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Amazon leads $575 million funding round for U.K. food deliverer Deliveroo

The latest round of funding for U.K. food delivery start-up Deliveroo is being helmed by a familiar face – Amazon.com, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMZN).

The Seattle-based e-tailer is leading a $575 million “Series G’ round that includes mutual fund giants Fidelity and T. Rowe Price, as well as Greenoaks Capital, an I.T investment firm, a venture capital company. The round brings to $1.53 billion that Deliveroo has raised to date, the U.K. firm said Friday. Deliveroo operates in 14 countries.

Deliveroo said in a statement that it will use the funding to expand its information technology operations at its London headquarters, and to refine a service called “Editions,” which encourages existing restaurateurs and food operators to open “virtual brands” as extensions of their existing kitchens. It added that it wants to help restaurants build footprints in local neighborhoods with what it termed “low cost, low risk” programs.

Amazon would not comment beyond the announcement that was published on Deliveroo’s website. Amazon’s one experience with U.K. food delivery was not especially positive – it closed its London delivery business, “Takeaways,” in November 2018 after two years. Ironically, one of the factors that led to the demise of the business was the fierce competition from Deliveroo.

Brittain Ladd, who spent two years at Amazon as an executive in e-commerce and cross-border strategy before forming a consultancy, said Friday that Amazon will take an “active role” in Deliveroo’s operations but that “it will do so quietly. In a piece earlier this week published on the website “Observer,” Ladd said that all of Amazon’s moves, whether it be one-day delivery for its “Prime” customers or the $14 billion acquisition of high-end grocer Whole Foods Market in June 2017, is geared toward one objective – building the nation’s largest and most integrated logistics network” where inventory will be held anywhere imaginable.

“Every process within the chain of fulfilling an order will be automated,” Ladd wrote. “Amazon will leverage its mastery of data to create a living supply chain that anticipates demand, making it easier for Amazon to meet demand.

The end-game, according to Ladd, is to create the “most advanced network of logistics facilities and physical retail locations where inventory can be deployed rapidly and cost-effectively to meet customer demand in minutes, not hours or days.”

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.

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