Mayor Michael Nutter announced this morning that local healthy-meal-delivery company Real Food Works will receive a grant of $200,000 from the city’s Startup PHL Seed Fund, a $6 million investment fund aimed at luring entrepreneurs with big ideas to the city. The fund is a joint effort of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and is managed by First Round Capital. Real Food Works, profiled in November’s Philadelphia magazine as one of Philly’s hottest new startups (on newsstands now), is the fund’s very first recipient.
“I think it says a lot about an entrepreneur when they turn a personal passion into a successful business,” said Nutter at a press conference this morning at Real Food Works’s Center City headquarters.
Real Food Works founder and CEO Lucinda Duncalfe said the $200,000, along with a total of $1 million raised from investors, has and will go a long way in helping to grow her company. It’s already allowed her to move from a suburban office in Conshohocken to the new spot at 224 North Juniper in Center City. And it will help continue to grow her staff, including a recently beefed up sales and marketing team to help get the word out about Real Food Works’ mission and products.
The company started a year and a half ago, when Real Food Works began partnering with local restaurants to package and deliver healthy meals—made with "real," non-processed foods, hence the name—to meal-plan subscribers in the Philadelphia area. The offerings and services have since expanded to include gluten-free options, health coaching, and free, open-t0-the-public farm table lunches with Real Food Works staffers.
"Real Food does work—and we are on a mission," said Duncalfe. To officially mark the company's milestone, she invited the Mayor this morning to join her in a toast—with a kale smoothie, of course. "He loved it!" she said afterward over refreshments at the office. "And he really seemed to like the kale salad, too."