There’s no doubt that food delivery has been a hot sector in the European, Israeli and Turkish tech scene over the past few years. Regardless of where you live, you’ve probably seen flyers or ads from multiple food delivery startups on the bus, on the metro or at your doorstep.
Companies from multiple geographies have built significant war chests to rapidly gain market share in Europe’s largest countries. Delivery Hero in Germany, Deliveroo in the UK, Pizzabo in Italy, La Nevera Roja in Spain, Just Eat across multiple countries, etc. The list goes on.
In 2015 alone, food delivery startups raised €1 billion in funding across 33 rounds. That’s 6.9% of all capital raised in the same period in Europe, Israel and Turkey, despite the fact that those 33 rounds accounted for just 1.6% of the region’s 1,970 total investments.
A capital-intensive business in which market share, wide availability in high-density urban areas and low margins have pushed multiple companies to raise large rounds of funding.
According to our data, throughout 2015 there were seven investments in Europe in the food delivery space worth at least €50 million each. Delivery Hero raised €386 million in two separate rounds, HelloFresh €207 million, Deliveroo €176 million and Foodpanda €128 million. And there were also other notable investments in the likes of ShopWings, Take Eat Easy or EatFirst.
At the same time, the inevitable move towards market consolidation in the hands of a small number of players started in Europe and Turkey.
Rocket Internet bought a 30% stake in Delivery Hero and also acquired Pizzabo and La Nevera Roja, which were again sold to Just Eat less than a year a later, GeoPost acquired Resto-In in France, Delivery Hero paid €540 million for Turkey-based Yemeksepeti, and Just Eat got its hands on Italian startups Clicca e Mangia and DeliveRex.
In 2015, there were 18 M&A deals involving European and Turkish food delivery startups.
Since then, the market has cooled off. A closer look at food delivery funding data shows that investment in the sector has decreased steadily since early 2015, from a peak of €486 million in Q1 2015 to €32 million (and five investments) in the first three months of this year.
Established players like Just Eat, Delivery Hero or Takeaway.com now compete with well-funded companies like Deliveroo, Take Eat Easy, Frichti or Wolt, that are trying to bring food delivery to premium restaurants and thus expand their TAM (total addressable market).
As Deliveroo’s William Shu recently put it: “It’s time to make the economics of the business work and treat every round of funding as if it was our last”.
Given the evolution of the market, every round could have been the last for many food delivery startups.