And as with every hot commodity, there’s bound to be an alternative player (or 10) bubbling along just below the surface. Perhaps one with a healthier, more direct approach. A co-op, so so speak.
Entre, La Ruche Qui Dit Oui !. Not exactly a new player on the market, as they were founded in 2010 by Guilhem Cheron, Marc-David Choukroun, and Mounir Mahjoubi, and provide a platform for producers to sell their ultra-fresh food to local consumers at a fair market price.
The service is supported by a vast physical network of La Ruche hosts who act as conduits between farmers and consumers at local collection points, better known to customers as Ruches, a.k.a. weekly assemblies.
Now active in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, the company counts 10,000 farmers, 1,000 Ruches, and 80,000 monthly active subscribers.
Now, remember the aforementioned giants with the home delivery service? La Ruche isn’t just standing by and watching it happen, as they’ve actively been establishing their La Ruche a la Maison home grocery delivery service and are in the process of assembling a network of small grocery stores to jump into the game.
It’s exactly this type of activity that’s caught the attention of Munich-based Cipio Partners.
“The online grocery market is in an investment frenzy these days. We have found La Ruche Qui Dit Oui !, with its pan-European presence, substantial revenues, deep roots with thousands of local producers, and focus on the sourcing of quality products rather than the ever-faster delivery of the same commodities one of the most compelling investment propositions around,” comments Cipio Partner’s Roland Dennert.
While Cipio Partners declined to comment on the amount invested in La Ruche Que Dit Oui ! they did note that “several” angel investors and XAnge will be selling their shares and cashing out on their early-stage investment.
“XAnge has been an early and massive supporter of La Ruche nearly since the beginning. I want to thank Cyril Bertrand who oversaw the La Ruche investment. Many thanks also to Rodolphe Menegaux who led the first investment for XAnge in 2012,” comments La Ruche CEO Grégoire de Tilly.