Flink, the Berlin-based instant grocery startup, is now valued at $2.85B after raising $750M in a ro

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Instant grocery delivery continues to be a very frothy market, but today comes news of a major funding round for one player in it that investors believe will still be standing after the hype has died down. Flink , the Berlin-based startup that sells food and other essentials at supermarket prices and aims to deliver them in under 10 minutes, has confirmed that it has raised $750 million, a Series B round of funding led by a strategic backer, DoorDash, and made at a pre-money valuation of $2.1 billion ($2.85 billion post-money). Flink is already present in some 60 cities across four countries, where it covers 10 million customers; the plan will be to use the funding to continue growing that footprint, both organically and potentially by snapping up rivals (we have confirmed that most of the round is in equity with a small portion in debt for acquisitions). The involvement of DoorDash — which went public in December 2020, has a market cap currently of just under $57 billion, and is making its first foray into Europe with this investment — was a badly-kept secret in this fundraise, with reports of the investment emerging several months ago. We can confirm that DoorDash’s investment officially closed in September, with the rest of the round completed in the months following. Others in the round include strong participation from previous backer Mubadala Capital (which backed Flink in a $240 million round made as recently as June) and other unnamed new and past investors. (Previous backers also include German supermarket giant REWE, Prosus, Bond, Target Global, Northzone, Cherry Ventures and TriplePoint Capital.) We have confirmed that most the of the funding is in the form of equity, with a small portion in debt with the aim of using it for acquisitions. What’s remarkable when you consider the size of the funding is that Flink has only been around for a year, and commercially active for just seven months. In a rare interview — the company has been media-shy up to now — CEO and co-founder Oliver Merkel said that part of the reason Flink has attracted attention is because of the founders’ track records. Merkel spent years as a management consultant at Bain working in grocery and retail; co-founders Julian Dames and Christoph Cordes are Rocket Internet alums who respectively founded the Foodora food delivery startup and furniture e-commerce business Fashion for Home, acquired by Home24 where Cordes became CEO). “I think what we bring and why could we win market leadership in such a short amount of time is because we are obsessed about how we do things… and we bring some experience to the table. We made so many mistakes elsewhere, and we hope we’ve learned from those,” Merkel said. (Another reason could be that he’s quite personable for a media-shy person; that last comment was delivered tongue-in-cheek, as were many of the other quips he made off the record.) This round has been in the works for some months now and the story behind that speaks to volatility and hype in the market at the moment, and where Flink believes it stands out. DoorDash had originally come to Berlin looking at investing in Gorillas, one of Flink’s big rivals, but that deal fell through over differences between the two management styles and longer-term growth plans, the US company began talking with Flink, where it turned out executives were more aligned in their company cultures and approaches to growth. (Gorillas instead raised money from another strategic, Delivery Hero, as part of a whopping $1 billion round .) Flink, meanwhile, had been approached by both e-commerce and delivery behemoth Amazon, as well as by another U.S. instant grocery delivery player GoPuff, as an acquisition target. Both approaches didn’t go anywhere — some claim because Flink’s valuation was too high, and some claim because Flink wasn’t interested in selling. Flink at the time was also looking at a potential merger with Gorillas, a massive consolidation play that also didn’t happen at the time. Whether Gorillas and Flink do ultimately join up, that consolidation will likely come one way or the other as companies struggle to get profitable and reach positive unit economics, find new customers, and raise more money. GoPuff has been snapping up smaller instant delivery startups in Europe to expand and scale, as has Getir . Flink itself came very close to buying Cajoo in France, for the grand sum of €1, before Cajoo instead opted to raise $40 million . (TechCrunch has confirmed the above details with executives across the companies.) Putting all that MA intrigue to one side, though, Flink has been quietly building out a strategy for how it plans to tackle the market, and it starts with how it sources groceries. E-commerce is a business of economies of scale — it’s one reason why it’s so hard ultimately to compete against the behemoth that is Amazon — and the same goes for groceries, which need to be procured by r
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