Home Run

Home Run will add 15,000 postcodes in north London including Hampstead 

Delivery startup Home Run is emerging as the UK’s Instacart as it expands its territory and prepares to launch a new, slicker app, according to analysts.

The on-demand grocery shopping specialist delivers in as little as an hour for branches of Tesco, M&S, Waitrose and Whole Foods, and has increased its territory in London by 50% from today (3 October).

It adds around 15,000 postcodes in north London including Hampstead to the 36,000 already served in the centre, west and south-west of the city.

It will be followed in around two weeks by a second expansion taking Home Run’s territory to double its size before today, according to the firm’s CEO and co-founder Takis Malavetas.

The firm is also weeks away from launching an Android and iOS app which will introduce new features including the ability to shop by writing a list instead of searching thousands of products. 

Read more: Lidl launches one-hour grocery delivery in Dublin

“It will be literally as simple as writing a text, because that’s how simple writing a shopping list is, but you can checkout that shopping list,” said Malavetas.

It will be offered alongside Home Run’s existing iOS-only app, rather than replace it, but will make a “standalone product” with a new name yet to be announced, he said.

Ray Gaul, senior VP of retail insights at Kantar Consulting, said: “I absolutely believe that this is the closest thing to a UK version of Instacart.”

Gaul said Home Run was also emerging as the most likely of several UK startups to partner with Instacart. “Often these companies build the business model having studied the success of the other with the eventual aim of merging and taking the best of both business ideas.

“You could easily see a situation where Instacart and Home Run decide to merge in the future and even where a tech company like Google could invest in them.”

Orders would be taken initially for Waitrose branches in new postcodes covered from today, with other retailers added soon albeit with the possible exception of Whole Foods, Malavetas said. “Whole Foods might not have stores in the areas. I think that’s the only one that’s a bit problematic but the rest have big stores there,” he said.

Read more: Waitrose launches two-hour delivery service in London

Home Run, which launched in 2016 as Convibo before changing its name, has store pickers who send customers notifications if unsure of a product selection. The firm can offer its service without collaboration from retailers but is also recognised as a partner by some.

An M&S spokeswoman said: “We’ve partnered with Home Run on a small-scale trial at the M&S High Street Kensington store.”

A recent recruitment ad on Home Run’s website said the operation was ready to expand into the rest of the UK.

In July this year the startup raised £470k in a Seedrs funding round for expansion into the rest of Europe with a new product offering grocers an e-commerce platform under their own branding, supported by pickers and couriers.