Jinn—Postmates of UK—conjures up $7.5M Series A

On-demand delivery company defies odds by raising early venture capital in cooled down market

Financial trends and news by Ronny Kerr
April 5, 2016
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In spite of a cooling market, all’s not dead in the on-demand world.

London-based on-demand delivery company Jinn has closed a $7.5 million Series A round of funding, according to TechCrunch, led by Samaipata Ventures with participation from Elderstreet, Bull Partners and existing angel investors.

I’ve reached out to the company to confirm the round and will update when I hear back.

The CEO and founding partner of the Madrid-based VC firm Samaipata is José del Barrio, who co-founded Spanish food delivery service La Nevera Roja in 2011. In 2015, he sold the company to Rocket Internet for €80 million (approximately $100 million), and stayed on for a few months to help with the transition.

Interestingly, La Nevera Roja was part of a package deal in February, when London-based Just Eat acquired the company (along with two other food delivery services) for €125 million in cash (approximately $139.3 million).

Despite the ongoing market turmoil affecting everything from the global financial market to the food delivery niche specifically, Barrio and his new firm still appear attracted to the possibilities of the on-demand market, as evidenced by their latest infusion of capital in Jinn.

Jinn is similar to Postmates, a U.S.-based on-demand delivery service, in that both provide all-purpose on-demand delivery. In other words, neither focuses exclusively on food delivery but will pick up just about anything you need.

That said, Jinn (like Postmates) does appear to highlight restaurant menus specifically, so it must be an important part of the business. Today the company operates in to London and Manchester and plans to expand to other regions in Europe.

Also, Jinn appears to be ramping up the same way did Postmates: with bikers as couriers. Though Postmates still uses the image of a cyclist in its logo, the company now lets its couriers (or "Postmates" as they're called) get around however they want, be it by car, scooter, bike, or on foot. So far, Jinn’s couriers only get around on bike or scooter.

As is commonplace across on-demand companies, Jinn's couriers (or "Genies" as they're called) are self-employed and free to make up their own schedule. Jinn says they can make up to £13 per hour (a little over $18 per hour).

It’s certainly going to be an uphill battle for Jinn to scale given the competition from Deliveroo, Rocket Internet, and Amazon. For comparison, Postmates has raised almost $140 million and Deliveroo (in the U.K.) has raised nearly $200 million.

Still, Jinn appears to be putting up a fight, as the services already processes 50,000 orders per month in Central London. The question will be whether the company can continue to scale and turn a profit, something that eludes clarity in the on-demand market.

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