Josephine, an Oakland, California-based startup that paired home cooks with hungry neighbors, has decided to shut down. The last meals provided by its cooks will be delivered March 30.
“[O]ur team has simply run out of the resources to continue to drive the legislative change, business innovation, and broader cultural shift needed to build Josephine,” cofounder Charley Wang wrote in a blog post.
Josephine, which raised $3.1 million in angel and seed funding, injected a dose of good-neighbor nostalgia into the crowded food-delivery startup scene when it launched in 2015. While other companies focused on delivery logistics, Josephine recruited 75 home cooks and encouraged them to make lasagna and more for nearby families.
Eventually health inspectors came knocking. Josephine tried renting commercial kitchen space for its cooks in order to appease local officials. It also lobbied for new legislation. As those efforts faltered, Josephine began to evaluate new markets like Denver and Seattle. However, the company didn’t have enough funding to fight regulators market by market.