Food delivery startups have gone from hot to sizzling since the coronavirus pandemic started. Already popular across hundreds of cities in Europe, self isolation restrictions brought the convenient idea of ‘restaurant quality’ food at home to the forefront of more people’s minds. After a momentary dip in confidence due to sanitation worries, these comet-like companies quickly corrected their course and are continuing along the path of stellar fast-growth.
If we look at the top players on the leader board that were founded in the last 10 years in Europe, then Glovo, Deliveroo and Delivery Hero are right up there. With millions of users, 30K+ employees, combined funding rounds worth billions, and all three having hit unicorn status, there’s no stopping them.
But how exactly do they shape up when compared right next to each other? How many countries and cities are they available in? What services do they offer and what fees are involved? To get a handle on the comparison, we’ve made a short table to see them side-by-side.
Delivery Hero was founded in 2011 in Berlin by Niklas Östberg. He has since grown the company into a massive 25K+ person team of 100 nationalities over 5 continents, with around 1.5K employees in their Berlin HQ alone. They are currently the largest global food network (outside of China), operating in 40+ markets and over 600+ cities.When it comes to funding, the German company has closed a total of 16 rounds, totalling around €4.3 billion. In addition, they’ve acquired more than a few food delivery startups across Europe, such as Foody in Cyprus, to expand their reach internationally. When we interviewed founder Niklas about what sets them apart, he mentioned their local approach; operating via a number of local brands around the world they’re able to adjust to each local market. Today, it was announced that Delivery Hero will likely be accepted into the DAX, a stock index of Germany’s most valuable publicly traded companies.
Deliveroo was founded the following year, in 2012. This London-based team has since grown to a team of 5K+, operating in 13 countries and over +200 cities. The team has closed 9 funding rounds, with the last being a Series G round in May 2019, from Amazon, which it funnelled into more personalised for its users and creating more flexible, well-paid work for riders. The total raised by the startup is now approximately €1.2 billion, with it being no secret that this company has also achieved unicorn status. Regarding acquisitions, the company has made the news in recent years, for example by acquiring Scottish software company Cultivate to improve payment processes. In particular, it’s also worth mentioning that Deliveroo offers discounts for users if they order from restaurants closer to home, as well as using machine learning algorithms to optimize routes, overall allowing riders to complete more deliveries per hour and increase earnings.
Glovo is the baby of the trio, founded in 2015 in Barcelona. Despite having the smallest of all teams with +3K employees, the team has still managed to expand to 22 countries and 400+, more than its older counterpart Deliveroo. The startup has closed 9 rounds, securing in total approximately €435.2 million, the smallest amount of all three companies. Their latest funding was indeed raised in December 2019 as a Series E round, securing their spot as the second unicorn in Spain. They similarly strategise their global expansion through a number of acquisitions, such as when they recently entered the Polish market by acquiring Pizza Portal. Unique aspects to mention about Glovo is their diversification from just food delivery to also grocery, alcohol and pharmacy delivery – with the latter proving exceptionally popular throughout the pandemic.
Giants like US-based Uber Eats (2014, San Francisco), and Europe-based pioneers Just Eat (London, 2001), and Takeaway.com (Amsterdam, 2000) were on the scene 5-10 years before these three came around. In addition, in the past few years there has been a whole host of newbies on the block, including weekly meal package startups and delivery-first dark kitchens. We recently created a list of 10 food delivery startups smashing it in 2020, if you’d like to know more. In addition, ride-sharing startup Bolt recently joined the food delivery scene. In 2019, they launched their app ‘Bolt Food’, which is now present in 12 countries.
Finally, we can’t talk about food delivery startups without touching on the news surrounding rider working conditions. Questions have arisen over the ethical nature of labour conditions after strikes and court cases have repeatedly hit the news. Freelancer contracts that offer riders no holiday or sick pay, technical difficulties or mishaps resulting in just a few euros after hours of work, and public-facing roles in coronavirus times are just a few of the issues raised. As these startups continue to grow at a fast pace, they will certainly need to resolve these issues as European and national regulations start to catch up with them.
Secondly, even though restaurant food delivery is certainly a huge trend, the coronavirus pandemic may have just set off a parallel movement that could be serious competition: zero waste grocery boxes for cooking at home. As we discussed recently with the co-founders of The Mindful Chef, with people now more than ever focused on health, wellbeing, and their environmental impact, ordering a restaurant food at home might not continue to be the smart choice. In this case, it could be down to these leading startups to employ measures like more dark kitchens to guarantee even faster delivery for the services they already provide. In addition, they could diversify into these new sectors, for example with grocery drop-off or courier services, something the Glovo has already launched with (so far) huge success.
The Story of Lowe’s Frictionless, Omnichannel Retail Experience and Why the Home Depot is Spending Over Five Billion to Replicate It
Clean.io, a startup that helps digital publishers protect themselves from malicious ads, recently announced that it has raised $ 5 million in Series A funding.
CEO Matt Gillis told me via email this week that the challenge will “always” be evolving.”
“Just like an antivirus company needs to constantly be updating their definitions and improving their protections, we always need to be alert to the fact that bad actors will constantly try to evade detection and get over and around the walls that you put in front of them,” Gillis wrote.
The company says its technology is now used on more than 7 million websites for customers including WarnerMedia’s Xandr (formerly AppNexus), The Boston Globe and Imgur.
Clean.io has now raised a total of $ 7.5 million. The Series A was led by Tribeca Venture Partners, with participation from Real Ventures, Inner Loop Capital and Grit Capital Partners.
Gillis said he’d initially planned to fundraise at the end of February, but he had to put those plans on hold due to COVID-19. He ended up doing all his pitching via Zoom (“I saw more than my fair share of small NY apartments”) and he praised Tribeca’s Chip Meakem (whose previous investments include AppNexus) as “a world-class partner.”
Of course, the pandemic’s impact on digital advertising goes far beyond pausing Gillis’ fundraising process. And when it comes to malicious ads, he said that with the cost of digital advertising declining precipitously in late March, “bad actors capitalized on this opportunity.”
“We saw a pretty constant surge in threat levels from mid-March until early May,” Gillis continued. “Demand for our solutions have remained strong due to the increased level of attacks brought on by the pandemic. Now more than ever, publishers need to protect their user experience and their revenue.”
Dubbed as “challenger banks” not that long ago, the digital banks N26 and Revolut have acquired over 15 million registered users (10 million for Revolut and 5.5 million for N26) as of the first quarter of this year, putting both on a hyper-growth track. They also dominated headlines when they raised huge funding rounds in the last 6 months – N26 extended it’s series D round with an additional €92 million in May, bringing the series D total to around €520 million and an approximate €3.2 billion valuation, while Revolut raised around €460 million for its series D and an approximate €5 billion valuation in February.
Aside from the race to dominate the global markets in terms of registered users, app downloads and huge funding and valuations, how do these digital banks really compare against each other? Which one offers the best options for managing your money digitally? Which one is the best for travelling? What are the fees involved and how easy (or difficult) is it to open and maintain an account?
Check-out our side by side comparison of N26 and Revolut standard plans and see for yourself:
The free plans of both N26 and Revolut are convenient and less expensive alternatives to traditional bank accounts. Both offer flexibility for overseas transactions and international money transfers, as well as options for freelancers and small businesses. The main differences are that as N26 has a German banking license, deposits are guaranteed up to €100K while a similar guarantee is not yet available for Revolut in the EU and N26 does not charge anything for card transactions in foreign currency. Unlike Revolut, N26 is no longer available in the UK but has been available in the US by 2019, while Revolut became available in the US only in March 2020. N26 is available in both the web and mobile app versions, while Revolut is only in mobile app. Revolut has features that are not available in N26 like access to cryptocurrencies.
N26 and Revolut both have premium/paid plans that offer travel insurance features like overseas travel, luggage, and trip insurances. N26 premium plans offer extra lifestyle features such as mobility insurance for shared vehicles as well as winter sports insurance.
N26 and Revolut’s stories
N26 was founded in 2013 in Berlin by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal, with the aim of making banking easier and more transparent for millions around the world. In 2015, it launched its first products with its free N26 bank accounts and N26 Mastercards in Germany and Austria. It secured a full European banking license from the European Central Bank in 2016 and in 2017 introduced its premium account with N26 Metal. As mentioned above, 2019 proved to be a banner year for N26 in terms of fundraising. This year, N26 has over 5 million customers across 25 markets, with a team of more than 1,500 employees across its main offices in Berlin, New York, Barcelona, Vienna, and São Paulo. In 2020, N26 closed their operations in the UK, citing Brexit as the cause.
Revolut was founded two years later than N26, in 2015 in London, by Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. Its aim from day one was to become a global financial superapp. By 2016, Revolut registered 100,000 users and secured its Series A funding. In 2017, it launched crypto trading and Revolut for business as well as secured its Series B funding of around €55 million. Next up, 2018 saw the launch of its premium service Revolut Metal while in 2019, it launched donations (partnering with 20 charities) and trading which brought fractional trading to its customers. This year, it expanded to the US, secured a €460 million Series D funding, and enabled open banking that allowed customers to all their external accounts in one place. Revolut has surpassed over 12 million in customers across 35 countries with over 30 in-app currencies. It has over 2,000 employees across its 20 locations globally that include offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, São Paulo, and Tokyo.
From the beginning, N26 has positioned itself as a neobank, a digital and convenient alternative to traditional banking while Revolut on the other hand rather as peer-to-peer payments and currency exchange, more on alternative financial services not readily available with traditional banks. With its recent funding, N26 intends to double down on its most promising markets (EU, US, Brazil) while Revolut wants to double down on its core features, down to providing full bank accounts in Europe in the future, replicating the many services currently available in the UK. Revolut also intends to launch in the US and Japan.
One little-known home and retail automation startup might seem like an unlikely candidate to help combat the ongoing pandemic. But its founder says its technology can do just that, even if it wasn’t the company’s original plan.
Butlr, a spin-out of the MIT Media Lab, uses a mix of wireless, battery-powered hardware and artificial intelligence to track people’s movements indoors without violating their privacy. The startup uses ceiling-mounted sensors to detect individuals’ body heat to track where a person walks and where they might go next. The use-cases are near-endless. The sensors can turn on mood-lighting or air conditioning when it detects movement, help businesses understand how shoppers navigate their stores, determine the wait-time in the queues at the checkout, and even sound the alarm if it detects a person after-hours.
By using passive infrared sensors to detect only body heat, the sensors don’t know who you are — only where you are and where you’re heading. The tracking stops as soon as you leave the sensor’s range, like when you leave a store.
The technology is in high demand. Butlr says some 200,000 retail stores use its technology, not least because it’s far cheaper than the more privacy-invading — and expensive — alternatives, like surveillance cameras and facial recognition.
But when the pandemic hit, most of those stores closed — as effectively did entire cities and nations — to counter the ongoing threat from of COVID-19. But those stores would have to open again, and so Butlr got back to work.
Butlr’s co-founder Honghao Deng told TechCrunch that it began retooling its technology to help support stores opening again.
The company quickly rolled out new software features — like maximum occupancy and queue management — to help stores with sensors already installed cope with the new but ever-changing laws and guidance that businesses had to comply with.
Deng said that the sensors can make sure no more than the allowed number of people can be in a store at once, and make sure that staff are protected from customers by helping to enforce social distancing rules. Customers can also see live queue data to help them pick a less-crowded time to shop, said Deng.
All these things before a pandemic might have sounded, frankly, a little dull. Fast forward to the middle of a pandemic and you’re probably thankful for all the help — and the technology — you can get.
Butlr tested its new features in China at the height of the pandemic’s rise in February, and later rolled out to its global customers, including in the United States. Deng said Butlr’s technology is already helping customers at furniture store Steelcase, supermarket chain 99 Ranch Market, and the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi to help them reopen while minimizing the risk to others.
It’s a pivot that’s paid off. Last month Butlr raised $ 1.2 million in seed funding, just as the pandemic was reaching its peak in the United States.
Nobody knew a pandemic was coming, not least Deng. And as the pandemic spread, businesses have suffered. If it wasn’t for quick thinking, Butlr might’ve been another startup that succumbed to the pandemic.
Instead, the startup is probably going to help save lives — and without compromising anyone’s privacy.
Today Traplight, the Finnish mobile games studio focused on highly accessible mid-core games, announces the global launch of its new mobile gaming title Battle Legion alongside an €8 million funding round. Lead investor in the round is the EQT Ventures fund, with participation from Play Ventures and existing investors Initial Capital and Heartcore Capital. The funding will be used to double down on Battle Legion, which merges qualities from both mid-core and casual titles and has already secured high engagement metrics and a positive community response.
Traplight was founded in 2010 by Sami Kalliokoski, Jari Paananen and Riku Rakkola, who have more than 40 years of game development experience between them. Following the success of Big Bang Racing, which was named Best of AppStore 2016, Traplight’s 30-strong team has focused on the development of Battle Legion. The mass battle multiplayer spectator game has deep strategy elements and AI-controlled troops do all the fighting. Players can build their dream army from dozens of versatile fighters, customize everything and discover an expanding collection of skins, battlefields, portraits, banners and titles.
Lars Jörnow, Partner and Investment Advisor at EQT Ventures, said: “Many of today’s top-grossing mobile games have been produced by Nordic gaming studios and the Traplight team is set to continue this rich heritage. Industry veterans Sami, Jari and Riku are a strong founding team who have surrounded themselves with some top mobile gaming talent. The EQT Ventures team believes the Traplight team has the ambition and ability to build the next global gaming success story and we’re looking forward to supporting them on this journey.”
“We’ve learnt a huge amount in the past two years through active testing of different game ideas, building prototypes with small teams, and improving our production processes,” said Riku Rakkola, co-founder and CEO at Traplight. “We now have a game with huge potential and are proud to be partnering with EQT Ventures, Europe’s tier-1 mobile gaming investor. Lars and the team’s extensive mobile gaming experience will be invaluable as we set out to turn our vision of becoming one of the world’s chart-topping games into a reality.”