Lhe history of distance selling really began with the rise of the train. We ordered from the catalog of Manufrance or 3 Suisses, we received the product in the month, sometimes the week. Considerable progress that has spread to the countryside the nascent consumer society. Today, waiting an hour becomes unbearable, even in the middle of the night.
The confinement has brought out new compulsive buyers and new professions. Like the pioneers of the Pony Express or the Aéropostale, delivery men on bicycles crisscross the streets faster and faster, more and more stressed. The new gauge is now ten minutes. A maximum delay promised by the knights of “quick trade”. Gorillas, Getir, Cajoo, Dija, Flink, Yango Deli… Nearly ten companies have emerged in less than two years, like mushrooms after the rain. On Monday May 16, the German Flink announced the acquisition of the last French player in this sector, Cajoo, which had joined forces with the distributor Carrefour, in September 2021.
A year earlier, in December 2020, Oliver Merkel, a former consultant at Bain, created the company Flink (“agile”, in German), in Berlin, with an obsession: speed. Fast for delivery, fast also for growth, to overtake the myriads of competitors leaving at the same time. With the promise of revolutionizing local commerce, it appeals to investors eager for new martingales, in a world where cushy investments no longer bring in anything.
On the stock market, the party is over
Visibly convincing, he only took three months to find 50 million euros, then 230 million three months later, then 720 million in December 2021, valuing the company at more than 2 billion euros. It must be said that, at the same time, the firm had opened dozens of warehouses and had settled in France and the Netherlands. Like their couriers with their huge backpacks, industry players live under stress. They know that the local authorities will seek, sooner or later, to limit their ambitions, as they did for scooters or apartment rentals, and that the competitors are also very rich. The other German Gorillas or the Turkish Getir have amassed equivalent sums and are covering the walls of the metros with their advertisements.
Quick, quick, before it’s too late, let reality catch up with them, reminding them that their economic model is not holding up and that the party is over for technology stocks that are collapsing on the stock market. Uber, DoorDash or Deliveroo have plummeted by more than 50% in one year. This will soon be the case for private investment, which will focus on profitable businesses only. So, we redeem ourselves with a vengeance, hoping that the last one standing picks up the bet. Gorillas crunches the French Frichti, Flink devours Cajoo and welcomes Carrefour, itself allied with Uber Eats, to its capital. The race will soon be over, and the ten minutes are almost up. Already ?
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