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Wolt secures $130m Series C, continuing on its mission to make lives easier, one meal at a time

Technology has changed the way we eat. “What shall we have for dinner tonight?” is a question that’s now just as likely to be met with the swipe of a phone or opening of a laptop as it is looking in the fridge. Walk past a restaurant most evenings of the week and chances are there’ll be an army of couriers waiting for meals alongside the hungry diners perusing the menu. With UBS predicting the online food delivery market will grow globally from $35 billion today to $365 billion by 2030, it’s clear that time-starved, convenience seeking consumers have developed an appetite for food delivery. In this competitive space, the food startups providing people with meals across the globe have brands just as recognisable as the restaurants they’re delivering from - Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber Eats, Takeaway.com. But there’s one food delivery start-up in Helsinki you probably haven’t heard of - Wolt.

Wolt was founded in Helsinki back in 2014 by CEO Miki Kuusi (former CEO of Slush) and a team of some of the best operators in Europe. Their vision was to build a technology company that made it incredibly easy for people to discover and get great food delivered to their home or office and, over the last five years, that’s exactly what Miki and the team has done. Wolt now has operations in 15 countries and 50 cities, more than 10,000 courier partners, serves food from more than 5,000 restaurants, employs more than 450 people and today EQT Ventures is delighted to be participating in Wolt’s $130 million Series C. This investment continues a close partnership that started back in 2016 when EQT Ventures led Wolt’s $11m Series A. In fact, this was one of EQT Ventures’ first investments. So, in a noisy market, what makes Wolt stand out from the crowd and why did EQT Ventures decide to join the team on its journey to change the way we discover and access food?

Product-focused and mobile-first

From day one, Wolt considered itself a technology company rather than a food delivery company and its focus was on building an exceptional product that offered an unbeatable user experience for consumers, couriers and restaurants alike. This meant a mobile first rather than web first approach and the result is an easy-to-use, multi-award winning app and best-in-class platform. This platform sits at the core of the business. It seamlessly connects all parties, providing them with a great user experience and all of the tools and insights they need to do what they need to do - whether that’s prepare, deliver or eat food. From personalised discovery options, real-time order tracking and 41 second response times for customers to route and order bundling for couriers and a menu and offers manager for restaurants, Wolt’s product caters to everyone using it. The company’s proprietary algorithm continuously optimises customer experience and logistics based on a series of parameters. Currently, it calculates more than 50m routes per day.

The fact that there are more than 80 people building this proprietary technology is evidence of the importance Wolt has placed on its product and how central it is to its solution for food delivery. Optimisation in real-time enables the company to deliver food more efficiently than the wider industry, which is a huge competitive advantage and a great recipe for winning long term.

Unit economics obsessed, building for the future

The Wolt team is unit economics obsessed and - unlike many players in the space - they have doubled down on building a viable business for the long term, while continuing rapid growth. As well as focusing on its proprietary technology, Wolt’s smart, operational approach to expansion is key. When looking at new countries and cities to expand into, the team considers everything from customer feedback and demand, restaurant and population density in the area, drivability with bike, scooter, car - as well as courier partner availability - smartphone penetration and the overall competitive situation in the market. There are still many untapped countries and cities with hungry people in that can benefit from Wolt.

An ambitious team with a vision bigger than just food delivery

Wolt’s team consists of some of the best operators in Europe. Having co-founded Slush, which has grown into an event that attracts 20,000 people from 130+ countries, and accelerator programme Startup Sauna, Miki is a serial entrepreneur who has the stamina and ambition to build a global winner. He has surrounded himself with an all-star team from the likes of Rovio, Nokia and Supercell, bolstering the company’s mobile expertise. Then there’s Miki and the team’s vision, which is much bigger than just food delivery. Wolt’s not just about getting food to your door. It’s about giving hungry customers the opportunity to discover great food from only the best local restaurants and improving the restaurant experience globally. The team wants to make lives easier, one meal at a time, and EQT Ventures is proud to have been involved in Wolt’s journey from the start...

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