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Shares the beef: Crowd Cow lets you buy steaks with your friends

Why it matters to you

Concerned about where your meat comes from? Crowd Cow uses local, trusted ranchers for its meat.

Crowdfunding has changed the landscape for startups, and it’s now spread outside of the traditional “give me money to help me fund my company or product” landscape. It has expanded into other areas, like real estate and now, cows. A startup company called Crowd Cow will let you get a piece of the action for a fraction of the price of buying the whole cow.

The company delivers specific cuts of meat straight to your front door. Their slogan, “Crowd Cow lets you buy a cow with friends,” sums up its business model. The idea is that you and 49 others all chip in for a single cow, then split the meat between you. Don’t worry. The farmer still does all the work, but the beef is all yours. You can choose the flank steak share, for example, for $79, while the rib steak share costs $104. Upon delivery, you’ll have between six and nine pounds of meat for your freezer. (For comparison, flank steak from a Seattle grocery store is about $12 a pound on Amazon Fresh.)

Why would anyone do this? The idea is to get away from industrial farming. Crowd Cow works with ranchers it trusts, and the founders say this gives them a better idea of how the cows are treated, what they eat, and so on. Crowd Cow even compares its approach to the “Is the chicken local” sketch from Portlandia.

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Founded by Joe Heitzeberg (who founded Snapvine and Poppy) and Ethan Lowry (the founder of Urbanspoon and Poppy), the Seattle, Washington-based cow-slangin’ company is actually doing pretty well. On Tuesday, Crowd Cow announced that has secured $2 million in funding to expand its operations. Crowd Cow has even secured investments from Zulily founders Mark Vadon and Darrell Cavens, and from former NFL-great Joe Montana.

Currently, Crowd Cow is only available in select locations. This year, Crowd Cow plans to expand its operations to include the rest of the country.