Wolt — Online Local Commerce, Delivered
Greg Stanger, Yoonkee Sull And Ritika Pai | January 26, 2021
We are excited to announce that we have led Wolt’s recent Series E financing and are deepening our partnership with Miki Kuusi, Riku Makela, Marianne Vikkula and the rest of the team at Wolt, a leading food delivery platform serving 23 countries.
It’s hard to imagine today that, not too long ago, food delivery was limited to restaurants, such as pizzerias, that decided to fulfill the last mile themselves. With the advent of the smartphone and the food delivery services that followed, technology has disrupted and enhanced one of the most fundamentally human experiences, enabling people to easily enjoy restaurant meals in the comfort of their homes. These services have become increasingly ingrained in people’s lives.
In early 2019, we were introduced to Miki, founder and CEO of Wolt, which was founded to serve the needs of a three-sided marketplace — customers, restaurants, and couriers. Then a purposefully low profile but rapidly growing food delivery leader in Helsinki, the company had begun expanding its geographic footprint from its home region of the Nordics & Baltics to include other parts of Europe and Israel. After our first call, we were so energized and impressed by Miki’s vision and execution to date that we jumped on a flight the next day to meet the team in Finland.
What we discovered was an enormously high performing team that was bringing innovation, differentiated technology, operational excellence and financial discipline to food delivery, enabling them to operate successfully in a broad swath of cities of widely varying populations and densities, where others arguably could not. We also discovered a group that, while very engaging and fun to work with, operated with incredible focus and purpose and at the same time with enormous care and respect for the broader team. We knew very quickly this was a team we wanted to back and were very fortunate to lead Wolt’s Series C round in April 2019.
Fast forward to today and the world and this industry could not be more different. As stay at home orders hit Europe early in 2020, restaurants relied on Wolt more than ever, and the company took this responsibility seriously as it played a much more critical role in the social fabric of its markets. Wolt swiftly took a number of actions to help restaurants navigate the changing environment — ranging from launching giveback programs and reducing commissions to highlighting local and vulnerable restaurants in apps and marketing, and paying restaurants twice a week to enable quicker access to capital to help them pay their employees and suppliers. The company also innovated toward what has become the “delivery of everything” strategy — expanding its partnerships with grocery, pharmacy, and retail stores with the same focus on operational excellence and building leading consumer and courier experiences. The COVID pandemic has had a devastating effect on restaurants and local businesses, but we’re proud of how Wolt has helped these businesses and their employees thrive.
It is hard to overstate how hard the team has worked over the last year, as the company hired rapidly and navigated work from home challenges, while supporting record volumes, dynamic macro conditions, and a growing global footprint — expanding from 14 countries when we first invested to 23 today, including launching Japan and Germany. With the discipline and drive that is integral to the Wolt story, the company stayed focused on a founding principle: that taking care of customers, restaurants, and couriers is the most critical component of the Wolt culture and business.
After leading the Series C and participating meaningfully in the Series D, we could not be more pleased to have led Wolt’s latest round and to extend our partnership with Miki and the team as Wolt continues to expand into new markets, grow its offerings and reach ever higher standards of service and quality. A core pillar of ICONIQ Growth has been to lead subsequent financings to support our existing portfolio. We believe Wolt is an exceptional business with a very special team that will continue to drive outsized impact and strengthen its position as a global leader in delivery.