I don’t like London very much. I know it’s an amazing city and all that but I just find it impersonal and unfriendly.
From the packed trams where nobody talks to you; to the congested roads where nobody lets you out.
The amount of development taking place is off-the-scale but everything is so expensive and an £11.50 daily congestion charge really hurts.
So what’s this got to do with tech? Nothing really but during my day in London this week I really started to appreciate the size and scale of tech start-up Deliveroo for the first time.
Deliveroo is like Uber in the sense it’s a tech platform that enables transactions to take place in a simple and cost-effective way.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in London, Deliveroo has created the technology that allows people to get food from restaurants delivered to their home or office, normally by a cyclist or moped driver.
The mode of transport is critical in congested cities like London because speed of service is critical when delivering food.
Everything is simple. Just like Uber it doesn’t handle cash. The customer simply enters their postcode on Deliveroo’s website and a list of participating restaurants pop up. You place your order and the food is delivered to your door. Bosh!
I’ve never used Deliveroo before but the company charge the customer a £2.50 delivery charge and take a commission fee from the restaurant. That’s what I call a double whammy.
Last year Deliveroo reported a 650 per cent rise in takeaway orders.
Hardly surprising then that investors have been queuing up for a piece of Deliveroo.
According to the Financial Times there are now 20,000 self-employed couriers working for Deliveroo. It’s an impressive story.
So what could go wrong? Like Uber, Deliveroo is coming under growing pressure to give its freelance delivery riders more workers’ rights.
However, perhaps the biggest threat comes from competitors. Uber recently launched a food delivery service in London – UberEats – to rival the likes of Just Eat and Deliveroo.
Ultimately it comes down to scale. If Deliveroo is to steal a march on its rivals it needs to sign up more restaurants; more delivery drivers; more cities; and more countries. To do that it needs great tech.