As grocery delivery continues its rapid growth, Dija, a fresh-faced London start-up, has launched its 10-minute services in areas of the city.
Founded by former senior Deliveroo employees, Dija swiftly raised $20 million from Blossom Capital, Index Ventures and others at the end of last year.
Now the start-up is preparing for launch and to ramp up operations in London’s South Kensington, Fulham and Hackney with two more locations to follow.
Dija, with its fleet of about 50 riders on electric bikes and mopeds, sources groceries directly from suppliers and relies on a network of its own storehouses strategically placed around these locations in order to make such fast deliveries.
It’s a heady task but speed of delivery is quickly becoming the necessary tool to compete in such a busy market.
“It sounds esoteric from the outside but at the end of the day this is a mathematical problem,” co-founder and chief executive Alberto Menolascina said.
“If you think of the catchment area of South Kensington in London you have roughly 100,000 people that can order from food delivery apps and a huge portion of those order every day,” he said.
This means having stock and a fleet of riders that are scheduled for work and ready to go at a moment’s notice, rather than relying on partner supermarkets.
“Our pick and pack doesn’t happen inside traditional retailers and grocery stores. This means that we use both technology but also our own property technology for shelf and space allocation and that allows us to pick and pack an order in roughly in one minute.”
It’s an ambitious plan but a logical step, according to Menolascina, as consumers expect swifter delivery while the profile of consumers ordering online broadens in age groups and demographics.
“I think there is a very clear trend. I built my first business in 2002. At that time, at least in Italy, couriers used to deliver in five working days.”
Dija is charging £1.99 for its 10-minute deliveries and has assembled an initial team of 50 couriers that are classed as workers – rather than the flexible, on-demand model used by the founders’ alma mater Deliveroo – to ensure there is the necessary volume of riders available at all times.
“We engage with our riders as workers. It means that we cover their sick pay, their holidays, their pension contribution,” Menolascina said. “Our logistical model is much more similar to Domino’s. At the end of the day, they go back to a stationary point. After every delivery they go back to their base.”
Dija’s launches comes during a frothy time for the online grocery delivery space. This week alone, venture capital firms have pumped even more money into these companies. Stateside, Instacart raised a further $265 million in a round that values the company at $39 billion. Meanwhile in Europe, Czech online grocery business Rohlik Group announced €190 million in funding led by Partech.
Menolascina declined to comment on whether Dija is in the market for further funding this year, adding that the start-up’s main focus currently is getting its London launches up and running.
This Article firstly Publish on www.forbes.com