Over the last several years, delivery services have become a key component of how retailers, or anyone selling or distributing products and services, do business. Now, with a global health pandemic in full swing keeping people indoors (and away from physical storefronts), delivery has become an essential must-have if you want your business to stay alive. Today, a startup called Bringg, which helps companies build and run delivery operations, is announcing a growth round of $30 million to meet expanding demand for its services.
Tel Aviv-based Bringg already counts giants like Walmart, McDonalds and Coke among its customers, and most recently introduced a last-mile delivery platform called BringgNow aimed at small and medium businesses to mobilise and manage their own and third-party fleets of delivery people.
The funding, a Series D, is being led by Viola Growth, with Next47, Salesforce, OG Tech Ventures, and GLP (all previous investors) also participating.
It brings the total raised to around $83 million, and while Bringg is not disclosing its valuation, for context, PitchBook placed its last valuation ($25 million Series C in January 2019) at $214.7 million. Its revenues have been on the rise over the last year and Guy Bloch, the CEO, said in an interview that it’s definitely an up round.
“The company is growing very fast, and closing a round in ‘corona times’ says a lot,” he said.
Indeed, Bringg’s funding is coming at a key time for the delivery and logistics sector overall.
Delivery services, and businesses based around offering them, have been on an expansion tear over the last several years fuelled by the rise of the on-demand economy. But the past several weeks — where consumers have been staying at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, staying away from going outside; and businesses have been severely curtailing operations to limit people congregating in enclosed physical spaces — have turned all growth modelling on its head.
Those that already delivered as part of their service (for example take-out food or groceries) are seeing unprecedented levels of demand, and businesses that have never had that option now are finding that offering customers a delivery service is the only way to stay in business.
“We have been building the company on a vision of the market that we believed would come in a couple of years’ time, say between 2022 and 2025,” Bloch said. “Now it’s just happening in front of our eyes, right now. We are being pulled into a vacuum.”
Alongside businesses seeing huge demand for delivery options — with that being the only way to deliver their products and services in some cases — Bloch and Bringg’s founder Lior Sion (who had previously helped to build the tech underpinning Uber competitor Gett) both noted that another significant shift has been among consumer preferences.
Trust had been a big gating factor in the growth of delivery services, something that is now moving significantly and may never go back to the way it was before, something that will mean that Bringg’s current surge of business — growth 24% just in the last week — will be sustained even after COVID-19 (hopefully) subsides.
“Delivery will never be 100% but this is about offering a better experience,” Sion said. “Now with for groceries, restaurants, and other services, people are being exposed to using them when they hadn’t before. Or, they used to use one service, but now are realising what happens when that disappears, and they are now using more than one. They will say to themselves, I need to diversify.”
Bringg’s platform essentially gives businesses — it works with obvious customers like retailers, restaurants and grocery stores, but also large distributors, field service providers and healthcare companies — an end-to-end offering to manage their delivery operations. These include tools (AI-based or otherwise) not only to optimise and understand where and how much stock exists, but to route it in the most efficient way to sync up with online ordering platforms to make sure stock and services and people can get to who needs them. The last-mile services both work with retailers’ existing fleets of vehicles and people, but also brings in third-party services to complement that when needed.
While a lot of what Bringg is doing has been focused on for-profit businesses, the startup has been doing its own part to give something to the wider volunteer effort that we’ve seen surging throughout the tech industry. In its case, it’s working with local government organizations pro bono to help mobilise people to deliver goods to those in need, and has essentially opened its door to any and all other non-profits needing help. (Contact them if this applies to you.)
The bigger picture is that Bringg is bringing (sorry) something to everyone, at a time when we really need it, but will be relying on that model for years to come, even without a crisis hanging over us.
“We’re living in a ‘delivery economy’ and the latest market upheaval brought on by COVID-19 will only expedite this new reality in which brands won’t be able to afford to do business without this kind of solution” said Eran Westman, Partner at Viola Growth, in a statement. “Bringg enables brands to take full control of their data, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately their revenues. We believe this market has major expansion potential and that Bringg, with its exceptional vision and execution, is ripe to take leadership, which is why we decided to lead this round.”
“Today with COVID-19 keeping consumers homebound, delivery is not a business differentiator but a critical logistics model, keeping businesses afloat. Our latest investment demonstrates our belief in the value Bringg delivers to the market, providing businesses of all sizes the capabilities to connect logistics data across different silos and optimize their operational models for rapid, convenient delivery service,” said Matthew Cowan, General Partner at Next47, in a separate statement.