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Everyone loves pizza, including VCs

Chicago Pizza with Attitude

Everyone loves pizza, including VCs

Sometimes a person (I’m not naming names here) tires of staring at startup funding data, and her hungry mind wanders to pizza.

But ordering a pizza in real life isn’t always the best choice for such people/reporters. So instead, we’ll pivot to the next best (not really) thing: Looking at what startup investors are doing vis-à-vis the pizza industry.

Turns out, VCs and growth investors are finding lots of ways to toss money at the space. A query of Crunchbase data rolled out more than 50 companies funded in the past couple of years that mention pizza in their business descriptions. In the chart below, we slice into 10 of the most heavily funded and intriguing pizza-preneurs.

Taken together, what does this assimilation of funding data portend about the future of pizza? We’re not experts in much but consuming the stuff, but nonetheless, a few trends stand out. We outline them below.

Convenience versus quality

Many top-funded startups appear to be tackling what’s long been the Achilles heel of the pizza-industrial complex: The inverse correlation between convenience and quality.

It is a persistent conundrum. You can have pizza right away that costs very little, but it tastes like microwaved cardboard. Or you can pay the going rate and wait for a fresh pie, but that involves…well, paying and waiting.

Of course, there are all manner of variations in-between: the upscale frozen pizza, the merely adequate chain pizza, the quick, greasy slice — the list goes on. Consumers seemingly have no shortage of options. And yet we long for more.

The most heavily funded pizza startups appear to target a similar consumer desire. We want a cheap, fast, custom, fresh pizza that tastes good. MOD Pizza and LeBron James-backed Blaze Pizza are two fast-growing chains with this approach. Both serve fast-cooking thin-crust pies with a wide choice of toppings for a flat price.

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