Rohlik, a Czech online grocery business and the country’s first unicorn, has raised €220m in a Series D round led by Sofina, a Belgium-based investment company.
The financing comes at a time when many European speedy grocery companies, like Gorillas, Getir and Zapp, are feeling the effects of the economic downturn and have been forced to lay off employees.
What does Rohlik do?
Rohlik is an online grocer — like a traditional supermarket, it sells everything from food to toilet paper and offers customers an equal amount of choice, stocking 17k items.
That sets it apart from the super fast grocery delivery companies that have a far smaller assortment — usually around 2k items. Rohlik also relies on big, automated warehouses to stock its supplies, unlike the super fast grocery businesses, which have a network of small local (and barely automated) warehouses.
That means it can’t be as fast to deliver as those 10-minute delivery businesses — although it still ships 85% of deliveries within 90 minutes from order or within 15-minute same-day time windows.
👉 Read: Online grocer Rohlik raises $100m and becomes a unicorn
Fresh produce represents about 40% of Rohlik’s sales, and its goods come from local farmers and producers, along with household name consumer brands.
The business, which was founded in 2014, operates in Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Frankfurt. It has more than 1m active customers and its revenues reached €500m last year. The group has been profitable in the Czech Republic since 2018 and in Hungary since 2021. The company has not disclosed a valuation this time but says it is more than its €1bn+ valuation at its last funding round in 2021.
What’s the grocery delivery market like?
In the last couple of years, the speedy grocery sector exploded in Europe. VCs have pumped billions into companies like Getir, Gorillas and Zapp — and many smaller competitors which have since been acquired — which promise to bring fresh groceries to people’s homes in a matter of minutes.
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But recent weeks — overshadowed by the economic downturn — have shown that the sector’s future might be less rosy. Many companies have been shaken by employees’ protests, mass layoffs and decreasing interest from investors.
Who’s investing in Rohlik?
- Sofina — the Belgian family-controlled investment company, listed on Euronext Brussels, led the round. Sofina operates in Europe, Asia and the US, focusing on the consumer and retail, education and healthcare sectors. It has invested in companies like German Gorillas, Lithuanian secondhand fashion startup Vinted and Dutch micromobility provider Dott.
- Index Ventures, which led Rohlik’s €100m Series C raise last year, also participated in the round.
What’s next for Rohlik?
Rohlik says it will use the new funds to accelerate tech innovation, including electric mobility and automation of its fulfilment centres, and to expand in existing countries. Later this year, Rohlik is planning to enter several new European markets — Hamburg, Milan, Bucharest and Madrid.
Rohlik is already profitable in two markets — and clearly now has a tried and tested expansion playbook. It’s also much closer to the "essential" rather than "convenience" or "luxury" category than the super-fast grocery players — its goods have price parity with high street stores like Lidl and Aldi — which puts it in a good spot as consumers cut spending.
You know what they say — slow and steady wins the race.