GoPuff, the service that delivers food and other goods in under a half hour any time of day, announced today that it has raised $1.5 billion in new funding. Investors in the round include D1 Capital Partners, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Baillie Gifford, Eldridge, Reinvent Capital, Luxor Capital and SoftBank Vision Fund 1. This brings goPuff’s total amount of funding to roughly $2.5 billion.
GoPuff operates more than 250 micro-fulfillment centers that service more than 650 cities in the U.S. These fulfillment centers stock groceries, alcohol, pet supplies and other household goods for home delivery 24 hours a day. Because these micro-fulfillment centers are delivery only, they can be placed deeper within residential areas and closer to customers to facilitate fast delivery. GoPuff doesn’t guarantee 30-minute delivery, but says that’s the average time it takes to fulfill an order.
The company made headlines in November of last year when it acquired brick and mortar retailer BevMo for $350 million. Not only did that acquisition give goPuff access to BevMo’s customers, it also provided 161 physical stores from which goPuff could establish new micro-fulfillment centers.
This funding almost feels like the apotheosis of the dark store/fast delivery trend we’ve been watching for the past few month. Since the beginning of the year, a number of startups promising grocery delivery in as little as fifteen minutes have gotten funding including Weezy, Fridge No More and Jiffy. GoPuff’s $1.5 billion haul, however, blows all those other funding rounds out of the water.
With is warchest now bursting at the seams, you have to wonder if DoorDash is going to step up its own dark convenience store ambitions. The company launched its DashMart delivery only stores last year, but has been quiet about their rollout since.
The concept of dark grocery stores with super-fast delivery is a new concept, and honestly, it is something that will only work in dense residential areas where multiple orders can be completed per hour. But if the concept catches on, these startups are poised to change our relationship with grocery shopping. Baking cookies and realize you’re out of sugar? A few taps on your phone and fifteen minutes later you have it. Guests coming over and you’re out of wine? A few more taps and problem solved. Groceries, in this scenario, become a utility, always on and available any time of day or night.