With early sales data and consumer polling suggesting that the global digital food ordering market will continue to grow, even as consumers around the world begin returning to their public lives, investors are showing interest in the burgeoning category. In fact, funding for Czech grocery startup Rohlik, an online supermarket that touts 2-hour delivery times and its extensive inventory, just surpassed the $1 billion mark. Its latest 100 million euro (about $119 million) Series C fundraise brings its valuation to 1 billion euros (about $1.2 billion), TechCrunch reports.
The company, which operates in the Czech Republic as well as Austria and Hungary, and which will soon launch in Germany, plans to use these funds to expand to Romania, Italy, France and Spain.
“They were all in the first plan we wanted to present to investors, but we felt we were unproven coming from Eastern Europe,” Rohlik Founder and CEO Tomáš Čupr told the publication. “Now we feel like we can unleash what we saw before, which is that with the high penetration of mobile shopping, we have a chance to disrupt groceries in Europe.”
In addition to selling groceries, Rohlik also sells household goods and pharmaceutical items and even offers clothing through British retailer Marks & Spencer. The company aims to be a one-stop shop. As Čupr put it, “We want to save your Saturday in a few clicks.”
This strategy, using grocery as an entry point for other retail categories, could be the difference between the eGrocers that thrive in years to come and those that fall by the wayside in this crowded space. After all, grocers have an opportunity that other eTailers do not. As Orlee Tal, CEO of Israel-based grocery tech solution provider Stor.ai, described it to PYMNTS in a recent interview, “Grocers have one huge benefit over other verticals, which is the customer attention. There’s no other vertical where customers are coming to the store, to the website, every week, and other eCommerce websites would kill to get customers visiting them every week.”
Of course, grocery is not the only food category that has become more digital since the start of the pandemic. Consumers are also ordering more restaurant meals to be consumed at home, with the restaurant and grocery categories becoming increasingly fungible. Recent PYMNTS data find that two-thirds of United States restaurant customers are now ordering restaurant meals to be eaten at home, and these customers are 31 percent more likely to order for off-premises consumption than on-premises.
With global investors taking note of this rising interest in digital restaurant delivery, Dubai-based Kitchen as a Service (KaaS) company Kitopi, which describes itself as the “world’s leading cloud kitchen platform” announced Thursday (July 1) that it had raised $415 million in Series C funding.
“Kitopi will channel the new funding to fuel its continued expansion within the Middle East and support entry to new markets such as Southeast Asia, which has a highly attractive and fast growing online food delivery market,” said the company’s official statement following the fundraise.
Meanwhile, last month, Turkey’s Getir grocery delivery service raised $550 million, bringing its valuation to over $7.5 billion, as Berlin-based 10-minute grocery delivery startup Flink announced its own fundraise of $240 million. Additionally, smaller delivery-centric food technology companies are announcing fundraises to the tune of tens of millions every week. The eGrocery space is also about to grow more crowded in the United States — Russian grocery delivery service Samokat is looking to enter the country through an upcoming New York launch in August. The service is reported to have brought in $46 million in venture funding to support this U.S. launch.