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European on-demand delivery startup Glovo has raised €150 million ($167 million) in a series E round of funding led by UAE-based investment firm Mubadala, with participation from Lakestar, Drake Enterprises, and Idinvest.
This latest round comes just eight months after Glovo announced a €150 million series D investment, and takes its total raised to more than $500 million since its inception four years ago. The company also now claims a valuation of more than $1 billion, a rare milestone for a privately held Spanish startup (though Spanish Uber rival Cabify also hit unicorn status last year).
Founded out of Barcelona in 2015, Glovo is one of a number of delivery logistics companies that provide the technological infrastructure and transport network to connect shoppers with businesses. Through the Glovo mobile app, consumers can order anything from meals and pharmaceuticals to groceries and electronics, with a Glovo courier collecting and delivering orders in less than an hour. The app also allows people to order things not specifically for sale inside the app — a shopper can request anything from any outlet and the courier will buy it from a shop on their behalf.
Glovo currently claims more than 1.8 million users across 288 cities, and employs over 1,500 people globally. The company also said that it’s “moving towards profitability” across its business, though it didn’t give a timescale as to when it might achieve this. Glovo said that is already profitable in its domestic Spanish market.
The state of play
Glovo operates in 26 markets across Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and claims to be one of the top two players in 24 of the countries. Having raised north of $320 million in well under a year, this is indicative of the rush to invest in regional on-demand transport players. Aside from Uber’s and Lyft’s IPOs in the U.S. this year, DoorDash secured $400 million in funding at a $7.1 billion valuation. Postmates notched up another $225 million at a $2.4 billion valuation as it prepares to go public. In Europe, Amazon led a $575 million investment in U.K.-based food delivery network Deliveroo, though anti-competition regulators are currently scrutinizing this deal.
The bottom line is it’s impossible for even the biggest and best-funded companies to infiltrate every market, which leaves the door wide open for the likes of Glovo to step in and make their mark.
“To have achieved unicorn status is something truly exciting and a testament to the talent within the company, and their determination to keep innovating and disrupting the on-demand delivery space,” Glovo cofounder and CEO Oscar Pierre said. “Despite our rapid growth and new status, we still have the same vision we’ve always had: to make everything within the city instantly available to our customers.”
With another $167 million in the bank, Glovo is in a strong position to double down on its position in existing markets, and although it hasn’t ruled out launching in the U.S., that is unlikely to be a core focus in the foreseeable future.
Glovo could be an appealing acquisition target for a big U.S. tech companies such as Uber, which is currently in the process of buying Middle East ride-hail rival Careem. Reports actually emerged a few months ago that both Uber and Deliveroo were in early-stage discussions to buy Glovo, while Glovo itself entered the Polish market when it bought local food delivery platform Pizza Portal for nearly $40 million. Based on recent activity, it’s clear that consolidation is very much the name of the game in the food-delivery/on-demand transport realm.
Glovo is also at the forefront of a growing trend toward so-called “dark stores” and virtual kitchens — that is, delivery-only retail facilities and kitchens that lean entirely on on-demand transport infrastructure. This type of business model enables companies to keep their overheads down, given that they don’t have to invest in premium properties to facilitate walk-in customers — it’s built entirely for online consumers.
This is one area Glovo is investing heavily in, and an extra $167 million will go a long way toward supporting this push. Glovo currently operates seven dark stores in Europe and Latin America, and is planning 100 similar locations by 2021. For context, Uber cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick recently launched a new venture called CloudKitchens, which operates virtual delivery-only kitchens — it recently closed a $400 million funding round at a reported $5 billion valuation.
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