The Delivery Oligopoly

Delivery Hero, which is now one of the emerging market leaders in food delivery, started in 2011 in Germany and has raised $2.8B in funding before it went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in June 2017. 

The company has grown immensely over the years by acquiring its way into market dominance (or taking down their websites with DDoS-attacks); in 10 years the company has acquired 26 companies according to their crunchbase profile, of which 23 are food aggregator and delivery platforms.

Now Delivery Hero seems to have embarked on a new tangent: value chain acquisitions. It acquired Instashop in September, UAE’s grocery delivery marketplace for $360M, and Glovo’s LATAM operations in August, last-mile delivery provider for $270M, both verticals that the company has not been active in. Also, last week Sweetheart Kitchen, UAE-HQ cloud kitchen operator already 60% owned by Delivery Hero (in Saudi it owns 100%) announced a $17.7M capital injection which we can only speculate increases the stake of Delivery Hero, especially since the investors of the round were not disclosed. 

According to Statista, UAE’s online food delivery market for 2020 is estimated at $1.1B up 30.6% from 2019 of which direct platform-to consumer represents 30% ($768M). At the same time, revenue growth for food-delivery-aggregators has been plummeting globally (also according to Statista) as more players enter the market, and F&B outlets adopt in-house solutions that facilitate delivery and customer retention. 

Since Talabat’s acquisition in 2015, Delivery Hero has taken over the food delivery space in the UAE with Talabat, Carriage, and Zomato (MENA operations only) in their portfolio. However, after Instashop’s acquisition, Sweetheart Kitchen’s high equity stake, and Delivery Hero’s latest partnership with Mastercard which was clearly activated in their cash-back partnership with revealing more uses for Talabat Wallet, an unavoidable question surfaces: what is Delivery Hero cooking up? …and does it plan on turning Talabat into a super-app?