By Marcella McCarthy
You can order braised oxtail, carrot cake, keto cookies, or an array of other dishes, and have them delivered to your door. But Cura Market isn’t Miami’s newest restaurant or food delivery app, it’s a local startup offering an Etsy-like online marketplace for chefs and home cooks to sell their foods to the general public.
“Chefs are artists and alchemists, but they don’t like dealing with the business side of it all, so we take care of that for them,” said Jose Manuel Perrone, co-founder and CEO of Cura.
How it works
Cura launched in Miami in September 2020 and has 12 active sellers (Chef Partners) offering 80 different dishes. Each chef that signs-up gets their own virtual storefront where they can upload images and all the details about the food they are selling. Customers can order and pay online, and Cura guarantees a 1-2 day delivery.
While some sellers are professional chefs working primarily on their businesses, others do it on their time off. Alice Pandolfi, for example, works on her Italian pastries full-time, meanwhile, Danielle Delgado is a professional track and field athlete training for the 2021 Olympics, and sells vegan ice cream that is only available for delivery on Saturdays because of her busy training schedule.
Cura charges a 5% processing fee + 3% credit card processing fee. For the time being, delivery is free and offered within a 25-mile radius from their offices in Coral Gables.
“We started finding these chefs on Instagram, and we saw that most of them said ‘DM for orders,”’ said Perrone. “Now with Cura, they can keep track of everything in one place,” he added.
Cura is derived from the Latin word “accurare” meaning, “to take care of,” which is what Perrone and Krishna Chatpar, co-founder and COO, want to do for other people. “We started Cura thinking about what we could build to protect our families from disease, and nutrition is a primary piece of that,” said Perrone, pictured below (left) with Chatpar.
“Everything that’s sold through Cura is made with care - that’s the main ingredient,” said Chatpar. “We try every chef’s food before we sign them up,” added Perrone.
Perrone and Chatpar met through a mutual friend and Chatpar moved to Miami from Montreal earlier this year to work on the business full-time. Both founders have a technical background and built the platform themselves, they said. Before starting Cura, Perrone, who is originally from Ecuador but grew up in Miami, worked as an electrical engineer and Chatpar as a software developer at the Montreal Neurological Institute.
To figure out the visual map and design for the website, they reached out (cold) to one of the cofounders of Etsy, Chris Maguire. “Whenever we hit a specific problem, we email him and he helps us out,” said Perrone.
Cura is raising a pre-seed round of less than $1 million. They have two local female angels committed, but would not disclose the amount committed thus far. “We’re surrounded by powerful women,” said Perrone.
Growth: 9% month over month
Tagline: “Food you can’t find on UberEats”
What’s ahead: Expanding throughout Miami-Dade and later to other cities.