Rohlik, an online grocery delivery startup from the Czech Republic has recently achieved the status of a ‘unicorn’ startup, with its most recent €100M funding round pushing its valuation to €1B. This milestone marks a significant step for the startup and the Czech Republic. Moreover, it is a testament to the success of its innovative business model in a traditionally difficult to crack industry.
This article will look closer at Rohlik’s journey to becoming a ‘unicorn’ startup.
Definition of a ‘unicorn’
In the tech startup world, the term “unicorn” implies a privately valued company at more than $1 billion. It’s a rare accomplishment, particularly outside the biggest startup hubs in Silicon Valley and other parts of the United States. Therefore, it was particularly significant when Czech Republic-based online grocery delivery company Rohlik received a $100 million investment at a $1 billion valuation in April 2020, securing its place as Central Europe’s first unicorn.
The term “unicorn” originated in 2013 where 1% of tech startups had achieved this coveted benchmark; today, that number is closer to 0.5%. Notable unicorn companies include Uber and Airbnb, both disruptive models within their respective industries. To achieve this benchmark requires both sound business management and exponential growth — two traits that Rohlik has managed to attain since its founding in 2014 by founders Tomáš Čupr and Patrik Lančarič.
Overview of Rohlik
Rohlik is an online grocery delivery startup in the Czech Republic. Founded in 2014 by Founder and CEO Michal Hrabánek, Rohlik has become the country’s first technology startup to receive a valuation of more than €1 billion. This makes it a ‘unicorn’; a company that has surpassed a billion-dollar valuation.
In August 2020, the startup reported a $100 million European investment round co-led by Index Ventures and Atomico. The funding round marks Rohlik’s 5th round within 4 years, taking its total raised to date to $190 million (€164 million) from investors such as Credo Ventures, Prime Ventures and Smarter Ventures. The latest investment values the business at $1bn (€850m).
The Prague-headquartered delivery platform is said to offer its services to over 1.5 million customers across 8 cities in the Czech Republic including Prague, Brno and Ostrava daily. Rohlik also operated in Slovakia since 2017 with its operations soon coming to Hungary and Germany this year. The company employs some 1200+ personnel across all of their offices while boasting working capital worth an estimated €90 million annually thanks partly to their collaboration with over 3000 suppliers in these markets— primarily delivering groceries right at the customers’ doorsteps or offering pickup options where needed— hence attributed towards its compelling growth phase over the years among customers who remain focused on convenience while desiring quality products as well.
The Czech Republic’s first Unicorn, Rohlik, was founded in 2014 in response to the growing demand for online grocery delivery. Initially, the startup focused on providing convenient delivery options and building an extensive network of grocery stores.
While the startup rapidly grew, the team had to overcome several challenges to achieve the success it enjoys today.
Founding of Rohlik
Rohlik is a Czech Republic-based online grocery delivery service founded in 2014 by Tomáš Čupr and Viktor V eselý. After launching their service in the Czech Republic, they quickly expanded to other countries, such as Hungary and Slovakia. Rohlik currently serves 6 million customers throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Focusing on online grocery delivery, Rohlik provides customers with convenient ordering, quick delivery times, no minimum orders charges, a transparent pricing model, and its own brand products. Customers can choose their preferred delivery time slot or visit its 12 physical pick-up locations throughout the Czech Republic to secure their order if required.
Through providing great customer experiences and an efficient operational model that offers overall value for both customers and suppliers, Rohlik is now one of the largest online grocers in Europe – gaining the status of ‘unicorn’ startup as it surpasses €1B valuation with its recent €100M funding round from Phenomen Ventures that happened in 2020.
Expansion of Rohlik
Rohlik is a popular online grocery delivery service founded in 2014 by Tomas Veclaw and Oldrich Feidler. The company started as a small grocery delivery service with a mission to empower consumers with the convenience of ordering groceries online. Since its humble beginnings, Rohlik has become one of the leading players and innovators in convenient online shopping, becoming the first Czech tech startup to reach unicorn status with a valuation of over €1 billion.
Rohlik started by offering home delivery services to customers in Prague. Soon after, they expanded their operation to other cities across the Czech Republic, strengthening their presence within the country. By 2019 Rohlik had already established itself as a leader within this field of business, providing services for more than 4 million customers throughout the country. Last year saw even further expansion when Rohlik launched its operations in neighbouring countries such as Slovakia and Hungary, bringing its total operational areas up to 6 countries.
By utilising innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) for multi-step help for customer outreach, virtual product walk-throughs aided by computer vision models, analysis of customer habits through machine learning (ML), and price comparison AI tools among others; Rohlík quickly grew from strength to strength. Partnerships further bolstered this with large companies such as Nestlé CZ or PepsiCo CEE to ensure the availability of specific items or products that could not be found on their platform without these strategic relationships.
These factors have all contributed greatly towards Rohlík’s exponential growth over recent years and brought them firmly into position as one of the most recognised names within this field – making them capable enough to raise €100M at a €1B valuation just last year – further confirming its standing amongst tech startups while solidifying their reputation within the Czech Republic’s competitive e-commerce landscape.
Czech Republic’s new unicorn: Online grocery delivery startup Rohlik raises €100M at €1B valuation
Rohlik has achieved a €1 billion valuation after its latest funding round, making it the first unicorn startup in the Czech Republic.
The online grocery delivery startup secured €100 million from investors, including Atomico, a venture capital firm founded by the co-founder of Skype.
This marks an exciting moment for the company and the region, as Rohlik will be looking to use the new funds to expand its business across the Czech Republic and beyond.
Investors in Rohlik
Rohlik is an online grocery delivery startup headquartered in the Czech Republic. Founded in 2014 by Viktor Haščák and Tomáš Čupr, the company offers consumers an easy option to purchase groceries online and get them delivered within an hour.
The startup has raised €100M in funding at a €1 billion valuation, making it one of the Czech Republic’s first unicorns.
The round was led by PPF Group energizing its artificial intelligence and robots-led logistics platform launch this spring which will revolutionize food delivery industry in Central Europe. Additional investors include Global Founders Capital, Iconiq Capital, Atomico, Credo Ventures and Earlybird Ventures, and existing investors Rockaway Venture Partners and KKCG Digital Ventures. R2G — a private-equity fund created from a strategic alliance between German retail giant REWE Group and Rocket Internet — also participated as lead for the deal.
This latest funding round brings Rohlik’s total raised to nearly $180 million since its inception five years ago. With its new funding, Rohlik plans to accelerate its already rapid growth, providing customers with even wider selection of products from hundreds of suppliers across Central Europe and improved delivery speed for operations across 14 countries in Central Europe, including Germany, Austria and Hungary.
€100M Funding Round
Rohlik, an online grocery delivery service based in the Czech Republic has raised €100 million in a funding round led by Europe’s leading venture capital firm, Atomico. The Series C funding round valued the company at €1 billion, making it the first Czech unicorn.
The newly secured capital will enable Rohlik to expand its operations and increase its market reach in European countries.
The Series C funding will enable Rohlik to grow rapidly and scale its operations across Europe. The investment will also help improve the customer experience with faster deliveries and more choice of products. In addition, this financing round will provide Rohlik with enough liquidity to continue making strategic acquisitions that can further strengthen its competitive edge.
With this injection of capital, Rohlik aims to become one of Europe’s leading online grocery delivery services by 2021.
Rohlik’s growth has been remarkable and the Czech Republic recently granted it the new unicorn status after successfully raising €100M. This has positioned the online grocery delivery startup as one of the most successful companies in the country.
We look into how Rohlik got to this point and what lessons can be learned from its growth.
Expansion of Services
Rohlik is expanding its service reach by targeting locations within and outside the Czech Republic. The company started with just 25 stores and now operates from 240 stores in 4 countries. In addition, Rohlik aims to reach more international markets soon, thus helping them gain more customers and increase their revenue.
They have expanded their services within the Czech Republic and other countries such as Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany. With the newly raised funds, Rohlik can enhance its current business model and expand services into new markets.
To make this happen, they are investing heavily in logistics, technology and operational infrastructure so that customers can quickly access a wide variety of products across different locations. In addition, Rohlik has also announced that they will launch a B2B focused channel that will offer convenient delivery solutions for businesses such as pharma or medical firms.
With successful expansion into additional markets around Europe, there’s no doubt that Rohlik will become one of Europe’s most valuable tech startups shortly.
Expansion of Geographical Reach
Over the last few years, Rohlik has rapidly expanded its presence and made leaps in terms of operational efficiency. The company first focused on its core Czech market, then on neighbouring Slovakia, before expanding into Hungary and Poland. In 2019, the company added Austria to its portfolio and expanded its geographical reach into other European countries.
Boasting a robust technology infrastructure, comprehensive logistics solutions, economies of scale and an aggressive expansion plan, Rohlik is well placed to widen its geographical footprint over the coming years. Moreover, with a total investment of €314 million raised so far from major investors including KKCG Group and Google’s AI-focused venture capital fund Gradient Ventures, Rohlik is also well positioned for further growth internationally. As a result, it is likely that in two to three years the company will have reached beyond the European continent and established itself as a significant global player in online grocery delivery.
As Rohlik grows and gains recognition as a ‘unicorn’ startup in the Czech Republic, it must face some challenges to maintain its success. These challenges include rising competition, customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.
This section will discuss the obstacles Rohlik must overcome to stay competitive in the online grocery delivery market.
Rohlik faces competition from other European grocery delivery services, ranging from larger competitors like Amazon and Ocado to smaller startups like GJ Food and FarmConnect. Competing with these larger companies is no easy task — their size gives them access to resources that Rohlik may not have available, such as marketing budgets or different delivery services.
At the same time, numerous small-scale solutions are competing for a piece of the market share in grocery delivery. Some of these solutions are highly localized, meaning that they fill gaps in service offerings left by bigger players. For example, FarmConnect provides an innovative mobile solution targeted at farmers markets that allows customers to order their food beforehand and collect it the same day. This type of targeted innovation can be challenging for Rohlik to replicate on a larger scale.
Finally, online grocers must contend with other retail options like non-grocery stores such as Tesco and ALDI and local brick-and-mortar grocery retailers that can offer better deals on certain items than online grocers can provide due to higher overhead costs incurred by providing delivery. All these sources of competition make running an efficient online grocery delivery business difficult but not impossible — Rohlik’s success proves that it can be done well.
The complex and constantly changing regulatory environment creates significant challenges for businesses looking to remain compliant while continuing to grow and innovate. Understanding the regulatory framework, including local, state, federal and global laws and regulations, is essential. By staying abreast of legal or regulatory shifts, you can adjust your policies accordingly to mitigate legal risks and ensure compliance.
Specific regulations may include data privacy requirements, labor laws, trade agreements, and shipping restrictions. Ignoring or misinterpreting new or existing regulations could lead to potential financial or criminal penalties for your business. Therefore, companies must cultivate an awareness of the legal landscape in which they operate to take quick action if necessary for compliance.
It is also wise for business owners to consult with professional legal advisors experienced in navigating the complexities of the current regulatory environment. With their help, you can develop strategies that keep your business compliant while enabling you to stay within budget and reach both short-term and long-term goals.
It is a highly positive signal that a company from the Czech Republic has achieved such success among its international investors, giving a strong vote of confidence to local businesses. This is an especially pertinent considering the difficult economic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to its innovative business model, Rohlik has remained a leader in its industry and thrived even during economically challenging times.
Moreover, this new capital will enable Rohlik to further expand its operations and become a European leader. With the recent €100M capital raise, Rohlik is well positioned to continue growing as a “unicorn” startup with excellent potential for future success and development.