A Turkish start-up offering ultrafast deliveries has secured almost $40m in funding from a group of investors led by the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Moritz, in a boost to Turkey’s nascent tech scene.
Getir, an Istanbul-based company founded in 2015, allows users to order products from ice creams to iPhone chargers, cat food to condoms at a moment’s notice, with only a small mark-up on supermarket prices. It promises an average delivery time of 10 minutes.
“We’re democratising laziness,” said Nazim Salur, the Turkish entrepreneur who co-founded the company. “It’s like having a butler for a dollar or two.”
The company last year attracted the attention of Sir Michael, a Welsh-born tech investor who is a partner at Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm. His previous investments through Sequoia include a melted-cheese sandwich chain and an Indian “cloud kitchen”.
After flying to Istanbul to spend time at Getir’s Istanbul head office, Sir Michael agreed to inject $25m into the company through his personal investment vehicle Crankstart, which also sponsors the prestigious Booker Prize for English-language fiction.
He said he used the vehicle because Turkey fell outside Sequoia’s “geographic footprint”. A further $13m was contributed by undisclosed investors in Brazil and Turkey, bringing the total amount raised in a “Series A” round to $38m.
“Getir’s approach to the complexities presented by grocery and food delivery is a Turkish delight prepared with a fresh recipe and unexpected ingredients,” Sir Michael said in a written statement.
Getir, whose name means “bring” in Turkish, operates through a network of franchises that are charged with managing delivery, while the parent company handles product selection and pricing as well as shipping items to the distribution warehouses.
The company has expanded aggressively, doubling its number of orders over the second half of 2019, with close to 1.5m deliveries last month. Having initially focused on Istanbul, where it is also experimenting with takeaway food delivery, it recently began operations in the Turkish cities of Ankara, Izmir, Bursa and Kocaeli.
Just weeks after securing their first round of outside funding, company executives are plunging straight into a $100m “Series B” round, aimed at financing Getir’s expansion into international markets.
The target valuation is likely to be more than $500m, putting the company among the ranks of Turkey’s most successful start-ups.
Getir plans to launch in London in mid-2020, followed by São Paulo, Paris and Mexico City. The company is expected to explore the prospect of selling alcohol and tobacco, which cannot be bought online in Turkey. “Whatever is legal we can sell,” Mr Salur said.
The 58-year-old, who also founded BiTaksi, Turkey’s largest taxi-hailing app, said he believed Getir had virtually no competition for its ultrafast service — although the owners of Turkish bakkals, traditional neighbourhood convenience stores that also allow local customers to request quick home delivery, may beg to differ.
“Ten minutes is so fast that it’s almost now,” Mr Salur said. “It’s faster than if you were to shop for it yourself, even if you have a store on your street.”
The news of Getir’s successful fundraising will be heralded by Turkey’s small but growing start-up scene. It comes after a difficult 18 months for the country’s economy, which is still recovering from a currency crisis that wiped almost 30 per cent off the value of the lira in 2018.
Alex Ham, chief executive of Numis Securities, which advised on the Series A funding round, said he hoped the interest in Getir would “shine a bit of a light” on the Turkish market.
He said: “I don’t know that there are 20 other Getirs in Turkey but I do know that there are some super-talented entrepreneurs and some really interesting businesses. And VCs who are interested in finding the next idea are waking up to this.”