Food delivery startups are eating each other.
Berlin-based Delivery Hero has made its second acquisition in six months, this time buying a Kuwaiti rival called Carriage. Delivery Hero didn’t say how much it paid.
Delivery Hero said the acquisition will expand its presence in the Middle East, where it already operates under the name Talabat. Unlike Carriage, though, Talabat doesn’t actually deliver food itself, it just provides an app interface for customers to place orders through. Restaurants need to work out delivery logistics themselves.
Carriage, judging by its site, is more like the UK startup Deliveroo. You place an order for food via its app, and then a Carriage delivery driver will collect it from your chosen restaurant and deliver it to you. Carriage also lets restaurants add themselves to its marketplace if they don’t offer delivery services themselves. It only operates in Kuwait.
Delivery Hero CEO Niklas Östberg said: “Carriage is an innovative player in the Middle Eastern food delivery market with an excellent management team.
“It will be a perfect addition to our current offering under the Talabat brand and strengthen our foothold in this region, where we see significant growth potential.”
By itself, the acquisition might not sound like much. But food delivery is fiercely competitive, and a few players like UberEats and Just Eat (which owns Delivery Hero’s UK business Hungryhouse) are fighting to stay on top. Just Eat bought Hungryhouse and Canadian firm Skipthedishes for £266 million in December, though the UK’s competition authorities are probing that deal. It isn’t just in the UK either — nascent Indian delivery startup Fitmeal Solutions shut down less than a year after raising funding, according to VC Circle, and one of its founders joined UberEats.
Delivery Hero is backed by German startup factory Rocket Internet. While it has effectively pulled out of the UK with the sale of Hungryhouse, its business is booming, particularly in Asia. First quarter revenues rose 93% from €63 million (£55 million) in 2016 to €121 million (£105 million) in 2017, with Asian revenue up 222%. At the time, Östberg said the company wasn’t profitable, but that it was considering an IPO.