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Startups E-commerce

Heavy Losses, Big Funding: Instant-Delivery Startups Battle for Customers

By  |  Oct. 14, 2021 10:16 AM PDT
Photo: Illustration by Danielle Davis

The instant-delivery wars have hit New York City—and they will soon spread across the country. An array of startups, including Jokr, Fridge No More, Buyk and 1520, are pitching investors to raise fresh cash, sometimes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, on the promise that they can get people groceries in 15 minutes or less.

They plan to use the money to market their services and expand their networks of warehouses, known as dark stores, that stock goods for delivery to nearby homes. But some are sustaining significant losses on each order. Jokr, a New York–based startup that launched its grocery-delivery services in 10 cities globally earlier this year, lost $13.6 million on just $1.7 million in revenue as of the end of July, according to internal data viewed by The Information.

Such losses raise pressure on the startups to ramp up the volume of deliveries they can handle per day, in hopes that greater scale will get them to break even. But that precarious balancing act poses a risk to would-be investors.

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