Since opening Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004, David Chang has steadily built a fledgling culinary empire, launching dozens of critically acclaimed restaurants, bars, and dessert shops, as well as the popular lifestyle and food journal, Lucky Peach. One of Chang’s recent and more ambitious projects has been Ando, a delivery-only service that prepares high-quality to-go meals at a secret location in Manhattan.
Earlier this week, news broke that Ando—which currently delivers exclusively to Midtown East—had just secured $7 million in first round funding, largely from the venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures. According to the New York Times, the move marks the first time Chang has sought “significant” venture capital financing for one of his businesses. But beyond Silicon Valley, Chang and Ando have reportedly locked down two other big investors for their angel round: Aziz Ansari and Jimmy Fallon.
"As a brand that stands for craft and quality, trying to reinvent a category, we bring on people who share those same high standards," Hooman Radfar, one of the co-founders of Ando, told Mashable. "These are guys who are experts at their craft. Aziz is someone we can email about copy, about voice, about brand."
Though Ando has in some ways been functioning more as a tech company than a food service—using Uber to deliver its meals, and also raking in investments from executives at Estée Lauder, Warby Parker, and SoulCycle—Ansari's newly reported role in the business makes sense.
Since Ansari’s Netflix series, Master of None, premiered on Netflix last year, the actor has been positioning himself as a cross-over culinary star, penning essays on Indian food for the New York Times, and appearing alongside Mario Batali in segments for Vice.
According to Radfar, Ando plans to use its funding to expand the service into other areas of Manhattan, and perhaps beyond.