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hursday, May 18, 2017

Unilever’s venture arm has taken a stake in Sun Basket Inc., the meal-kit delivery company that people familiar with the matter said is heading toward an initial public offering, according to a Bloomberg report.

Unilever Ventures, along with Baseline Ventures and Founders Circle Capital, are investing a combined $9.2 million as an extension to Sun Basket’s series C round. That brings the latest round of funding to $24.2 million, Unilever said in a joint statement with Sun Basket, which has now raised $52 million.

Sun Basket has hired Bank of America Corp. and Jefferies Group LLC to lead an IPO that could value the company at about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Sun Basket has differentiated itself in the crowded food-delivery space by focusing on health-conscious customers seeking gluten-free, paleo-diet and vegetarian recipes. The new funds will be used to scale nationally and automate distribution facilities for its pre-measured meal kits, a first step to offering more customized choices.

“We want to be a true alternative to the grocery store, where we are offering enough variety to appeal to your taste buds and health needs,” founder and CEO Adam Zbar said.

Sun Basket offers 18 choices from its classic menu in multi-meal boxes that cost $11.49 a serving or $9.99 a plate for its family menu boxes.

Differentiation will be important as San Francisco-based Sun Basket and competitors such as Blue Apron Inc. mature, the report said.

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