In the summer of 2016 it appeared that the battle to lead in the on-demand economy had been a foregone conclusion. Uber, Amazon and Deliveroo had all launched successful food and grocery delivery services operating under the gig economy. And funding for smaller rivals had started to dry up.
Uber and Amazon both launched delivery services in London in June last year. The ride-hailing firm started its UberEats service, dedicated to transporting food from restaurants across the city. And the online retailer began its same-day grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh. Two months later, Deliveroo raised $275m (£214m), helping it stay in the competition and elevating it to the fabled status of “unicorn”, businesses valued at $1bn.
The news spelt trouble for the plucky upstarts that had been hoping to compete for a slice of the on-demand delivery pie. By September, with investors losing interest in smaller firms, the health-focused Pronto announced it had run out of money and was shutting down.
Less than a year later, the tables have started to turn. Last week, Quiqup, a smaller company that delivers high street goods as well as food, announced it had raised £20m . A couple […]