Turkish Delivery Startup Getir In Talks to Buy Flink

(Photo credit: Herodotptlomeu/Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo credit: Herodotptlomeu/Wikimedia Commons)

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Even the shortest-lived Mayflies got nothing on instant-grocery startups.

Istanbul-based grocery delivery startup Getir is in talks to buy up Berlin-based startup Flink, according to a report in the Financial Times. Speedy grocery startups experienced a European boom two years ago, but the wheel of time brought a tidal wave of consolidation to the sector, which appears to be drawing to a close.

15 Minutes of Fame

In 2021, instant-delivery startups proliferated in Europe like an algae bloom. At least 19 separate instant-delivery startups sprung up on the continent in 2021 according to Insider, and investment in them quintupled between 2020 and 2021, from $1 billion to $5 billion. These companies, which promised 15-minute delivery from mini-warehouses dotted around cities, were powered by wads of VC cash to keep them churning on the razor-sharp margins (or, more often, losses) that characterized their business models.

It’s taken only slightly longer than 15 minutes for that bubble to burst, as the vast majority of those companies have either gone bankrupt or been acquired in the last few months. Now it’s up to financial Darwinism to decide who will be the last delivery app standing:

  • The consolidation wave reached critical momentum in May 2022 when Flink acquired Cajoo. Not only did the deal herald the end-days of pluralistic delivery startups, it became the subject of a viral TikTok, the truest marker of influential M&A (or perhaps just a riff on how silly their names were, you decide).
  • Flink said in January that it expects its core German business to be profitable by the end of this year and that its international business should be in the black by the end of 2024. In April, Insider reported Flink was looking to raise a $100 million injection from investors and take a sobering trim to its valuation.

Gorilla Warfare: Even if Getir ends up the only 500-pound gorilla (made easier by its acquisitions of Berlin-based delivery startup Gorillas, alongside London-based Weezy and Spain’s Blok), that’s no guarantee of success. It faces competition from food-delivery apps like Uber Eats, a company that knows all too well what happens when growth-over-profit economics grind to a halt.