Glovo wants to deliver on African promise

By Natacha Gorwitz

Posted on Monday, 13 May 2019 15:07
A delivery driver for Glovo cycles in downtown Milan, Italy, May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

After successful launches in Morocco, Kenya and Côte d'Ivoire, the Spanish delivery start-up, created in 2015, aims to open in Ghana and Nigeria by the end of the year.

The delivery app announced on May 6 a new €150m round of financing from Lakestar and Drake, Idinvest Partners and Korelya Capital. This is the largest ever achieved by the company since its creation in 2015. “The idea is to invest in Glovo’s expansion in Africa,” says Tania Quintero, CEO of Glovo in Côte d’Ivoire, where the Spanish start-up launched its activities last month.

  • Glovo entered the African market at the end of 2018 with Morocco, where the app is available in Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakech.
  • Since January 2019, it has also been available in Nairobi.

On the continent, as elsewhere in the world, Glovo is pursuing an aggressive development strategy. By 2018, the company had launched a new city every four days on average.

Abidjan’s supermarket on wheels

“We are interested in both West and East Africa, many countries are in the pipeline,” says Tania Quintero, who is on the lookout for a local country manager in Côte d’Ivoire. Her objective is clear: “we want the city to be yellow”, the colour of Glovo’s motorcycle messengers.

The company has already announced its intention to open Ghana and Nigeria by the end of the year.

  • In the absence of direct competitors, it currently refuses to disclose its growth figures and number of users on the continent.

Like the American firm Uber, Glovo is a networking platform. Its users can order, deliver and send any product – meals, shopping, bouquets of flowers, etc – in any location – but also your keys in case of forgetfulness, or documents at the office, in less than an hour.

“In Côte d’Ivoire supermarket shopping is the most successful,” says Tania Quintero, with special offers for Ramadan and a delivery cost of 500 CFA francs, with no minimum purchase.

Burger King and Tacos de Lyon onboard

The application has more than a hundred employees in Africa, out of more than a thousand worldwide, and 5,000 couriers. To expand its market share, the Spanish start-up is multiplying partnerships with local suppliers and retailers and fast food chains.

  • In Morocco, Glovo is partner to Burger King and Tacos de Lyon.
  • In Kenya, Simbisa, which includes several brands (Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn, Galito’s, Creamy Inn and Stop & Shop & Bakers Inn).

“In Africa, the main challenges we face are related to Internet connection, sometimes requiring the service to be relaunched, and addresses,” continues Tania Quintero. The delivery address does not always appear on Google Map. Users can therefore locate themselves on the application map or contact customer service to do so, if necessary.

  • In order to strengthen its technology and adapt it to these new markets, the company, whose tech hub is based in Barcelona, also plans to hire 300 new developers.

The delivery application is available in more than 100 cities and more than 20 countries around the world. It has more than one million users and 5,600 partners.

This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique

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