Finnish food delivery startup Wolt announced it has been acquired by the US food delivery company DoorDash today in an all-stock transition of €7bn. It’s the largest acquisition of a Finnish startup since China’s Tencent bought a majority stake in the games company Supercell in 2016.
A transaction this big also means a big payday for investors.
Wolt was founded in 2014 by Miki Kuusi, Juhani Mykkänen, Oskari Pétas, Mika Matikainen, Lauri Andler and Elias Aalto and has raised around $740m from investors such as Mark Zuckerberg’s ICONIQ Capital, Tiger Global, Israel's 83North and London-based Highland Europe.
Two big winners in the DoorDash sale are EQT Ventures and EQT Growth. Combined, they are Wolt’s largest shareholders. According to documents filed in Finland, EQT Ventures owned a bit more than 10% of the company.
“The exit valuation at the time of this announcement represents an approximate 200x uplift compared to EQT Ventures’ initial investment in 2016, which we are pretty excited about,” EQT Ventures partner Lars Jörnow wrote on Medium yesterday.
Wolt made it [because] they have been more consumer-centric than any of their competitors, and they have been more balanced
“Since then , through ups and downs, we’ve continued to be impressed by Miki’s resilience, ambition and ability to build one of the biggest tech successes to date in Finland and Europe.”
Wolt raised its first pre-seed round in 2014. The €400,000 was split between Nordic VC Inventure and Helsinki-based Lifeline Ventures.
Inventure also led the delivery startup’s second seed round. Linus Dahg, partner at Inventure, was in a good mood when Sifted reached out to him today.
“We’re happy with the price and we will know more when the deal is finalised," he says. "But given we led their pre-seed and seed round the 200x multiple mentioned by others sounds low."
Dive into VC and meet the people holding the purse strings.
Inventure focuses on early-stage startups and its third fund of €110m was raised in late 2017. While it wasn't able to do follow-on investments in Wolt's later rounds, it kept its existing ownership which totalled a few per cent of the company.
"There are two reasons why [Wolt] has made it: first, they have been more consumer-centric than any of their competitors, and secondly, they have been more balanced. What I mean with that is that they have adapted to the size of their suit — both in terms of expansion and withdrawal from markets," Dahg says.
Since  we’ve continued to be impressed by Miki’s resilience, ambition and ability to build one of the biggest tech successes to date
He also points out that Wolt has taken better care of its drivers by always paying more than minimum wage and has never been included in the negative press coverage its competitors receive.
Wolt employs 4,000 people across its 23 markets and apart from its option plans the company has added another €500m to be shared across the management team and employees in the deal with DoorDash.
In other exits, founders and former employees often go on to start new businesses or become angel investors. The Wolt acquisition will have a big impact on the tech scene in Finland but also in other Nordic and Baltic countries, according to Dahg.
“This will make huge ripples on the ecosystem in the region,” he says.