During our monthly webinar in May, I highlighted a hot sector that is taking off in Europe, with the first shoots popping up in the US. In April, LivingSocial acquired Onosys, a company that provides a platform for restaurants to set up online and mobile food ordering systems on their websites. In Europe there has been a funding craze with $100m raised in the month of April to fund two companies growth plans, driven by acquisitions. Just-Eat, a UK-based company, raised $64m in the last week of April to continue their fast-paced acquiring, gobbling up 9 companies in the past 18 months. Their enormous presence supports 25,000 restaurants and over 250,000 customers every day, driving revenues for the restaurants on the magnitude of $750m+ annually. Delivery Hero, a hot Berlin start-up, raised €25m to fund their own growth strategy through acquisition.
This sounds and feels very similar to what was happening 12 months earlier on the daily deal/coupon side with Groupon and LivingSocial buying large international players just for the emails that they had signed up. The value drivers with the online food ordering are very different: they don't rely on one-time users driven by a bargain, the restaurants don't compromise on food or create special Deal menus, and the hungry user is satisfied both in terms of convenience and hunger pains quelled by their regular lunch spot.