We are beginning to see them in some big cities, flocks of colorful scooters and armies of delivery men with corresponding emblems. In the back of any store or “dark shop” An unidentified urban warehouse meant for deliveries only, they patiently wait for their smartphone to start flashing and ringing, indicating that a task must be completed.
A race to be done, always, urgently. Because these self-employed, exploited, low-paid Uber-era scooters are related to German gorillas or Flink, to name a few, Zapp, Frichti, Flink or Turkish Getir.
These small businesses that we no longer count on are ‘express commerce’ or ‘fast commerce’ type start-ups that promise to deliver groceries in ten minutes, pointer at hand, at your doorstep. They are surfing the internet in an exceptional period, marked by epidemic and restrictions, which has given online business and delivery activities a huge boost.
And the entrepreneurs who created them aren’t the only ones who believe in the glorious future of these almost instant deliverables: As British Wired notes, Gorillas is already a “unicorn,” a startup valued at more than $1 billion, which still intends to raise big money and not stop there. limit.
Before? The same: the leek race is going on, and investors are pumping crazy sums into these young structures. On the exhausted bodies of workers and crippled businesses, only the strongest will survive.
Like Uber, Lyft, or WeWork before them and in the face of the old distribution giants, these frogs must reach bull size ASAP, the critical size and notoriety needed to make their mark in minds and apply them in habits. “Move fast and break things” In English, make an omelette by cracking eggs: the old motto of Silicon Valley, despite the misfortunes it has caused, still has a bright future ahead.
The law of the biggest and the fastest
The fracture will be there and the fracture is already there. To conquer hearts and market shares, and as was or still is sometimes the case for big brothers Uber or Lyft, Gorillas & Co. Burn their cash without counting, support consumers, double up on promotions and non-existent or even negative margins. According to German Manager magazine, which has been acquired by Wired, each of the honored orders is at a loss at the moment.
Time pressure, hellish pace, dependence on algorithms with divination line working, no need to specify that the relationship between work and workers here as elsewhere, is generally socially disruptive.
The gorilla had already had to deal with continental social unrest and the closing of a Berlin warehouse after the disputed expulsion of several delivery workers. His boss Kagan Sommer did not shine with his social diplomacy, and the Berlin Senate decided to participate and convicts express delivery collectively organizedCarrying out various drilling works.
Some insiders Anonymous, interviewed by Wired, is not very kind to a company that, moreover, has already had to deal with a very annoying leak of personal data.
that it “empty shell”, explains one of them, who specifies that the inventory tools on which he bases his business are, to say the least, risky. a “Card Castle”describes another, and predicts it “It’s only a matter of time before it collapses.”.
Why then, the unfortunate past failures already known, these potentially disabling pitfalls, which have been announced, do investors continue to provide huge amounts of cash to these young people with an uncertain future? Because the market is promising, of course.
According to figures from Statista, it will weigh more than 1,500 billion euros in 2021. According to a report by McKinsey, its online aspect has grown by 55% in 2020 and the trend should continue to strengthen. Perhaps these financiers, Wired notes, are also looking east, to China in particular.
There, this stage of intense competition among young entrants to the market has now ended. The first two champions, Dingdong Maicai and Missfresh, were crowned with sensational IPOs, putting their competitors in a shadow that they would find difficult to extract themselves from.