Well, what do we have here. Just a couple of days after participating in European restaurant delivery service Take Eat Easy’s €6 million Series A funding round, ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth Rocket Internet has acquired Germany’s Volo, a startup playing in exactly the same space. If I was Take Eat Easy’s CEO I might be slightly puzzled to say the least.
Similar to Take Eat Easy, and a number of other direct competitors, such as Deliveroo in the U.K., and DoorDash in the U.S., Volo lets you order food online from restaurants that don’t traditionally offer a take-out and delivery service.
This differentiates it from Rocket Internet’s own Foodpanda, Delivery Hero, and Just-Eat, which operate a pure marketplace model that relies on the restaurants themselves to handle delivery.
A graduate of Telefónica’s startup accelerator Wayra (and first exit for the telco’s Munich-based academy), Volo originally launched in October 2014 in Munich, but has recently expanded to Berlin, and Frankfurt, with the German cities of Hamburg, Cologne, and Düsseldorf up next. It’s also talking up aggressive international plans — 9 counties, apparently — including Italy, Spain and Sweden.
The fact that Volo operates in Germany, with Spain seemingly imminent, appears to put it on a path to directly compete with Rocket Internet investment Take Eat Easy, which says its immediate expansion plans include the two countries. Plans can change of course, so we will have to wait and see. Rocket Internet declined to comment.
Terms of Rocket Internet’s acquisition of Volo also remain undisclosed, so it’s hard to tell if this is a home run for the young startup, or its backers, including Telefónica.
“Together with the founders of Volo, we have devised an exit strategy and are very proud to have implemented this so successfully,” says Garan Goodman, Managing Director of Wayra Deutschland, in a statement. “The team at Volo have made some fantastic achievements. We are more than impressed by the potential for success presented by the teams currently at the Academy”.
Meanwhile, whatever the subtleties (or not) of Rocket Internet’s strategy, it’s clear that it continues to see food delivery, or moving convenience food online in all its various guises, as a massive growth opportunity. The e-commerce giant has been aggressively building out its Global Online Takeaway Group, a roll up of all its food delivery companies, which include online take-out ordering service Foodpanda, and a significant stake in rival Delivery Hero.