‘Instant needs’ delivery startup goPuff raises $1.15B at an $8.9B valuation

Last fall, delivery startup goPuff made a big splash by raising $380 million in funding and acquiring West Coast beverage retailer BevMo shortly afterwards. Just a few months later, the Philadelphia-based company is announcing that it has raised another $1.15 billion in funding at an $8.9 billion valuation (compared to $3.9 billion in October).

Available in more than 650 U.S. cities, goPuff delivers a wide variety of products in under 30 minutes while charging a flat $1.95 delivery fee. Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, who serve as co-CEOs, founded the company in 2013 while they were students at Drexel University. When I first spoke to Gola last fall, he told me that the pair thought, “There has to be a better way to get convenience products delivered.”

The company now says its vertically integrated approach is a key advantage. GoPuff buys products directly from manufacturers, then distributes those products through its 250-plus “micro-fulfillment centers” and a network of independent drivers. Ilishayev said this results in rapid deliveries, strong unit economics, and a model that passes delivery fees directly to drivers.

“It’s important that we’re making our margin on product, not people,” he said.

The company continues to expand its product lineup new Better For You (healthy snacks), Beauty and Baby categories, as well as Curated Mystery Boxes. When I asked how new products fit into the larger goPuff brand and strategy, Ilishayev replied, “People, throughout our whole existence, have (Read more...)