Online-only supermarket Picnic has secured 600 million euros in growth capital. The leading investors were none other than Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda. The Dutch company will use the funds to accelerate their expansion in Europe.
The unicorn is known for its online-only grocery delivery service, that is shipped directly to customer’s front doors with small, recognizable electrical vans. The company is now active in 200 cities across the Netherlands, Germany and, only this year, France. They work closely with local suppliers, such as German supermarket chain Edeka.
With the new capital, the company will continue to grow its European presence. For now, Picnic wants to double down on their existing services in Germany and France. Investments will be made in robotized fulfilment centers, electrical vehicles and last but not least, a team of software developers. Some funds will also go into innovating their software in order to meet the growing demand.
New funds from the Gates
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a first-time investor in the Dutch grocery delivery service. The exact amount that the Gates put down, is unknown. But they did provide the majority of the funds, CEO Michiel Muller says in an interview. The Gates Foundation was joined by previous investors in the Series D funding round, such as NPM Capital, De Hoge Dennen and Hoyberg.
With a freshly loaded piggy bank, Picnic aims to become ‘the most sustainable grocery delivery service in Europe’, their press release states. “We will continue to invest in growth and technology to provide the best service to our customers,” one of Picnic’s CEO’s Joris Beckers says.
Revenue is up, but so are the losses
The investment follows a great year for Picnic. In 2020 their revenue doubled compared to the year before, from over 230 million to 470 million euros, according to German sources. This is in part because of a boom in online grocery shopping as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown measures. Around ten percent of this growth in revenue comes from their German activities.
Even so, the investment is more than welcome, since Picnic’s numbers are still in the red. In 2019 their loss totalled at over 40 million euros, around 7 million more than in the previous year. However, at the end of 2021, Picnic expects to see 1 billion worth of run-rate sales.