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DoorDash riders in New York in April. Photo by Bloomberg.
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Media/Telecom Markets E-commerce

Ultrafast Wars Raise Risk of Investor Injury

Photo: DoorDash riders in New York in April. Photo by Bloomberg.

Wandering around Manhattan has lately become a not-so-fun exercise in dodging the stream of bicycles ridden ferociously by delivery couriers, a population that is growing with the proliferation of ultrafast grocery-delivery services. DoorDash’s announcement on Monday that it is jumping into the ultrafast fray suggests that the danger of severe injury may be about to increase. But it may be ultrafast startup investors, rather than pedestrians, who are most at risk.

New Yorkers can now choose from ultrafast services operated by Jokr, Fridge No More, Buyk, Gorillas and (in some parts of the city) DoorDash, with similar services from Turkish upstart Getir and maybe even Instacart coming soon. All this for a city where grocery stores of one kind or another are a five-minute walk from most people’s apartments! Unless delivery fees are zero permanently, which seems unlikely, it’s hard to see enough demand for anywhere near this many competitors. The only real winners are likely to be those companies that supply the marketing weapons that the ultrafast delivery rivals fight with. That would be sellers of advertising such as social media apps and other media firms. 

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