The salad days are over for many startups in the online food delivery sector. Following a long period of cash injections, splashy and high profile promotions, and interesting experiments toying with the cutting edges of tech, layoffs, M&A, and dropping valuations are too often the stories you’re more likely to hear about a lot of them these days. Today, though, comes an interesting exception: Rohlik, an online grocery delivery startup based out of Prague with some 1 million customers, is announcing that it has raised €220 million ($231 million at current rates), money that it will be using to continue investing in its current markets and its growth.
This is a Series D and it is being led by a new backer, Sofina, with previous investors — Index Ventures and founder/CEO Tomáš Čupr are the two being named — also participating.
Given the current problems in the market — other big European players Getir and Gorillas have laid off staff; Deliveroo confirmed to us that it has frozen hiring; and others are consolidating with bigger rivals as their runways run out — Rohlik has pointedly noted with its announcement today that this Series D, happening during a “turbulent” time, is coming in at a higher valuation than its Series C.
However, it’s declined to give a precise figure, so that could mean anything. When Rohlik last raised money — $119 million almost exactly a year ago — it was valued at €1 billion, which was $1.2 billion at the time, but that figure is now closer to $1 billion given the decline of the euro against the dollar at the moment.
It also noted that revenues were €500 million in 2021 (but declined to give current numbers), and that has been profitable in the markets where it operates in Hungary and the Czech Republic, respectively since 2021 and 2018.
“Series D in this tough market is a great achievement for Rohlik and the entire team. Without our great people, we wouldn’t be in this position. This raise gives us a chance to emerge as a category winner in the next few years and I am excited about what lies ahead,” said Čupr in a statement.
On-demand food delivery has been riding a wave of hype for the last couple of years, with the many different permutations of the model — ‘instant’ delivery, hot takeout from restaurants, hot takeout from cloud kitchens, groceries, booze and non-essentials, autonomous delivery robots, etc etc — enabled by bags of money from investors, a strategy among a lot of players of flooding the market to build out their delivery networks and get acquainted with more consumers by way of cut-price promotions, and of course a global health pandemic that led many people to stop visiting physical stores as much, if at all.
All of that has taken very clumsy downshift in the last several months led by inflation and a very bearish looking stock market, which has slammed all of…