Word had already begun to buzz around Stuart, the stealth on-demand delivery startup, when TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear reported that the company has raised a €22 Million round of funding, backed by LaPoste subsidiary GeoPost. The latest financial documents from GeoPost have confirmed that the company invested €10 Million into Stuart for a 22% stake, valuing the company at just over €45 Million – other investors include Jean-David Blanc, Jacque-Antoine Granjon & Olivier Mathiot. The all-star founding team includes Dominique Leca (Sparrow co-founder, acquired by Google), Clement Benoit (ex-Resto-In CEO) & Benjamin Chemla (CityCake.fr CEO, acquired by Resto-In in 2014).
While the company has not launched yet, it’s been recruiting heavily in the recent months, preparing for launches in multiple European cities, including Paris (where the company is legally based), Barcelona (where the team is based), London, Barcelona & Brussels. Stuart boasts same-hour delivery, though it remains to be seen how exactly they will manage that: the company’s website currently calls for interested deliverers to sign up.
Stuart isn’t coming into a Blue Ocean, so to speak – from Uber to Amazon, TakeEatEasy to Deliveroo, there’s a handful of heavily-funded startups looking to close the gap between the consumer and the things he wants to consume. Index Ventures’ Martin Mignot has been very outspoken about his interest in delivery companies – Index has already backed Deliveroo, which has expanded from the UK into continental Europe this year.
While it is clear that there is value to be had and money to be made, it seems impossible that all of the companies who are being backed will exist 3 years from now. The unit economics of last-mile delivery are tough, and the revenue has to come from the consumer or the producer, who are either unwilling to pay more or unable to cut any more off their margins. That being said, turning every brick-and-mortar store into an Amazon Prime-quality eCommerce service may be exactly what the retail world needs.