Dija, a new U.K.-based startup founded by senior former Deliveroo employees, is closing in on $20 million in funding, TechCrunch has learned.
According to multiple sources, the round, which has yet to close, is being led by Blossom Capital, the early-stage venture capital firm founded by ex-Index and LocalGlobe VC Ophelia Brown. It’s not clear who else is in the running, although I understand it was highly contested and the startup had offers from several top-tier funds. Blossom Capital and Dija declined to comment.
Playing in the convenience store and delivery space, yet to launch Dija is founded by Alberto Menolascina and Yusuf Saban, who both spent a number of years at Deliveroo in senior positions.
Menolascina was previously director of Corporate Strategy and Development at the takeout delivery behemoth and held several positions before that. He also co-founded Everli (formerly Supermercato24), the Instacart-styled grocery delivery company in Italy, and also worked at Just Eat.
Saban is the former chief of staff to CEO at Deliveroo and also worked at investment bank Morgan Stanley.
In other words, both are seasoned operators in food logistics, from startups to scale-ups. Both Menolascina and Saban were also instrumental in Deliveroo’s Series D, E and F funding rounds.
Meanwhile, few details are public about Dija, except that it will offer convenience and fresh food delivery using a “dark” convenience store mode, seeing it build out hyper local fulfilment centers in urban high population areas for super quick delivery. It’s likely akin to Accel and SoftBank-backed goPuff in the U.S. or perhaps startup Weezy in the U.K.
That said, the model is yet to be proven everywhere it’s been tried and will likely be a capital intensive race in which Dija is off to a good start. And, of course, with everybody making the shift to online groceries while in a pandemic, as ever, timing is everything.