spin their deep experience in Chicago's complex food retailing scene into a new local hit.
The company said it plans to use the extra capital to accelerate the pace of new store openings and press ahead with plans to develop an e-commerce platform to let it offer mobile ordering, loyalty programs and curbside pickup to customers.
The first Dom's location, at 2730 N. Halsted Street, north of downtown Chicago, is set to include a broad selection of foods intended for shoppers to either consume on site or pick up to eat elsewhere. The store will also feature a curated array of wine and pantry items as well as selection of products the company said will be "locally sourced, globally inspired and seasonally driven."
But while the retailing concept the company has come up with might in itself be attractive to investors, the company's Chicago-bred management team could be its most valuable asset.
In addition to Mariano, who built and ran Mariano's, the iconic Chicago grocer now owned by Kroger, the group that started Dom's last year includes Don Fitzgerald, a former senior executive at Mariano's, Roundy's and Dominick's. Jay Owen, a descendant of the founder of Dominick's, a local grocery chain that went out of business, is also among the founders of Dom's.
Valor Siren Ventures, an investor in early stage food, agriculture and retail technology ventures that is deploying a $100 million investment from Starbucks, said in a statement that it "is excited about the collaborative expertise this team brings to the table. We believe that Dom’s has reimagined the meal shopping experience.”
Among the competitors Dom's will face as it looks to connect with Chicagoans is Foxtrot Market, a fast-growing chain of upscale convenience stores that also pairs a curated selection of local goods with e-commerce options. Foxtrot, which closed a $42 million Series B round of fundraising in February, currently runs eight locations in Chicago and plans to add four more stores in the city this year.