If the first half of the 2010s was the explosion of startups, then the latter half of the decade is dedicated to companies growing up and going public.
This week, delivery service Blue Apron, which delivers recipes and ingredients for consumers to make intricate meals in their own homes and sponsors many a podcast, began marketing an initial public offering (IPO), which would value the startup at around $3.2bn.
Timeline for Blue Apron
The company was founded five years ago in New York by Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas and Matt Wadiack. It hasn’t managed to turn a profit yet, posting a net loss of $54.9m last year, but its founders believe its rapid growth is sufficient enough to entice investors, according to Reuters.
Here are some of the other delivery and subscription companies that we could see go public later this year.
One of German e-commerce investor Rocket Internet’s biggest holdings, HelloFresh is Blue Apron’s European competitor, and rumour has it that the startup will be going for an IPO later this year.
It operates in the same way Blue Apron does: customers order meal kits online and then the company delivers recipes and all the ingredients suitable to make a gourmet meal.
Rocket Internet put the startup up for floatation in 2015 but pulled it over concerns that investors believed the valuation price was overhyped.
At the time, a technology analyst at Aviate Global, Neil Campling, told the Financial Times:
“Absolutely no one I spoke to had any appetite for this deal.”
The latest valuation for HelloFresh, which is now available in nine countries, including the UK, US and Australia, was $2.2bn in a funding round last year.
A spokesperson for HelloFresh told Verdict:
“An IPO certainly can be an option for us, but we’re in no hurry. We’re constantly monitoring the market and will take a decision once we feel the timing and all circumstances are right.
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“For now, we fully focus on what’s most important for us: Our customers.”
2. Sun Basket
Another meal-kit maker, Sun Basket recently announced that Unilever’s venture branch had taken a stake in the company. The startup aims to be different from its competitors by offering free-from meals, such as gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian recipes.
Founder and chief executive Adam Zbar told Bloomberg:
“We want to be a true alternative to the grocery store, where we are offering enough variety to appeal to your taste buds and health needs.”
It is though the company will be heading for an IPO later this year, with a listing of about $1bn. Bloomberg reported that Sun Basket had hired Bank of American and Jefferies Group to lead the IPO, according to sources close to the matter.
3. Delivery Hero
Also part of Rocket Internet’s cohort, Delivery Hero announced this week that it plans to IPO later this year in a listing that could value the startup at $4.8bn.
It is though that Delivery Hero will become the fourth major online food delivery firm to go public, following the likes of UK-based JustEat and US brand Grub Hub. The startup has expanded across the globe and is now present in 42 markets, in its native Europe as well as the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Delivery Hero’s chief executive, Niklas Ostberg, said the company will use the money raised through the IPO to pay back loans and finance growth across the world.
“Growth and size is very important for building profitability. It’s about time to have a European company in the tech space that is a global leader,” said Ostberg.
Not food related, but still subscription based – rumours of Spotify’s IPO have been churning for a while now. Earlier this year it announced it had hit 50m paying subscribers, around 43 percent of music subscriptions – over double its rival Apple Music’s numbers at 20m.
It is thought the music streaming company will IPO either later this year or earlier next year and is thought to be valued at $13bn according to sources close to the matter.
The news it worked out a deal with Universal Music recently, in particular to add Taylor Swift’s music back to the platform, is a signal that it is getting serious.