Go, yemeksepeti.com, go!
Yemeksepeti.com is one of the most successful internet businesses in Turkey, operating as an online food ordering and delivery portal in Turkey. It facilitates users to select their cuisines from various restaurant menus, receives orders and transmits them to the respective restaurants for further delivery. The website has absolutely no competition. It is enjoying an untouchable monopolistic position. In the recent years it stepped up the game and expended to close markets. The company is still based in Istanbul, but now operates additional operations in Sahrjah and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia.
However, with these expansions the firm now faces strong global competition. There are two major players operating outside the United States: Delivery Hero and Just-Eat.
Delivery Hero has raised $50 million in an investment round led by Kite Ventures. Delivery Hero Holding, which is part of the Berlin-based company builder Team Europe, allows customers to order food online by selecting from a list of restaurants offering delivery in their area. It was founded by Fabian Siegel and Niklas Östberg. Kite Ventures is a Moscow-based technology venture fund with a number of successful internet investments. Kreos Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, also participated in the round.
On the other hand London-based Just-Eat operates in 14 countries and said in May that it was partnering with 25,000 restaurants. Delivery Hero is a bit behind its competitor with just 12 countries and 22,000 partners under its belt.
But consider this: although it’s undeniably stepped up both its funding and acquisition game in the last two years, Just-Eat has been operating for over a decade while Delivery Hero only came out of [Berlin accelerator] Team Europe’s stable in late 2010.
According to Wall Street Journal analysts, organic growth is always ideally part of the plan in this game, but given the need for speed so is buying up smaller players. Just-Eat last bought someone in April, when the UK’s Fillmybelly.com became the company’s ninth acquisition since the start of 2011.
Delivery Hero’s last buy was that of Finland’s Pizza-online.fi back in late May. A couple of months before that it revealed both a €25 million round and the purchase of the OnlinePizza Norden Group, which provided a strong foothold in Sweden, Finland, Austria and Poland.
It took ages for Turkish brick and mortar firms to learn how to compete globally. I know that it is going to take a lot shorter time for Internet businesses to learn how to play the global game, but we will be watching them carefully. Yemeksepeti’s performance will either speed up the process or hinder it for a few more years. If they can make it globally the other Turkish ventures will have the courage to follow them.