Personal shopper app Beelivery’s acquisition of similar business Pinga is the “first of many” the company has told The Grocer.

Beelivery – which launched in 2015 – said it will acquire more than 5,000 customers as part of the acquisition, and 600 drivers and riders.

“They have a very similar business model. And they’re stronger in certain areas of central London, so we saw them as a complement to our business there,” said Beelivery’s joint CEO and co-founder Yazan Bin Mohamed.

The acquisition will “further extend” Beelivery’s “already sizable lead in grocery, late night alcohol, and convenience deliveries across London” Bin Mohamed said.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, however Bin Mohamed told The Grocer that Pinga had “been struggling big-time financially. They could not carry on their operations.”

Pinga launched in Nottingham in 2018, and expanded to London the following year. In 2020 it partnered with Co-op to offer zero-emission grocery deliveries from stores. Around 500 Co-op SKUs were offered on the Pinga app, delivered to the customer’s door in 90 minutes or less, mainly on foot, electric scooter or bicycle.

Visitors to the Pinga site are now being redirected to Beelivery’s and the Pinga app has been removed from app stores.

Beelivery’s model sees orders coming via its app pinged to drivers in the area. The drivers shop the order at a supermarket, and then deliver it. Drivers pay out of their own pocket for the shop, submit receipts to Beelivery and are reimbursed the following day.

The service is offered to customers 24/7. The average delivery time is 46 minutes, Beelivery said, with 21% of orders delivered in under 25 minutes. Its riders cover 90% of all postcodes in the UK, the company claims.

The brand launched its first TV advertising campaign in July last year, and also ran a targeted campaign on Facebook to recruit women drivers and riders.

Despite dismissing the business model of the rapid grocers which deliver in around 15 minutes from dark stores, Bin Mohamed welcomed possible collaboration.

“[Getir] want to build more dark stores in the UK, and hire 6,000 riders. From an investment perspective that’s a huge amount of money. We already have 25,000 active drivers. We’ve got the numbers that can support that kind of future expansion plan. And all of our drivers are trained, they’ve done deliveries with us,” he said.

“To be clear, this is me thinking outside the box, this is not the ultimate plan. We truly believe in our business model,” Bin Mohamed said.

Nor did he rule out a partnership with a supermarket.

“We don’t want to push our platform as being associated with a certain brand yet, but it’s something we’re open to in the future. Retailers will approach us and pay us to influence our drivers to buy from their shops,” he explained.

Bin Mohamed said the company “is now exploring further M&A deals”.

“In particular we are now open towards further strategic alignment with our closest competitors. We are open towards mergers or strategic acquisition in UK or worldwide,” he said.

The company secured £2m in funding in December 2020 and is now raising a further £25m.