Grocery delivery apps became even more important during the lockdowns because they were able to provide food and groceries for people who could not leave their homes. These apps are a crucial part of the daily routine for many people in the UK, even after the lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Investors funded over £5B to grocery delivery apps such as Getir, Gorillas, Dija, Weezy, Zapp, Fancy, Jiffy, and Beelivery. The UK’s supermarket giant Sainsbury’s former Justin King invested in Dundee-based Snappy Shopper. The launch of two foreign big players, Gorillas from Germany and Getir from Turkey, and Weezy’s fast growth rate in their first year of operation that makes Deliveroo’s growth an underachievement created an incredibly competitive grocery delivery app market in the UK.
People in the UK have the freedom to get instant delivery from at least tens of different apps, especially in large cities like London. The options increase if you add food delivery apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats that also deliver groceries from specific stores.
Weezy was founded by Alec Dent and Kristof Van Beveren in September 2019, just before our daily lives started to get reminiscent of solitary confinement —hopefully, those days are over, never to come back. The British and the Belgian entrepreneurs raised £1M as their first investment in the Pre-seed Round in August 2020, and around £14.5M in the Series A round in January 2021.
Almost all of the delivery apps promise fast delivery, but Weezy’s difference is placing their “dark stores” (or warehouses you may say) so strategically, the longest distance to ride from these stores to customers takes only seven minutes. They take advantage of this for employee satisfaction and create a win-win situation for their couriers. Weezy doesn’t use the gig model —they pay per hour— so they prevent the couriers “to speed around like crazy,” says Dent in an interview.
Artur Shamalov and Vladimir Kholiaznikov founded Jiffy in London with the promise of ultrafast delivery. The startup not only delivered ultrafast groceries to its customers but also showed ultrafast growth by raising about £4.8M in funding in less than a year.
Shamalov and Kholiaznikov definitely took advantage of the need for online grocery shopping during the pandemic, and with a solid marketing strategy, they are now one of the best grocery delivery apps in the UK, especially in London.
They used their first £2.6M funding to open warehouses in Westminster, Waterloo, Lambeth, Battersea, Clapham Town, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Hackney, Whitechapel and Stepney Green.
Dija is another fast-growing startup based in London, even faster than Jiffy. Alberto Menolascina and Yusuf Saban founded Dija during the pandemic in November 2020. The founders are not unfamiliar with the delivery business since both of them were colleagues at Deliveroo. Saban worked at Deliveroo from 2016 to 2020, and Menolascina was a company member from 2015 to 2018.
The Mediterranean duo —Menolascina is Italian, and Saban is Turkish— managed to raise around £14.5M just a month after the company’s foundation, one of Europe’s largest-ever fundraises at this stage.
The US grocery delivery giant GoPuff acquired Dija on August 11, 2021. It is GoPuff’s second UK acquisition since they acquired Fancy in May 2021.
Editor’s note: Former version of this article mentioned acquisition talks between GoPuff and Dija. The article is updated on August 12, 2021.
Getir is unquestionably Turkey’s biggest grocery delivery app. It was founded by Turkish entrepreneur Nazım Salur in 2015. The unicorn from Istanbul launched in London and Birmingham in the UK among other European cities such as Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Paris in France, and Berlin in Germany throughout 2020 and 2021.
Getir made its first acquisition recently by buying the Spanish online grocery startup from Barcelona, BLOK. So it’s safe to say that we can see them go online in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, where BLOK operates, soon. Getir is also getting ready to launch across several cities within the US.
Berlin-based startup was founded by Jörg Kattner, Kağan Sümer, and Ronny Shibley in May 2021. Gorillas raised over £240M in various funding rounds, and it’s a European unicorn that hit a $1B valuation just nine months after its launch.
Gorillas launched delivery services in London in March 2021, and now it’s operating in four more cities across the UK, which are Cambridge, Manchester, Southampton, and Nottingham.
The company’s expansion is not limited to the UK. They also deliver groceries in some of the major cities in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Spain, and Milan in Italy.
Beelivery is a London-based startup founded by Lee Parkinson and Yazan Bin Mohammad and delivering groceries from local convenience stores to customers’ doors since 2015. As the UK’s one of the top delivery apps, Beelivery is looking to grow its customer number by adding more than 450,000 new customers whilst expanding its services to North America and Europe.
Earlier this year, several experienced members joined Beelivery to achieve its ambitious goals. Chief Operations Officer, Paul Gott says “[t]he added firepower now in our leadership team will help us continue to scale our infrastructure to meet our growing demand and ambitious plans.”
Navid Hadzaad founded Zapp in November 2020 and the startup raised over £72M in March on a Series A funding round, led by Atomico and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The company has one of the strongest leadership teams in the market that consists of ex-employees from Deliveroo, Just Eat, Domino’s, and Tesco.
Zapp operates in most of London and Manchester as well as Paris and Amsterdam. It also employs its riders like Weezy instead of using the gig model.
Like most of the startups on our list, Farmdrop is based in London. It was founded by Ben Patten, Ben Pugh, and Ned Staple in 2012, and it raised over £30M since its launch.
Farmdrop doesn’t focus on fast delivery like most of its competitors, instead, they focus on supporting local producers, organic and healthy nutrition, sustainability and ecology.
Another feature that makes them different in the market is, they offer producers to start their digital shop on their platform. Shopping from Farmdrop is a way to support local producers and small businesses.
Last but not least, you can order recipe kits from Farmdrop which makes it a desirable option even though it’s not an instant-delivery app.
Arnie Englander and Jack Wilson founded Fancy at the end of 2020 in London, and just within five months, they managed to raise £90.5K and performed an exit. As mentioned above, the US grocery delivery company GoPuff acquired Fancy.
Even though Fancy is registered in London, they’re not delivering to customers in London, yet. Its areas of operation are Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, and Birmingham but it will start operations in London, Sheffield, and Nottingham and a few other areas soon.
Hey Delivery is one of the few grocery delivery apps in the UK that is not based in London. The company headquarter is in Stoke-on-Trent, and it’s founded by Waleed Mohammed and Adeel Nusrat in June 2018.
Hey Delivery is relatively small and doesn’t operate in many parts of the UK. So, you should visit their website and check if they’re active in your area by entering your postcode.
Snappy Shopper is another relatively small company from Dundee. Founded by Michael Callachan and raised £6.6M in two funding rounds, Snappy Shopper operates mostly in Scotland.
It partners with local convenience stores or chain markets and delivers food, drinks, and household goods. Some of the Snappy Shopper partners are SPAR, Nisa, Co-Op, and Premier among hundreds of other independent local stores.