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Carmelo Anthony`s venture capital firm invests in smart kitchen company
Forbes, July 24, 2014

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has made an investment in Silicon Valley smart kitchen company, The Orange Chef Co. The investment was technically consummated by Anthony’s new venture capital company Melo7 Tech Partners, created by Anthony and Stuart Goldfarb, a former NBC and Bertelsmann Direct North America (now known as Direct Brands, Inc.) executive. The venture capital firm’s first investment was with children story creator Hullabalu.

Financial terms of Melo7 Tech Partners’ investment in The Orange Chef Co. were not disclosed. However, Anthony will have a greater role with the company than simply serving as a conduit for raising capital. The deal includes placing Anthony and Goldfarb as advisors with the capacity to influence the expansion of the company’s focus on fitness and health, as well as add to its marketing strategy. The Orange Chef Co. will rely on them for their industry experience and personal insights into the continued growth and success of the company.

“Nutrition is critical to my lifestyle,” said Anthony. ”Whether it’s training in the off season or recovering after a game, I’m always trying to make sure my body gets the nutrition it needs to keep performing at a high level. Prep Pad makes it easier than ever to keep track of your diet in incredible detail, and learn where you may be falling short. This kind of technology goes far beyond the professional athlete, and even the everyday athlete. It addresses the more pressing issue of the understanding the basics of nutrition.”

The Prep Pad referred to by Anthony is essentially a nutrition scale established by The Orange Chef Co. that aids in breaking down the amount of carbohydrates, fats, protein, calories and all the vitamins and nutrients that are being consumed by the user. It works in conjunction with The Orange Chef Co.’s free Countertop app, which contains a 200,000+ ingredient database to search and select items from. The Prep Pad was launched this past February into Williams Sonoma retail stores and online. The company plans on expanding into additional retailers leading into the holiday season.

The investment by Melo7 Tech Partners appears to fall directly in line with the venture capital firm’s stated objective — provide money to opportunistic technology startups. Athletes are typically known for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and are required to remain in shape to perform at their peak. Thus, the involvement of Anthony is a natural fit.

“It goes without saying that Carmelo’s level of athleticism, talent, and poise brings so much to our company and our brand,” said Santiago Merea, CEO of The Orange Chef Co. ”But what’s most exciting is his enthusiasm and energy for what we are doing in the kitchen space, and how it will change lives for the better.”

The Orange Chef Co., created in 2011, received $3 million from investments by Google GOOGL -0.11% Ventures, SparkLabs Global, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and other companies prior to Melo7 Tech Partners’ involvement.

“We’ve seen incredible growth in the past year since relocating the company to San Francisco to focus on the development of smart kitchen devices to make eating better much more accessible,” added Michael Tankenoff, Chief Marketing Officer of The Orange Chef Co. in a discussion with FORBES. ”In the past year, we’ve grown our team from 3, to now 25.”

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