Over the past year, over 50% of instant delivery startups have failed or been acquired. Consolidation continued in December, with Getir buying European rival Gorillas. Below, a look at the deal and the challenges of running an instant delivery business.
Gorillas wasn’t cut out for magic. While a magician never reveals his secrets, Gorillas showed everyone how to make $1 billion disappear: by starting an instant grocery delivery company.
Founded in May 2020, the Berlin-based business achieved unicorn status in under a year, a record for German start-ups. Its decline was equally quick. Having raised $1.3 billion, it was acquired by Getir in December 2022 for $1.2 billion, after incinerating most of its cash.
According to the Financial Times, the deal valued Gorillas at $1.2 billion and the combined entity at $10 billion. This represents a 60% haircut from Gorillas’ September 2021 valuation of $3.1 billion and a 15% discount from Getir’s March 2022 valuation of $11.8 billion (or roughly 30% when backing out Gorillas). That seems skimpy compared to public market comps like Delivery Hero, DoorDash, and Uber who shed 40–60% of their market cap over the past year, or Instacart, which slashed its private valuation by 75%.
Burn Baby Burn
Like Getir, Gopuff, and Jokr, Gorillas provides speedy delivery of groceries and convenience items. Like Getir, Gopuff, and Jokr, Gorillas caters to cash-rich, time-starved urbanites. Like Getir, Gopuff, and Jokr, Gorillas operates a network of micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) serving nearby neighborhoods. You get the point. Aside from the color of the delivery driver’s uniform — Gorillas is black, Getir is purple and yellow — and where they operate, there’s not much differentiation between instant delivery business models.
Another trait these models share is burning boatloads of cash. According to Bill Gates:
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that…