Tech moves illustrate growing strength of online delivery trend

Tech moves illustrate growing strength of online delivery trend

The Helsinki-based company which delivers food from restaurants, grocery stores and other local shops to consumers, has raised $530 million in new funding.

The new funding round, led by Iconiq Growth, with participation from Tiger Global, DST, KKR, Prosus, EQT Growth and Coatue, takes the total amount of financing Wolt has raised to $856 million. 

Wolt launched in 2015 in Helsinki, Finland with 10 restaurants. In just five years, Wolt has expanded to 23 countries and 129 cities. During the past year, Wolt has gone beyond restaurants and takeaways into the grocery and retail sectors: for example, it’s now possible to purchase everything from cosmetics to pet food and pharmaceuticals on the platform.

Last year, Wolt achieved unicorn status (a privately-owned startup that with a valuation exceeding $1 billion) with its €1 billion valuation following expansion into Japan and Germany.

“We operate in an extremely competitive and well-funded industry, and this round allows us to have a long-term mindset when it comes to doubling down on our different markets,”​ said co-founder and CEO Miki Kuusi. “Despite the turbulence of 2020, we’ve remained focused on growth, tripling our revenue to a preliminary $330 million against a net loss of just $38 million. Compared to the $670 million in new capital that we’ve raised during this year, this puts us into a strong position for investing in our people, technology, and markets when thinking about the next few years ahead.”

In another move that illustrates the strength of the online delivery trend in Europe, Berlin-based Delivery Hero’s share price reached an all-time high after it raised around €1.2 billion ($1.48 billion) by issuing new shares to fund growth.

The company started as a food delivery service in 2011 and now runs its own delivery platform on four continents. It aims to bring groceries and household goods to customers in under 20 minutes.

It has announced the launch of DX Ventures, an independently managed early-stage venture capital fund with a focus on investing in disruptive founder-led companies. DX Ventures currently has an initial capital of €50 million to deploy globally and is fully funded by Delivery Hero. The fund has a broad mandate to invest across a wide variety of industries, including on-demand services, food technology, sustainable innovation, artificial intelligence, fintech and logistics.

In late December the company announced it had received regulatory approval of its $4 billion takeover of top South Korean food delivery app owner Woowa Brothers.

Winners from the pandemic

The pandemic has boosted online retail and takeaway brands. Strict social distancing rules and the shift to working-from-home among consumers have increased demand for home deliveries of food and beverages.

Online retail and takeaway brands Ocado, Deliveroo and Just Eat were the UK’s fastest growing brands last year​, according to the 2020 top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands report from ad giant WPP and insight firm Kantar.

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