FoodPanda, an Rocket Internet-backed online platform for aggregating and delivering food from take-out restaurants, is today announcing that it has expanded to 12 more emerging markets, taking the total number of countries that it covers to 23. The company is also in the process of raising money to help fuel the growth, essential to compete against the likes of GrubHub in the U.S., or Just-Eat or Delivery Hero based in Europe, all of which have also raised hefty funding rounds to expand their labor-intensive operations.
Rocket has a track record of raising large rounds for its incubated companies, with recent deals including $26 million for Lazada, an Asian Amazon clone, $13 million for Stripe-alike Paymill, and potentially up to $80 million for online fashion site Lamoda. As for who might be investing this time around, Rocket tends to turn to a number of repeat investors, including JP Morgan, Holtzbrinck, and Tengelmann.
Like other Samwer/Rocket ventures, FoodPanda is getting a lot of mileage out of bringing successful e-commerce business ideas — in this case, offering a logistics, online ordering and analytics backbones to take-out food businesses — in markets that its would-be rivals have yet to tackle. FoodPanda’s new markets include Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Hungary, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Senegal and Ukraine, where it operates under a variety of brands — foodpanda, foodalia, foodnation, hellofood, hungrypanda and pidiendo — and has forged “thousands” of partnerships with takeout restaurants.
FoodPanda says that it is continuing to add more, with the focus remaining Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Given that FoodPanda focuses almost exclusively on less affluent markets, and that Just-Eat raised its most recent round, $64 million, last year at one of the lower points of the European recession, it’s seems that this is at least one online business model that works despite larger economic forces at play.
But like other Rocket ventures, Rocket seems to take a hedged approach to the business — launching a number of businesses in a variety of areas, to see which works best. There is also the opportunity to leverage systems created for one business in another — for example, Payleven’s mobile payment solution can become the basis for collecting money from customers that take orders via FoodPanda.
“We have built strong relationships with thousands of partners, including the best restaurants in every country. That is how we provide the greatest culinary variety online. We see an impressive demand for food ordering online user-friendly, fast and most convenient,” said Ralf Wenzel, FoodPanda’s co-founder and newly appointed global MD appointed to further concentrate its expansion strategy and fundraising goals. Wenzel used to be the COO of Moneybookers and before that was an SVP at mobile content company Jamba/Jamster, once a part of News Corp. when it had high ambitions in new media.
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