$75m shot in the arm for food delivery site

PIONEER: Foodpanda CEO Wenzel said the plan is to be the first mover in markets where online food delivery isn't mainstream.


    Aug 19, 2014

    $75m shot in the arm for food delivery site

    WITH a fresh US$60 million (S$75 million) fund injection, food delivery site Foodpanda continues its march towards global domination.

    The company, which is owned by German super incubator Rocket Internet, has just announced the latest investment round, which brings its total funding raised to date to just over US$100 million.

    Just two years old, Foodpanda is already available in 40 countries across South-east Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In Asia, it is in places such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

    Foodpanda CEO Ralf Wenzel told The Business Times during a visit to Singapore that the plan is to keep breaking new ground in markets where online food delivery isn't mainstream.

    The company has found that, even in most first-tier cities, there isn't a dominant food delivery site that works with a variety of restaurants, and it's hoping that it can quickly move into this space.

    "In every market, food delivery is pretty much offline still, so we want to be the first mover," Mr Wenzel said.

    Foodpanda works by providing its delivery order system to restaurants. The company takes orders from consumers via its website or mobile app and passes the orders along to the restaurants. It takes a cut from the restaurants on each order.

    The site's additional value proposition to food places is the stream of hungry visitors to the website that may be attracted to ordering from a new place.

    Rocket Internet's other businesses include Zalora and Lazada, which are headquartered in Singapore.

    Foodpanda's 20 staff in Singapore generally work to put more restaurants under its umbrella. They also help with technical installations for restaurants which have their own systems, but want to integrate with the Foodpanda network.

    Till recently, online food delivery has been a luxury service reserved for users with easier access to Internet connectivity, but the proliferation of smartphones is changing that, said Mr Wenzel.

    Foodpanda has shifted gears and plans to pour in a larger proportion of its engineering hours into mobile, as a result of this trend, he added.

    "Initially, we thought of mobile as an additional channel to the Web, but we now see that more users are on the mobile. Mobile growth rates are also twice that of Web, and mobile retention rates and average basket sizes are higher too. This is true across all the countries we're in," he said.