Gorillas grabs ‘close to’ $1BN, Series C values the on-demand grocery delivery biz at $2.1BN

Berlin-based on-demand grocery delivery and dark store operator Gorillas has grabbed “close to” $1 billion in Series C funds, in the latest sign of the searing investor interest driving activity in urban food shopping apps across the continent and beyond.

The round is being led by another food-focused on-demand delivery startup — Germany’s Delivery Hero — which confirmed it’s invested $235 million in Gorillas to grab around 8% of the upstart grocery delivery startup.

Gorillas already passed a unicorn valuation back in March this year, even though it was only founded last year. It’s now being valued at $2.1 billion, pre-money — and touts the Series C as the largest funding raise of a non-listed business in the European grocery delivery sector.

Commenting in a statement, Kağan Sümer, CEO and founder, said:

The size of today’s funding round by an extraordinary investment consortium underscores the tremendous market potential that lies ahead of us. With Delivery Hero, we have chosen a strong strategic support that is deeply rooted in the global delivery market and is renowned for having unique experience in sustainably scaling a German company internationally. We have the best team in our sector, leading partners, and financial resources to strengthen our market-leading position in Europe and beyond.

Also participating in the round — which comes just seven months after Gorillas bagged a $290 million Series B — are existing investors Coatue Management, DST Global, Tencent, Atlantic Food Labs, Fifth Wall, Greenoaks, A*; along with new investors G Squared, Alanda Capital, Macquarie Capital, MSA Capital and Thrive Capital.

The startup operates a network of urban dark stores to fulfill orders for speedy grocery deliveries within the cities where it offers a service (it’s available in more than 55 cities at this point, including AmsterdamLondonParisMadrid, New YorkMilan and Munich).

Since its founding in June 2020, Gorillas has scaled to operate more than 180 warehouses across its nine international markets and says its last-mile couriers (who are employed on fixed-term contracts rather than gig workers) delivered more than 4.5 million orders in the past six months alone.

The company says it’s now entering a new phase of its business following the period of rapid international growth — which will focus on building a scalable and robust business infrastructure at the same time as trying to accelerate future growth.

Specifically it said the Series C will be used to bolster its footprint in existing markets while investing further into operations, people, technology, marketing and finance infrastructures — to ensure it stays focused on customer experience.

For its part, Gorllias’ lead investor for the round — Delivery Hero — said the investment underlines its own commitment to quick commerce (aka q-commerce) globally.

“Gorillas has been setting new standards for the delivery industry by offering an efficient and sustainable alternative to traditional grocers. We have been following their stellar growth over the past few months, and we are beyond excited to be now part of their journey. Both of our companies place a lot of value on creating a strong sense of community and we are convinced that our investment will positively impact employees [and] consumers as well as our industry,” said Niklas Östberg, CEO and co-founder of Delivery Hero in a supporting statement.

“Delivery Hero is on a mission to advance quick commerce globally and we see Gorillas as one of the leaders in Europe and the U.S.,” he added. “The Gorillas team has an exceptional customer focus driving the highest retention rates we have seen in the industry. This has enabled them to reach over $300 million revenue run rate in only one year with continued double digit monthly revenue growth. We truly believe that investing in innovative q-commerce players will benefit the entire industry and set a new standard for what a great customer experience looks like.”

Early in the pandemic, a few weeks before Gorillas was born, TechCrunch discussed the grocery delivery market with Östberg — who noted that it was seeing “a larger willingness” among its customer base to have more than hot meals delivered.

A year and a half later Europe’s landscape for on-demand delivery continues to be a highly volatile, high cash burn mix.

Other well-resourced local players in the convenience grocery space include the likes of Berlin-based Flink, Istanbul’s Getir, Barcelona’s Glovo and London’s Zapp, to name a few — with plenty more upstarts scrambling to join the fray.

U.S. giant Gopuff is also actively trying to sew up the region, including by picking up local rivals.