It has been a tradition since 1991 for China s state television broadcaster, CCTV, to co-hold an annual gala with government agencies on March 15, World Consumer Rights Day, for the sake of protecting consumers rights.The program this year featured mostly tech companies, including the biggest e-commerce site, Taobao, and the food delivery unicorn Ele.me, exposing their acts of infringement and fraud.Let s have a look at what Chinese consumers are complaining about and how companies responded to the charges.Photo from Baidu ImagesEle.meSafe and healthy foods are almost like a luxury product for Chinese people.Reports allege that this platform has provided food from unsanitary, and even unlicensed, restaurants due to the loose process Ele.me employs to authorize a restaurant to operate and the slack regulations they use.Ele.me responded through its official WeChat account saying, Dear consumers, we pay close attention to the problems reported and have formed a new task force to investigate the license validity of all restaurants, and will delist all illegal restaurants.On Thursday, Ele.me announced it had delisted 25,761 illegal restaurants.This still didn t save Ele.me from being singled out by CCTV for criticism.Last December, Alibaba invested USD 1.25 billion in Ele.me, pushing its valuation to USD 4.5 billion.Photo from www.jiqiren365.comDJIThe red-hot drone maker is also on the blacklist .Experts expressed concerns that once a security hole emerged on smart terminals or equipment, criminals could take advantage of the loophole to remotely control the equipment, threatening the physical and property security of consumers.
Executives at restaurant food delivery startup Deliveroo may have felt a chill down their spine on Tuesday as Amazon announced tentative steps to move in on their territory by launching a restaurant food delivery service over the pond in Manhattan, New York.Deliveroo is arguably the best-known restaurant food delivery company in the UK but one of the startup's early employees is aware that there are other companies eyeing up the space it operates in.Last Wednesday, before Amazon announced it was going to deliver food from 350 eateries across Manhattan, Dan Warne, Deliveroo's managing director for the UK and Ireland, told Business Insider: "I m sure there will be some much bigger fish who consider entering the market at some point.But we feel we re in a very good position."Deliveroo, founded by former investment banker Will Shu and Greg Orlowski in 2012, pays a fleet of riders to pick up food from restaurants and deliver it to customers at their homes and offices."Restaurants don t necessarily have a back entrance to handle drivers or a second kitchen to handle deliveries," explained Warne.Warne said Deliveroo plans to put the RooBoxes in areas where there isn t necessarily high footfall.Tommi's first started using the RooBox in February.Tommi's manager Robert Magnusson told Business Insider that the RooBox has allowed Tommi's to test new markets and expand with low financial risk and overheads.The results of the test will be based around how drivers feedback on it.
The amount of money being invested into food delivery startups declined rapidly in the first quarter of 2016, according to research from venture capital analysis firm CB Insights.Grocery and restaurant delivery companies raised $609 million £416 million in the first quarter of the year, down from $2 billion £1.4 billion for the final quarter of 2015.CB Insights' data shows that food delivery startups are set to raise half as much money in 2016 as they did in 2015.In 2015, $5.4 billion £3.7 billion was raised by some 259 food delivery startups, up from 58 in 2012.London's Deliveroo raised a $100 million £68 million funding round in November 2015, while Berlin's Delivery Hero raised $110 million £75 million in June 2015.The most well-funded food delivery startup to date hails from China, with Shanghai-based ele.com raising $2.3 billion £1.6 billion from investors at Silicon Valley fund Sequoia, Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, and many others."US-based companies have attracted 45% of food delivery deals since 2012, followed by India with 18%, China with 10%, and Germany with 6%," wrote CB Insights on its blog."However, the dollar breakdown looks rather different."China s five mega-rounds since 2012 three to Ele.me and two to Womai contribute to the nation s 41% share of food delivery dollars over the five-year period, even as it took just 10% of deals.Germany has racked up six $100 million mega-rounds: three to Delivery Hero, one to HelloFresh, and two to FoodPanda."Of Germany s food delivery mega-rounds, investor Rocket Internet participated in four.
TinyOwl is among several food delivery startups in India that have recently run into operational troubles despite support from marquee investors.Issues include the high cost of logistics and a oversaturated market Bloomberg reports that more than 400 restaurant delivery startups have been founded in India over the last three years, raising a total of $120 million in funding .Like Zomato and Foodpanda, two of its biggest rivals, TinyOwl was forced to hold mass lay offs last year.TinyOwl, however, may have another shot at life.Partnering with Roadrunnr, which handles last-mile deliveries for e-commerce and food delivery companies, may give TinyOwl an advantage over its competitors if it relaunches service.TechCrunch has also contacted Roadrunnr for comment.
Food delivery startup Zesty is rolling out its office catering service beyond San Francisco to locations throughout the Silicon Valley peninsula, and has brought on two food and hospitality executives to support its expansion.Joining Zesty as Director of Food is Nate Keller, formerly Executive Chef at Google who oversaw its growth from 400 to 400,000 meals served daily, and was the founding executive chef at Sprig.Also joining the startup as Director of Service and Hospitality is Will Douillet, the former Senior Director of Operations of Michael Mina s restaurant group.Keller said he appreciated Zesty s mission to improve the way humanity eats, and the challenge of working for a fast-growing company that doesn t currently make its own food.And I d like for us to provide better services to help chefs make healthier choices for the meals we are serving and their customers in general, Keller said.Zesty CEO David Langer said the company also uses algorithms and data analytics for menu planning, and to predict and optimize logistics.
Deliveries are currently limited to Singapore s Central Area, its main business and commerce hub, but the company said it will expand its service coverage and menu.Uber reportedly began signing up restaurants and testing UberEATS in Singapore last month.The app first debuted in Toronto at the beginning of this year, before expanding to four major U.S. cities in March.The question for UberEATS, however, is whether or not new users will want to stick with it when there are already fairly well-entrenched food delivery services in Singapore, like Rocket Internet-backed FoodPanda and Deliveroo, whose investors include Accel and DST Global.Its tech infrastructure also may help it achieve higher margins than other food delivery companies, which often struggle to balance profit with the high-cost of providing on-demand deliveries.Uber, which has raised $9 billion in funding so far, has said that it plans to become a major hyperlocal logistics player, providing quick deliveries of food and packages, instead of just rides.
The demand for our meals has been amazing, even outside of the Deliverd Local area, co-founder Paul Rawlings tells me.Deliverd Chef Box is priced at £5.50 per dish, including delivery, but — based on a pre-order rather than purely on-demand model — there s a minimum order of 6 dishes, though subscriptions can be weekly or fortnightly and paused or canceled at any time.This is a great way to also test new regions without having to set up new operations, adds Rawlings.We can do it at this price point as it is tightly integrated into Deliverd Local systems, this is already proving to be a cost convenient and sustainable way to truly address the mealtime challenges faced by busy people such as yourself .And, thanks to a plethora of new food delivery startups, such as online restaurant EatFirst, nearly broke.Meanwhile, Deliverd has also been testing what it s calling a Personal Chef service where I m told every customer is given their very own personal chef whose sole goal is to learn about their food preferences and lifestyle, make relevant menu suggestions, and send friendly text or email reminders.
The Chinese e-commerce giant, which went public in 2014 in the largest NYSE IPO in history, quietly disclosed that the SEC is looking into whether it has violated federal securities laws.The probe focus is centered around Alibaba s relationship with its affiliate organizations, its business on Singles Day, China s largest online shopping day in which Alibaba grossed $14.3 billion in sales last year, and other general investments.Alibaba has spent more than $40 billion on M over the past five years, including recent billion dollar deals with food delivery firm Ele.me, Southeast Asia s Lazada and video site Youku Tudou, so there s plenty to pore over.The Chinese firm has a number of affiliate companies, including Ant Financial — which controls its Alipay service — and Cainiao, which is focused on logistics and recently raised its first external funding at a reported valuation of $7.7 billion.Cainiao was founded three years ago with partners from the logistics industry.Alibaba holds a 48 percent share in the business, but its exact role and financial involvement in the organization is unclear, as The New York Times pointed out last year.
After all, there s something strangely … artificial about the computer-based brain.And while we may be interacting with AI systems more frequently than we realize hi, Siri , a new study from Time etc suggests that Americans don t believe the AI revolution is quite here yet, with 54 percent claiming to have never interacted with such a system.In today s world, technological solutions provide a convenience in our lives that is unmatched by anything else.From on-demand apps like Uber to food delivery services like Seamless, it s almost possible to avoid human contact altogether, said Barnaby Lashbrooke, CEO and Founder of Time etc.While people may be comfortable using technology to get their lunch and dinner delivered, there are some tasks that will always be better accomplished by humans.Curiously enough, humans also seem decidedly confident in their own abilities, with 35 percent of respondents saying the Artificial Intelligence would never match human intelligence though that assertion has already been put to quite the test .
The startup competes in the incredibly fierce market of food delivery startups in Paris.Compared to its competitors, Nestor has a full stack approach and focuses on weekday lunches for office workers.The good news is that Nestor is opening up deliveries in La Défense, the large business district with hundreds of thousands of workers.While Nestor doesn t really compete with Frichti directly, everything I wrote about Frichti s full-stack approach still holds true for Nestor.Food delivery startups operating in Paris, like Deliveroo, Foodora and Take Eat Easy, need to make sure that restaurants can generate margins using their services.Like in other industries, managing every level of the stack lets you bring the prices down or generate significant margins.
There s the 35-hour week, the abundance of cheese, and the notion that wine should cost less than water.And now, there s something else for us career types that might make the country even more appealing: Nestor is a company that s delivering lunch directly to office workers.Sure, food delivery startups are everywhere, but Nestor is a bit different in its employment of full-time chefs whose sole responsibility is to get a delicious three course meal from their kitchen to your office.Everything is made in-house, so there s none of this middle man business that some other startups have adopted.As of now, the geographic range Nestor covers isn t all that impressive you can only order if you re located in the western part of Paris , but the firm is planning on expanding its services to La Défense, Paris business district that houses hundreds of thousands of professionals.No plans to come to the U.S. just yet and besides, New York City already has startups such as Maple , but as the on-demand economy grows ever larger, we can probably expect a lot more Nestor-like companies to make a showing in the coming years.
Photo: K. Y. ChengOnline food delivery companies foodpanda and Deliveroo plan to continue to expand their coverage of Hong Kong neighbourhoods, as tighter funding hits the on-demand food industry in overseas markets.Rocket Internet-backed foodpanda and London-based Deliveroo said they are expanding in Hong Kong and were sufficiently funded to weather problems faced by start-ups in other markets which have seen mergers and closures as venture capital financing has slowed.Photo: SCMP HandoutCB Insights defines the sector as including online ordering platforms, meal kit delivery, grocery delivery as well as new types of food sources such as insect protein companies.In May, India s food delivery start-up TinyOwl merged with hyper local delivery company Roadrunnr.Foodpanda, which focuses on emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East launched its Hong Kong service in June 2014.In March foodpanda acquired the Hong Kong operations of food delivery firm delivery.com.
According to reports from the International Financing Review and the Wall Street Journal this week, the company, which is best known for its messaging app, is contemplating a dual initial public listing in Tokyo and New York City this summer.Line may also hold an IPO in Tokyo as soon as next month, says the WSJ.This is almost less than half of the $9.8 billion valuation Line reportedly anticipated when it first applied to go public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in summer 2014.But the company, a subsidiary of South Korean Internet giant Naver, postponed its plans in order to tackle growth in global markets.Line makes most of its revenue through sticker sales and in-app games, but it s also attempted to build its messaging app into a platform with enough services streaming music, mobile payments, food delivery, taxi hailing, shopping, digital assistants etc.The company created a $42 million fund to invest in services that it can potentially integrate and also made several acquisitions, including streaming music service MixRadio.
Image copyrightWalmart customers in the US could soon have their groceries delivered by Uber drivers under a pilot to be announced by the US retail giant.Chief executive Doug McMillon will unveil the partnership with car-hailing services Uber and Lyft at Walmart's shareholder meeting later on Friday.The company said in a blog post that it expects the trial to start within the next two weeks.Walmart already offers an online grocery delivery service in 13 markets.The driver will pick up the order and deliver it directly to the customer's location.The pilot will begin in Denver, Colorado and one other city, reportedly Phoenix, Arizona.
Photograph: AlamyUber is recruiting an army of delivery drivers as it prepares to go to war with Deliveroo for a slice of the UK s takeaway food market.The taxi-hailing app confirmed it was finalising plans to roll out its UberEATS service in the UK as it looks for ways to build on the success of its fast-growing service.The San Francisco-based firm has advertised for a restaurant partnerships manager to forge ties with British restaurants.Uber is also understood to be offering a £100 signing-on fee to delivery partners, its term for bicycle and scooter drivers joining its fleet.We re always looking at what other services we can bring to the market here.The campaign, Get there with Uber, will seek to woo customers and drivers by suggesting that the income from working for the company could help them start their own business.
Uber is planning to expand its food delivery business to the UK, BuzzFeed News reports.UberEats, as the service is known, allows people to order food during a fixed window each day from selected local restaurants and get that food delivered by an Uber driver.The job ad reads:The Restaurant Partnerships Manager role is a unique opportunity to help grow one of Uber s newest services: UberEATS.The role may involve ownership of the entire relationship lifecycle with our restaurant partners — beginning with pitching, negotiations and onboarding, all the way through to analysis and optimization of delivery operations."There are already several startups offering food delivery services across the UK so Uber will have its work cut out if it wants to gain anywhere near the same traction that its taxi service has.Deliveroo is just one of the companies that Uber will be going up against.The company has raised $200 million to help it expand to around 40 UK cities, with another 30-40 on the horizon.Deliveroo UK and Ireland managing director Dan Warne foresaw the arrival of larger companies into the UK food delivery market.It helps the market to innovate.
Food delivery startup Postmates has switched up its local operations, reducing its on-site staffing in certain markets and raising concerns amongst couriers that the company might be scaling back.In an email sent to some couriers in May titled Change is in the Air and obtained by Business Insider, Postmates detailed how it will now rely on remote managers to oversee operations across some of its network of local cities.In certain markets, like Pittsburgh and St. Louis, there will no longer be someone in the local office every day.In this case we've rotated some of our community managers and increased the budgets for the markets in question.For example, moving the operations out of the city means that couriers looking to refill supplies, like bags or expense cards, will now have to wait over a week before getting a replacement — a noticeable change from the expediency from before.The changes come as the crop of richly-funded food-delivery startups that spread across the country in recent years are in the spotlight.Munchery, another food delivery company, changed its business model in April, and DoorDash recently raised a new round of financing below its previous valuation.Meanwhile, bigger companies such as Amazon, Google and Uber are making inroads into the food delivery business.Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann has declared that he is building the "anti-Amazon."
Just Eat, Deliveroo, Hungry House – UberEATS?It could soon be a thing.Uber already has services operating in the US, Canada and Australia that deliver food from select restaurants to a destination chosen by the customer.Now the taxi app company is exploring its options in the UK.We re always looking at what other services we can bring to the market here.At this stage the company is unwilling to comment further on what might differentiate UberEATS to the services already existing in the UK, but it may not be long until we find out.
The San Francisco-based firm is currently in the process of recruiting bicycle and scooter drivers in London as it prepares to continue wading into the delivery sector and tap into the UK's food delivery market.Why advertise with usCurrently available in 16 major cities across the globe, including New York, Toronto, Singapore, Paris and Melbourne, the service allows users to order food from selected local restaurants during a fixed period each day and have their food delivered by an Uber driver.Currently available in 38 UK cities, the restaurant food delivery service announced that it had raised $200m in funding to date as of November and plans to expand its service to 30-40 more UK cities by the end of 2016."I'm sure there will be some much bigger fish who consider entering the market at some point," Warne told Business Insider in May.The company has also been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from rival traditional taxi services across the globe as well, sparking anti-Uber protests and bans against the service in some European cities such as London and Paris.The European Commission, however, recently warned governments not to clamp down on "sharing economy" companies such as Uber and Airbnb, saying they should only ban such services as a "last resort".
Sweden is a test stage service with online food delivery is made, where appropriate, in the refrigerator until the customer is away from home, says the Wall Street Journal. The courier company PostNordin and supermarket chain ICA's partnership is based on a special drop-down smartphone lock, like the one the customer must have their front door. Lock the developer is a startup company Glue. PostNord even promises that suppliers take off their shoes in the hall before you take the customer's groceries in the fridge. At the moment, the service tried only about 20 households a test group. WSJ's interview with the test user Kiku Mlosch, 29-year-old product manager, at least not shy away from the fact that strangers have access to his house.