10-Min Grocery Delivery Services Picking Up Venture Capitalists for the Ride

Bessie LiuFeatures

Delivery worker for JOKR. Image courtesy of JOKR.

The on-demand industry has welcomed a new player: rapid grocery delivery services.

As we shift towards a society where people expect instant gratification in all aspects of their lives, quick commerce has proved to be a significant market for potential growth.

From Gorillas in Germany, Getir in Turkey, Glovo in Spain to London’s Weezy and Jiffy, venture capitalists have been quick to jump on board the 10-minute delivery industry which has taken Europe by storm, investing an estimated $14 billion into the space.

On-demand grocery services are also gaining momentum here in the United States. Philadelphia-based Gopuff recently secured $1 billion in its Series H funding, bringing its valuation up to $15 billion.

“Gopuff is the go-to solution for consumers’ everyday needs, fulfilling customer orders of cleaning and home products, over-the-counter medications, baby and pet products, food, drinks, and, in some markets, hot and fresh food and alcohol -- in just minutes,” a Gopuff representative told The Org.

The company was founded by Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, who met as first-year students at Drexel University. They started Gopuff out of their dorms a year later in 2013, and have now scaled their business to provide services in over 1,000 U.S. cities.

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Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, Co-founders of Gopuff. Image Courtesy of Gopuff.

“When they realized that Yakir -- the only friend of theirs at school with a car -- was spending too much time running errands for his friends, they drafted mock-ups of a delivery app on the back of their Intro to Business notes,” a Gopuff employee told The Org.

“Just a few months later, during their sophomore year, they were delivering necessities from the back of a Plymouth Voyager and flipping office furniture on Craigslist and eBay, bringing in more than $50,000, the jump-start they needed to fund their early business.”

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Quick meals delivered by Gopuff. Image Courtesy of Gopuff.

The industry really began to take off during the pandemic, when delivery subscription services surged. Entrepreneurs identified the growing demand for convenience and wanted a share in the flourishing market.

This is true for JOKR, an instant grocery delivery provider founded by Ralf Wenzel and a team of former Walmart, UBER, Delivery Hero and Softbank executives.

“The pandemic heavily impacted the grocery industry, from sourcing and procurement to distribution and customer demands. It also dramatically accelerated the shift to e-commerce with consumers becoming more comfortable with online shopping,” Tyler Trerotola, U.S. Co-founder of JOKR, told The Org.

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Ralf Wenzel, CEO and Founder of JOKR. Image courtesy of JOKR.

“If there is one thing that COVID made us all realize, it's the value of our time. No one wants to spend the precious minutes of their day waiting in long lines at grocery stores, hauling back heavy bags of groceries and not knowing if products will be in stock.”

He added that JOKR solved those problems by letting consumers “live a more spontaneous life” by ordering groceries and everyday essentials in the moment.

Many 10-minute grocery delivery providers have a similar operating model. They find properties located in populated city neighborhoods and stock the space up with inventory based on the demographics of the surrounding area. Other companies partner with neighborhood businesses and assist local business owners with distribution. Orders can be delivered quickly without motor vehicles, and delivery workers are often employed full-time with fair wages and benefits.

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Delivery worker for JOKR. Image courtesy of JOKR.

Such is the case at JOKR, Tretola said, where employees are full-time as opposed to being independent contractors. “We’re proud to have such a strong team providing a game-changing and unique customer experience to people in New York City and beyond.”

Although JOKR was only founded in April 2021, it is already live in multiple cities across the U.S., Latin America and Europe. The company has raised $170 million in its Series A funding led by prominent Venture Capital firms including Balderton Capital, GGV Capital, Tiger Global and Banana Capital.

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