The on-demand delivery market has now raised more money in the first four months of 2015 than it did in all of 2014, and the latest beneficiary is the Brazilian mobile application and content developer Movile.
The company has received a $40 million commitment from the South African technology investor and media company, Naspers (whose other investments include global technology giants like China’s Tencent, India’s Flipkart, Russia’s Mail.ru, and Latin America’s OLX).
Movile’s latest $40 million financing, which brings the company’s total commitments to nearly $100 million, is just about keeping pace with its competitors globally. A ridiculous amount of money has been invested into delivery companies of all stripes this year, with totals reaching $1.28 billion so far this year, according to data from CrunchBase.
Technology companies like Rocket Internet (Germany’s “startup factory”) have made some of the biggest bets, but venture capital firms have also been taking big swings on the delivery space. Investments in companies like Instacart, which raised $210 million at the end of last year, and Postmates, which just raised $35 million in financing, show that investors think this is an industry that can deliver returns.
“We believe this is a billion dollar opportunity,” says Fabricio Bloisi, Movile’s chief executive. “Everyone will start to use the mobile phone to supply what they want within 30 minutes to an hour.”
In addition to all of the venture money pouring in, Bloisi points to the delivery services launched by the largest technology companies like Alibaba, Amazon, and Google.
Over the past several years, Movile, which still operates a successful content distribution business (mainly educational and entertainment apps and content for children), has made ten acquisitions to bolt on delivery services. Bloisi and his investors see the trend of online-to-offline commerce as the future of the business.
“Movile is focused on local commerce and content,” he says. “We raised this round from Naspers and we expect to double our investments in [online-to-offline services].”
Currently Movile offers food and ticket delivery services, through its iFood and Cinepapaya subsidiaries, as well as delivery logistics and online reviews through a suite of acquisitions made over the last two years. And in some ways, its expansion mirrors that of its German rival, Rocket Internet.
“We want to expand from cinema to other verticals and we want to go to Latin America,” says Bloisi. “The big thing for us is we see the synergy of local commerce. once we sell the user food we can also sell tickets or they can also buy grocery delivery. We have 65% of sales on food through mobile.
And, while the focus now is on consolidating in Brazil and moving into the rest of Latin America, Movile definitely sees their strategy in global terms.
“Probably you saw we have a food war running in the world,” says Bloisi. “There are other players including German players who are trying to beat us in the world.”
While these big competitors indubitably create obstacles in certain markets, it’s a big world, and Movile’s investors think there are still pockets of opportunity.
It is a global opportunity and we look very carefully at where we go. When we look at these opportunities we look to see what is worth buying and what is worth growing internally,” says Veronica Serra, a partner with Innova Capital. “In general you look at size and scale and what’s least penetrated in the market. It’s a touchy subject where we’re looking because we don’t want to call attention to where we looked at because of competition.