Gorillas, Zapp, Getir: the unsustainable business model of racing delivered in ten minutes

We’re starting to see them in certain major cities, swarming colorful scooters and armies of delivery drivers with associated logos. Back in a supermarket or “dark shop” faceless, urban warehouse meant only for deliveries, they patiently wait for their smartphones to start flashing and ringing, signaling a message to be completed.

A race that must always and urgently be run. Because these scooters, these self-employed, exploited, underpaid, last ersatz of the Uber era, are linked to the German Gorillas or Flink, to Zapp, Frichti, Flink or Turkey’s Getir, just to name a few.

These small businesses we no longer count are ‘quick commerce’ or ‘q-commerce’ start-ups that promise to deliver the groceries to your door in ten minutes, pointer in hand. They are surfing through an exceptional period, marked by the pandemic and incarcerations, which have dramatically boosted online businesses and delivery operations.

The entrepreneurs who created them aren’t the only ones who believe in the glorious future of these near-instant deliveries: As Britain’s Wired points out, Gorillas is already a “unicorn,” a start-up worth more than a billion dollars. , which still plans to raise significant funds and not stop there.

In front? It’s the same: the shallot race has begun, investors are pouring insane amounts into these young structures. On the exhausted bodies of washed-out workers and disrupted companies, only the fittest will survive.

Just like Uber, Lyft or WeWork before them and faced with the old distribution behemoths, these frogs need to reach the size of an ox as quickly as possible, the critical size and fame necessary to make their mark on the mind and their application in the habits . “Move fast and break things” Making omelettes in English by breaking eggs: The old Silicon Valley slogan, despite the Dante-esque debacles it has caused, still has a bright future ahead of it.

The law of the bigger, the faster

Breakage will be there, and breakage is already there. To win hearts and market shares, and as sometimes was or is the case for the big brothers Uber or Lyft, Gorillas & co. burning their money without counting, subsidizing consumers, multiplying promotions and non-existent or even negative margins. According to the German Manager Magazine, acquired by Wired, each of the awarded orders is currently loss-making.

Time pressure, grueling steps, dependence on algorithms with sibylline effect, it goes without saying that here, as elsewhere, the relationship between labor and workers is generally socially destructive.

Gorillas has already faced continental social unrest and the blockage of a warehouse in Berlin after the controversial firing of several delivery drivers. His boss Kağan Sümer did not excel with his social diplomacy, the Berlin Senate decided to join and the convicts of fast delivery collectively organizedperforming various punching actions.

A few insiders Anonymous, interviewed by Wired, are not kind to the company, which has also already dealt with a very annoying leak of personal data.

It is a “empty shell”, explains one of them, pointing out that the inventory tools it bases its operations on are precarious to say the least. A “card castle”describes another, predicting that ‘It’s only a matter of time before it collapses’

Why then do investors, the unfortunate past failures that are already known, these potentially disabling pitfalls that have been made public, continue to offer mountains of money to these young shoots with an uncertain future? Because the market is promising, of course.

So, according to figures from Statista, it will weigh more than 1,500 billion euros in 2021. According to a report by McKinsey, its online side has grown by 55% in 2020 and the trend should continue to strengthen. Perhaps, as Wired points out, these financiers are also looking further east, particularly to China.

This phase of fierce competition between young new entrants to the market is now over. Two first-time champions, Dingdong Maicai and Missfresh, have already been crowned by juicy IPOs, effectively putting their competitors in a shadow from which they will have a hard time escaping.

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