Another instant delivery crash
Australian grocery delivery startup Voly has closed up shop
Happy day after Thanksgiving! Hoping all the Americans had a wonderful day full of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin and apple pies, and are looking forward to a week of turkey soup and sandwiches. And what better to wash down your Thanksgiving leftovers with than news of the latest instant delivery collapse?
Voly was founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2020, with the aim of “revolutionising the grocery game” by delivering groceries and alcohol in minutes, according to its still-functional website. Voly wanted customers to “ditch the trolley,” until it ran out of money and had to ditch them instead. The company abruptly shut down its app and social media accounts last week, telling users it was “closed until further notice,” before confirming by email a few days later that it was shuttering for good.
Voly was founded by Uber and Cloud Kitchens alum Mark Heath and co-founder Thibault Henry. It raised a tiny seed round in April 2021 followed by a larger seed deal of 18 million AUD ($12.2 million at current exchange rates) led by Sequoia Capital India that December. Voly’s pitch should by now sound familiar: thousands of convenience goods available in 15 minutes or less, for low fees, at a time when consumers globally were getting acquainted with home delivery thanks to the covid-19 pandemic. Like other instant delivery players, Voly also said it would hire workers as employees with wages and benefits, not independent contractors like its gig predecessors.
Voly charged a flat A$2.99 on its instant deliveries. Lest this sound impossibly low, Henry told TechCrunch last December that he believed the typical Voly user would order several times a week (low fees, high frequency!). TechCrunch also reported that Voly was growing at a rate of “100% each month,” which sounds impressive but please remember that it’s not that hard to grow 100% per month when you are going from nothing to something. This newsletter also enjoyed 100% growth or greater in its first few months, and I guarantee you it was losing less money.
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