Buymie, a grocery delivery startup based in Dublin, Ireland, announced this week that it has raised €2.2 million (~$2.39M USD) and extended its partnership with German supermarket chain Lidl for another two years. The Irish Times first reported the news on Tuesday. ACT Venture Capital led the round, with participation from Sure Valley Ventures and Eamonn Quinn Buymie’s chairman. This brings the total amount raised by Buymie to €4.8 million (~$5.21M USD).
Like Instacart here in the U.S., Buymie’s workers go into Tesco and Lidl stores to shop for items then deliver them to customers’ homes in as little as an hour. Buymie is available to more than 490,000 households in the greater Dublin area, and the company will use its new funds to build out its service and expand into a second city.
Demand for grocery delivery in Ireland has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. Buymie told the Irish Times that the number of monthly active customers is growing up 39 percent month over month, and that there’s been a 300 percent increase in the number of downloads for its app.
However, all this rapid growth has a downside as customers are now facing weeklong delays before delivery windows open up. Hence the need for Buymie’s fresh capital raise to scale accordingly.
The need to scale quickly is a situation U.S. grocers are all too familiar with. Shelter in place orders have resulted in a surge in online grocery shopping, forcing even the biggest grocery companies to scramble in an effort to keep up. Amazon has put new Fresh and Whole Foods customers on a waitlist before they can get deliveries. ShopRite has put customers in a virtual waiting room before they can even shop. And delivery service Instacart is swelling its ranks of Shopper gig workers to 750,000 to keep up with demand.
Here in the U.S., some states are starting to relax shelter in place orders, which raises the question of whether or not the desire for online grocery shopping will remain. A recent survey showed that 60 percent of American shoppers are “fearful” of actually going into the grocery store. So while grocery e-commerce may not be full throttle, it probably won’t disappear completely once people are allowed to leave their homes.
I’m not sure what the situation is like in Ireland, but everyone eats, and it looks like Buymie’s funding is coming at the right time.