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On-demand chef service Kitchensurfing shuts down

The startup had raised nearly $20 million in venture capital.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Kitchensurfing, a well-funded startup that booked private chefs to cook in-home dinners, has shut down, according to three sources. The New York City-based company had raised nearly $20 million from investors including Tiger Global, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.

The startup had originally allowed customers to book chefs days in advance for at-home dinner parties, but last year moved to an on-demand model. Neither version of the service, though, produced enough demand to be sustainable for a venture-backed business. The company was competing in a crowded market, as better-capitalized companies like Blue Apron and Plated pushed the concept of meal-kit delivery while startups like DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar started delivering meals from popular restaurants that didn’t offer delivery on their own.

The website said it was down for maintenance early Friday evening, but the message changed after Recode started contacting executives.

"We are unfortunately ending service and discontinuing operations after April 15, 2016. Thank you for your support throughout the past four years," the site now reads.

The company’s founder and former CEO, Chris Muscarella, declined to comment. He co-founded it in 2012 but left the company over a year ago and is now hawking a new cast-iron skillet that raised more than $1.6 million in a Kickstarter campaign. His replacement as CEO, former Zynga exec Jon Tien, did not respond to requests for comment.

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