Summary List Placement
The latest area of tech hype is superfast grocery delivery.
Startup investors are banking on a shift in consumer behavior towards online convenience, particularly in last-mile, super-local grocery delivery.
One of the buzziest European companies in the space, London-based Dija, has just launched its full product in several neighborhoods in London, promising 10-minute deliveries for everyday essentials. It will offer a flat delivery fee and claims that if it’s late, users will get three months of free deliveries to compensate.
Insider reported on Dija’s inception in November 2020 when the startup was at the center of a bidding war between startup funds, weeks after its incorporation and before its website or app was even live.
The company, cofounded by former Deliveroo employees Alberto Menolascina and Yusuf Saban, eventually sealed a $20 million seed funding round from Blossom Capital, Creandum, and Deliveroo-backer Index Ventures.
In the meantime, Dija has been trialling its product in its three initial launch areas: South Kensington, Fulham and Hackney. By the summer, Dija plans to open a further 20 hubs to provide its services to around 3 million Londoners.
“It’s been insane,” Menolascina told Insider in an interview. “Someone has to disrupt this market, from an operations perspective it is simple but it’s not for everyone.”
Dija launches as online food delivery goes firmly mainstream.
Even before the pandemic supercharged food delivery, the market was estimated to hit $117 billion by 2023. Research from Capgemini indicates that 56% of UK consumers expect to get online deliveries at least once a week in 2021.
Menolascina previously founded Supermercato24 in his native Italy and spent time working with soon-to-IPO Deliveroo, and before that European food delivery giant Just Eat.
“Things have changed a lot,” he said. “In 2014, even my mother would not use Supermercato saying it was too expensive, the team too, now she is an avid online shopper.”
The key, for Menolascina, will be based around quality and customer service. “It’s not our job to tell people what to eat,” he said. “We will partner with the best brands out there at a local level.”
Dija said that its delivery riders will be full employees with entitlement to a pension and sick pay. This is a change from his former employer, Deliveroo, whose food delivery riders are independent contractors with fewer rights.
Dija and others like it will need to demonstrate that its economics make sense, given retail is famously a low-margin proposition.
Ophelia Brown, a venture capitalist with Dija investor Blossom Capital, said the firm had the potential to be a “$100 billion-plus company” and praised the firm for a “viable solution to the problems with grocery shopping.”