Miki Kuusi, CEO and co-founder of Wolt.
Wolt, a food delivery app that’s expanded into groceries and retail, has raised $530 million as it tries to take on Amazon.
The funding round in the six-year-old company was led by ICONIQ Capital, which has also invested in Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba and Zoom. It brings total investment in the firm to $856 million. Wolt, which did not disclose its latest valuation, said it will use the money to “continue expanding beyond restaurants.”
Miki Kuusi, who founded Wolt in 2014 in Helsinki, told CNBC: “Our mission is to enable local restaurants and other brick and mortar operators to have the tools at their disposal to provide a better e-commerce experience to their local customers than what their massive overseas competitors are able to do today.”
He added: “We are huge believers that the next wave of e-commerce will go from same week and same day delivery to delivery within the next 30 minutes or so as the standard. That’s what we’re focused on building in all of our markets, starting with the restaurant.”
When Wolt launched in Helsinki in 2015, it had just 10 restaurants on its platform and a small handful of downloads. By 2016, Wolt had around 100,000 app users and 450 restaurants.
Today, Wolt boasts over 10 million users across 129 cities in 23 countries. It claims to have 27,000 restaurant and retail partners, 50,000 couriers and 2,000 employees.
While Amazon is huge in the U.S. and many other countries, it isn’t as well established in some corners of Europe and large swathes of Asia. In fact, the tech giant only has dedicated online stores for around 17 countries worldwide.
Amazon launched its first Nordic online store in Sweden last October with the domain name Amazon.se, but there isn’t the equivalent in Norway and Finland. This means that customers there must make purchases via Amazon stores in other European countries such as the U.K. (Amazon.co.uk).
But while Wolt looks to take on Amazon, Amazon is also encroaching on Wolt’s turf: restaurant deliveries.
Amazon has invested in London’s Deliveroo, leading a $575 million funding round in the company in May 2019 in exchange for a 16% stake. Deliveroo has also started delivering groceries in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic makes people think twice about leaving their homes.
Amazon also sells groceries on its platform from supermarkets like Whole Foods, as well as Morrisons and Booths in the U.K.
Raising capital during coronavirus
Wolt’s Kuusi said that it took the company less than three weeks to close the new funding round.
“We went from the first calls to signing a term sheet in roughly two and a half weeks,” he said.
Tiger Global, DST, KKR, Prosus, EQT Growth and Coatue joined as new investors. Existing investors 83North, Highland Europe, Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, EQT Ventures and Vintage Investment Partners also participated.
Kuusi is also the founder of European tech events company Slush. Slush went from a 300-person gathering in Helsinki in 2008 to one of the world’s biggest tech events — attended by more than 30,000 people every year before the coronavirus pandemic.