Most of its current UK dark stores have come via its acquisitions of Fancy and Dija earlier this year, but it has opened its own too, and plans to have a presence in 33 UK locations by the middle of next year.
Is it simply another incredibly well-funded quick commerce player? Not quite. There’s more to Gopuff than at least some of its competitors, of which there are now countless locally – Getir, Deliveroo Hop, Gorillas, Jiffy and Zapp among them.
“I don’t view some of those companies you mentioned as competitors to be honest,” Gopuff co-founder and co-CEO Yakir Gola told The Grocer at a launch event yesterday.
Relatively speaking, Gopuff is an old-timer, having launched eight years ago in Philadelphia. According to Gola, Gopuff “created the category of instant need” – and he may have a point considering the next longest-serving player, Getir, didn’t launch until two years later.
Gopuff has come to dominate the nascent quick commerce channel in the US, and claims 80% share of it. Gola is right when he says the company has “a track record of execution”.
That track record gives it an edge over at least some of its rivals when it comes to fundraising, which is now the name of the rapid delivery game.
While eye-watering amounts of investor cash has flooded into the sector over the past 18 months, returns will only be coming to a few: the winners of this war of attrition (and bank balances).
“It’s clear Gopuff didn’t enter the UK and Europe to finish in second place. Gopuff is in it to win it,” says former Amazon executive and rapid grocery expert Brittain Ladd.
But to do so it must keep spending. “In order to be a serious contender in Europe, let alone win, Gopuff is going to have to invest billions,” Ladd says.
On that front, it appears in a better position than most – and not just because of its $1bn fundraise. “We’re not raising a bunch of money and endlessly burning money. We have fiscal responsibility,” Gola said. In fact, he told The Grocer, “We never needed to raise money”.
But it’s not the only fat-walleted firm on the scene. So is Amazon-backed Deliveroo. And DoorDash, which paid $8.1bn for rapid delivery player Wolt yesterday. Major mergers could also see Gopuff made a minnow overnight. Ladd suggests Delivery Hero, Gorillas and Getir could merge in response.
In this rapidly changing market, Gopuff could equally acquire one or more of them. Or “Gopuff, Deliveroo and Gorillas merge or Gopuff, Delivery Hero and Gorillas merge. Combining three of the top companies in food and grocery delivery would be a strategic master stroke,” Ladd says. “Gopuff is the larger and more valuable company, hence they would have to raise the funds to make it happen. However, Gopuff has proven they can raise billions with ease.”
Whatever happens – and it feels like anything could – the rapid grocery sector is going to be in a state of flux and bursting with big bucks for some time. It remains to be seen who is left at the end. Gola, at least, is certain.
“Before we come into a market we’ve got to be sure we’re going to win,” he said. “And we’re sure we’re going to win.”