Published: June 26, 2022

The Fallout in the Instant-Delivery Business

Jokr’s move to pull out the US is the latest in a slew of layoffs and restructurings for instant-delivery companies.

While a spate of rapid-delivery companies popped up—or at least gained momentum—during the pandemic, their bubbles might be bursting as demand dwindles and losses mount. Here’s a rundown of the most notable players and where they stand.

Jokr: The New York-based rapid-delivery startup last week said it’s ending operations in the US, where it has nine micro-fulfillment centers across Boston and New York, to focus on Latin America, per Bloomberg. The company also laid off 50 of its 950 workers worldwide.

CEO Ralf Wenzel told the outlet that the US has only made up 5% of its business. “Latin America is particularly underpenetrated and underserved, that’s why Jokr has put its focus and emphasis on the Latin American opportunity since the beginning,” he said in a statement.

  • In Latin America, Jokr loses under $10 million per month, according to Bloomberg.

Jokr, which opened its first US dark stores in June 2021, reached unicorn status in December when it raised $260 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. It also introduced a retail media platform in May as a new $$ channel.

Gorillas: After closing a $1 billion funding round in October, the company—founded in 2020—laid off half its staff (300 workers) in May and said it would exit Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and Spain. A spokesperson told Bloomberg last week that it’s also weighing proposals to shutter five warehouses in the UK.

  • In another unexpected move, the Germany-based startup introduced its own record label, Pedal Records, in February.

Getir: The Turkish company, founded in 2015, announced plans to cut 14% of its global staff (~4,480 people) in May, two months after scoring $768 million in funding at a $12 billion valuation.

  • Another rapid-delivery startup, 1520, ran out of money in December and closed up shop, directing shoppers to use Getir (which had not acquired 1520) instead.

Fridge No More: The startup, which debuted in October 2020, was in talks to sell some of its biz to DoorDash before it ultimately ceased operations in March. Per a Slack message CEO Pavel Danilov sent to employees, “Investors were concerned about growing competition and about bad order economics, i.e. each order brings losses to the company.”

Buyk: After its own attempts to sell part of its biz to DoorDash, Gorillas, and Gopuff, the Russian startup filed for bankruptcy and shuttered its biz in March after the war in Ukraine limited its access to funding.

Gopuff: The Philadelphia-based company, founded in 2014, was valued at $15 billion when it raised $1 billion last July. But not even a year later, in March—apparently a rough month for delivery startups—Gopuff laid off 400+ employees (3% of its workforce), following a restructuring in January that included 100 layoffs. In May, former Disney CEO Bob Iger joined as an investor and adviser, and Insider reported the company was closing or reevaluating 22 of its US warehouses. Luckily, the company still had a cool $2 billion in capital.

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