Dija, the London-based grocery delivery startup backed by Blossom Capital, Creandum and Index Ventures, has acquired Cambridge, U.K.-based Genie, in what looks in part like an acqui-hire.
The deal, for which terms remain undisclosed, will see Genie founders Tim Chan and Callum MacBeth join the Dija team and also includes company assets. Having launched Genie in Cambridge, a U.K. city known for its university, they’ll be tasked with supporting Dija’s growth outside of London.
Founded by Alberto Menolascina and Yusuf Saban, who both spent a number of years at Deliveroo in senior positions, Dija launched in London earlier this month and is just one of a host of European startups that promise to deliver grocery and other convenience store items on-demand. They do this by building out their own hyper-local, delivery-only fulfilment centres — so-called “dark stores” — and recruiting their own delivery personnel. This full-stack or vertical approach and the visibility it provides is then supposed to produce enough supply chain and logistics efficiency to make the unit economics work, although that part is far from proven.
Other dark store operators include Berlin’s Flink, which has raised $52 million in seed financing in a mixture of equity and debt, and Berlin HQ’d Gorillas, which has raised $44 million in Series A funding and recently expanded to London in addition to Germany and Netherlands. Also operating in London are Weezy, Getir, and Zapp, with Jiffy expected to launch soon. The U.S. unicorn goPuff is also reportedly looking to expand into Europe and has held talks to acquire or invest in the U.K.’s Fancy.
Dija currently has four warehouse hubs operating in South Kensington, Fulham, Islington and Hackney that deliver groceries and other convenience products within a claimed 10 minutes. It plans to open 20 further hubs, covering central London and Zone 2, by the summer. Each hub carries around 2,000 products, claiming to be sold at “recommended retail prices”. A flat delivery fee of £1.99 is charged per order.
In a statement, Dija co-founder and CEO Alberto Menolascina said: “Our ambitions aren’t limited to inside the M25. I’m delighted that Tim and Callum are joining the Dija family to ensure more people can access this reliable and efficient service across the UK and Europe.”
Adds Genie co-founder and CEO Tim Chan: “We’re excited to join forces with the team at Dija and continue our shared mission to bring everyday items to your door in a matter of minutes. For our existing customer base this deal means access to more products, better prices and even faster delivery times. We’ve had a tremendous response in Cambridge so far, and look forward to bringing Dija to many more regions across the U.K. in the coming months.”