The gorillas have closed their doors in Italy, and the news is truly amazing: because it has more than 500 workers, because the entry into Italy was accompanied by so much fanfare and because the retreat satisfies the inhabitants of Cassandra, always ready to interpret facts as harbingers of disaster. End of startups, venture capital winter, delivery crisis. But reality is always more complex than how it is represented. There is a global economic situation and the crisis of an extreme delivery model, to the point that, according to some rumors, even Getir, a Turkish startup competing with Gorillas, is looking for a solution to exit the southern European market.
Gorillas in crisis to exceed speed
Gorilla downsizing certainly tells us that speed is not without profit, at least not any longer in the world after the pandemic and the war in Europe. Finds it on his skin Kagan Sommer, founder and CEO of Gorillas, who had the animal that inspired him tattooed on his neck to christen the startup founded in Berlin just two years ago: Born to bring home shopping in 10 minutes, the startup that became a unicorn faster, has grown from Berlin to nine markets, from 400 to 1500 employees in twenty months. very high speed…
What role will technology play in traditional stores?
The withdrawal from Italy is not a surprise
It is not surprising that the gorillas left Italy. For several months there was talk of the need to cut costs, perhaps abandoning some of the less interesting markets, and a few weeks ago the massive downsizing began at headquarters in Berlin where in February it was still working on a new round of 700 million after 1 billion by Fall 2021.
Then Putin spoiled every budget when he decided to attack Ukraine and soured markets around the world. To the world of startups, scaling, and unicorns, it was a cold shower shutting down exciting financial plans based on bold valuations and funding rounds every six to 12 months. just think of Drying Klarna . RatingIt is a private company but lost three-quarters of its value within a few days. bubble? No, just overvaluing the upper bound against the bottom line, which leads to an even more painful correction as the markets were richer and more generous.
Why did Gorillas decide to leave Italy among the nine markets it is in? Perhaps the answer lies in a combination of several factors that led to this decision. Having to cut costs and prove to investors the willingness and ability to “settlement”, one leaves the market in which one has operated recently and a region, Southern Europe, which is, rightly or wrongly, one of the least developed from a digital point of view and therefore the least likely to use online services . It should also be noted that Gorillas does not expect to be able to receive investments from Italian operators. Of course he will never leave London or Madrid.
The difficult challenge of fast trade
In this context, the weakness of the business model also reveals itself: express commerce (here you can find an in-depth analysis of the new delivery model) based on dark shop networks and home delivery in a few minutes. Gorillas was born on the heels of the success of Delivery Hero, founded in 2011, which saw the stock drop from more than 80 euros in February to 35 at the beginning of July, with a capital of nearly 9 billion. It was re-launched by focusing on the speed of food delivery at a time when groceries seemed like the new promised land.
But Being able to deliver anything by an acceptable margin in less than 15 minutes is above all a logistical challenge. Capital-intensive that can be encountered when capital is in abundance, in fact. So it’s a serious promise, probably just meant for urban purposes, let’s say very little organization and a busy life. An unattractive promise to return to the shops, especially if the offer is not wide.
Fighting Italian Gorillas That Don’t Do Fast Trade
Giovanni Cavallo, founder of Macai, does not like the expression fast trade even if his company is immediately presented as an Italian competitor to Gorillas in the beginning. “But from the start we interpreted e-commerce differently, not irritating the speed aspect but the service aspect and breadth of supply.” what does that mean? Get four times more references than the average clip. “When fully operational, we will reach 7,500 references, like a medium-sized supermarket,” the model the project intends to bring online.
The climate has changed, Cavallo admits, but Macai has been growing 10% every week since January, is in five cities and aims to double by the end of 2022, has a team of 60 people set to grow according to the needs of the next round. expected in the second semester. Macai raised 3 million before it came to market, October 2021, and this year plans to close a double-digit seed. “Delivery speed is important but that’s not all, presentation is also important,” Cavallo stresses.. “Our goal is to become a full-fledged online supermarket and not a digital copy of the store where you can find the basic call Italy minimarket, ed.. Our focus is on presentation. Then on speed.”
The speed with which Gorillas withdrew from the Italian market, leaving hundreds of people without work overnight. “We’ve said we’re interested in hiring some people who can bring value to our team,” Cavallo reveals. “The goal is to be as agile as possible but we have a recruiting plan for the next few months.” “The narrative has changed, inside and out,” Cavallo concludes. “Less growth and more economic sustainability is the mood for the new season.” And not just in delivery.