We begin to see them in certain large cities, flocks of colorful scooters and armies of messengers with associated logos. At the back of any grocery store or “dark shop” a faceless city store destined for delivery only waits patiently for their smartphone to start flashing and ringing, indicating that a task needs to be performed.
A race to be completed, always, acutely. Because these scooters, these self-employed, exploited, poorly paid, last ersatz from the Uber era, are attached to the German gorillas or Flink, to Zapp, Frichti, Flink or the Turkish Getir, just to name a few.
These small businesses that we no longer count on are “fast trading” or “q-trading” start-ups that promise you delivery of groceries in ten minutes, with pointers in hand, right outside the door. They surf on an unusual period, marked by the pandemic and incarceration, which has given online businesses and delivery activities a dramatic boost.
The entrepreneurs who created them are not the only ones who believe in the glorious future of these near-instant deliveries: As British Wired notes, Gorillas are already a “unicorn”, a start-up valued at more than a billion dollars , which still intends to raise significant funds and not stop there.
In front of? It’s the same: the shallot race is underway, investors are pouring crazy sums into these young structures. On the exhausted bodies of rinsed workers and disturbed enterprises, only the strongest will survive.
Like Uber, Lyft or WeWork before them and facing the old distribution giants, these frogs must reach the size of an ox as quickly as possible, the critical size and the notoriety needed to make their mark on their minds and their use in the habits. “Move fast and crack things” in English, make omelets by cracking eggs: The old Silicon Valley slogan, despite the Danish debacles it has caused, still has a bright future ahead of it.
The law of the bigger, the faster
Breaks that will be, and breaks that are already. To conquer hearts and market share, and as was sometimes or still is the case for the big brothers Uber or Lyft, Gorillas & co. burn their money without counting, subsidize consumers, multiply campaigns and non-existent or even negative profits. According to German Manager Magazine, which has been taken over by Wired, each of the orders paid out is currently at a loss.
Time pressure, infernal velocities, reliance on algorithms with sibylline function, no reason to specify that here, as elsewhere, the relationship with labor and workers is generally socially destructive.
Gorillas have already had to deal with continental social unrest and the blockade of a Berlin warehouse following the controversial dismissal of several delivery workers. His boss Kağan Sümer did not excel with his social diplomacy, the Berlin Senate decided to get involved and sentenced for speedy delivery organized collectivelyperforming various punching actions.
Some insider anonymous, interviewed by Wired, is not kind to the company, which incidentally has already had to deal with a very annoying leak of personal data.
It is a “empty shell”, explains one of those who clarifies that the inventory tools on which it bases its activity are, to say the least, precarious. ONE “card slot”describes another and predicts it “It’s only a matter of time before it collapses”.
So why, the unfortunate past failures already known, these potentially disabling pitfalls revealed, investors continue to offer mountains of cash for these young shots with an uncertain future? For the market, of course, is promising.
According to figures from Statista, it will thus weigh more than 1.5 trillion euros in 2021. According to a report by McKinsey, its online site has grown by 55% by 2020, and the trend should continue to strengthen. Perhaps these financiers, as Wired notes, are also looking further east, to China in particular.
This phase of fierce competition between young newcomers to the market is now over. Two first-timers, Dingdong Maicai and Missfresh, have already been crowned by juicy stock market listings, effectively placing their competitors in a shadow from which they will find it difficult to extract themselves.