You can make millions in sales

Delivery startup Gorillas: on the way to 100 million sales and a billion valuation?

Philipp Westermeyer has hosted many entrepreneurs in the OMR podcast. So if he chooses the Business Story of the Year in January 2021, there must be a really extraordinary story behind it. And that is what it does in the case of Gorillas: The startup delivers supermarket items within ten minutes for 1.80 euros. How he managed to collect 36 million euros from investors with this model and how the whole thing should work economically in the long term - this is what founder Kağan Sümer explains in his first podcast appearance in the OMR Podcast.

16 months ago Gorillas started in the home market of Berlin; The company is now also active in Hamburg, Cologne and a number of other major German cities. The early adopters include many who work in the digital industry. And so there is a lot of discussion in the scene about the gorillas concept: Who does it? How does this work? Can it even work sustainably? And if so, how big can gorillas get?

Dream employer Rocket Internet

The best founder, Kağan Sümer, can give the answers: The Turk came to Berlin two years ago to start a company. It wasn't the first attempt to gain a foothold in the city. The first attempt was four years ago. Originally, Sümer wanted to go to Rocket Internet to learn how to build businesses and make them big quickly. But the Berlin company builder did not respond to his application, says Sümer. Not the first - and not the next five, which he sent out within a month.

So Sumer stayed in Istanbul, earned his first entrepreneurial spurs in the service of a consulting company, before he ended up at Rocket in Berlin around two years ago and worked for their B2B food group. But that did not go well for long, the desire for one's own company gained the upper hand.

Storytelling is half the startup

Sümer has understood that founding today lives from good storytelling in addition to a smart idea. “You have to know three things about me: I love bicycles. I love team sports. And I love consumer business, ”says the Gorillas founder on the OMR Podcast. He once cycled from Istanbul to China and was formerly the captain of the Turkish youth water polo team. After his arrival in Berlin, says Sümer, he had 100 euros in his pocket. He invested 88 euros of this directly in a bicycle.

It is therefore logical that Sümers' business not only has to do with two-wheelers - gorillas delivery men are on bikes - but also that the warehouses in which the drivers pick their orders are filled with loud techno music and the whipped-up, motivating atmosphere should imitate in a water polo changing room, as the 33-year-old says.

The business model of gorillas is inspired by role models from Istanbul, but also by an experience from his childhood. “We did our shopping that way back then,” says Sümer. “My mother opened the window and called. Two loaves of bread, eggs and so on. And the kiosk across the street brought the goods and my mother put down a basket. The whole thing took ten minutes. "

The money is in the street

When he found money on the street one day on his way home in Berlin, he saw it as a kind of sign (and start-up capital) to attempt to bring the shopping experience of his childhood into the present. Sümer was able to quickly win a friend who is a software developer to build him a marketplace. He converted his living room into a warehouse with shelves from the hardware store. And a little later the company - at that time still under the name Get Goodies - started, according to Sümer.

A wild ride followed. Sumer had a plan, but always too little money for the next step. In the podcast he tells how, while looking for a first investor, he scraped together the last of his money for the app and rented a warehouse without knowing how he would be able to pay the rent second. Ultimately, he found his first angel investors in good time, who initially invested a low seven-figure sum in the company. Meanwhile, Gorillas has a successful Series A round behind them and was able to raise 44 million US dollars (here the report on Techcrunch).

1,000 employees, dozens of new locations

Gorillas currently employ 800 people, according to Sümer, and soon there will be 1,000. They operate eleven warehouses and are constantly looking for new city locations. The app will be redesigned soon, and the range is currently being revised. The founder wants to expand in the current quarter, then the seven largest German cities will be served.

But what about the much discussed question of whether the business model can also function sustainably? Sümer says: “The model is simply beautiful. Not because of the ten minutes. But because it's so primitive. ”Which he literally means. Gorillas address primitive customer needs. It's like 20,000 years ago. "I don't think there was ever a caveman who said: we won't go hunting now, we'll wait until Saturday and then we'll all go hunting together." Needs to postpone and collect and then - like a week's shopping - To do it in one go is not in our genes, says Sümer.

Shopping carts over 30 euros as a goal

Applied to the civilized world, the Gorillas founder derived the thesis that previous online shopping offers always aimed at the largest possible shopping basket and wanted to replace weekly shopping. It is annoying, but the supermarkets are basically exactly designed for that. With Gorillas, on the other hand, he wants to satisfy previously unsatisfied shopping needs: when an ingredient is missing in the kitchen at the moment when it is urgently needed. Or if you just feel like a snack that wasn't on your shopping list.

A valid business model should emerge from such "emergency purchases", as Sümer calls them, when customers add products to their stocks. In the long term, he is therefore calculating with shopping carts of over 30 euros, says Sümer. There is already a trend in this direction.

If you also want to know why Sümer believes that he will be able to generate over 100 million euros in sales this year, how many deliveries he can handle as a driver in an hour and why the founder is on perhaps the company's most effective marketing gimmick because of crying babies has given up, then be sure to listen to the current episode of the OMR Podcast.

Our podcast partners at a glance:

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We would like to recommend a new podcast to you: “Datenkasper”, a self-help podcast for “data victims”, as founders Lennard Stoever and János Moldvay, the two hosts, call it. The two are proven experts in the field of data science and have founded companies in the field. With their podcast they want to present this important topic, which many non-experts shy away from, with humor and vividly, create transparency and stimulate discussion. Exciting approach, be sure to listen.

Finally, a note on your own behalf: With the podcast newsletter MIXDOWN from the Podstars, you will be briefed every day on the most important developments in the podcast industry. Subscribe to the newsletter now and be always up to date. It's easy to do at podstars.de/newsletter.

All topics of the podcast with Gorillas founder Kağan Sümer at a glance:

  • How the native Turk came to Berlin to found his startup here (from 6:01 am)
  • Why he cycled from Istanbul to China. (from 8:30)
  • Why he took a stopover as a consultant for tactical reasons (from 11:12 am)
  • How Turkish delivery startups and the service culture of their homeland became a role model for gorillas (from 13:08)
  • Why one's own lack of money played a major role in the decision to found gorillas (from 18:24)
  • How he acquired his first customers for the delivery service with handouts and found out which products he had to offer (from 21:11)
  • Why Sumer told his mother the untruth to prevent his company from failing (from 32:32)
  • How he found the first investor in Christoph Maire who believed in the idea (from 34:36)
  • Why the company changed its name to Gorillas and how Sümer came up with it (from 35:50)
  • How big gorillas are now and what the upcoming steps are (from 39:52)
  • Where exactly he sees the gap in the market for gorillas (from 42:46)
  • Why he believes shopping baskets will grow over time (from 45:21)
  • Why he thinks his business model is superior to that of Lieferando (from 48:57)
  • What Sümer says about speculations that gorillas could make over 100 million sales in 2021 (from 55:10)
  • What opportunities he sees for the business model in smaller cities (from 56:23)
  • What are the criteria for choosing a new location (from 58:33)
  • How many customers Gorillas has now (from 1:03:50)
  • Which marketing strategy the startup is pursuing (from 1:06:28)
  • Why the boss himself slips into a gorilla costume from time to time (from 1:09:55)
  • Why bananas are currently the best-selling product (from 1:17:50)
  • When he expects a valuation of more than one billion euros (from 1:21:42)
  • How he competes on gorilla cloning and fairness (from 1:25:43)
  • Why the average age of customers has changed (from 1:34:10)
  • Which other product categories such as drugs could be added (from 1:36:12)