Fallen Turkish startup delivery star Getir exits Europe, US

Fallen Turkish startup delivery star Getir exits Europe, US
Glory days. Getir spread rapidly across much of Europe. It arrived in Amsterdam in May 2021. / Getir
By bne IntelliNews April 29, 2024

It’s a full retreat. Turkey’s fallen startup star, rapid groceries delivery app company Getir, on April 29 announced that it is withdrawing from the US and all of its remaining locations in Europe.

Getir, which will now only focus on its domestic market, shot to commercial stardom during the lockdowns of the covid pandemic, with consumers stuck at home switching to groceries ordered on apps delivered to their homes. Post-pandemic, Getir’s business model has proved unsustainable across a wide geography amid cost-of-living crises, waning demand and heavy competition.

Getir was valued at up to $11.8bn when it raised funds in March 2022, but its valuation was as low as $2.5bn when it it raised $500mn in September last year.

“Sad day for Getir today… Many many thanks to all our employees who contributed,” company founder Nazim Salur wrote on X.

In Europe, the exit means Getir quitting its remaining operations in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

"Getir will focus on Turkey, its main market where it sees the greatest potential for long-term sustainable growth," the Istanbul-based company said, adding that the European and US markets it was moving out of accounted for 7% of revenues.

It is not clear how many jobs will be lost. In late 2021, the group, for instance, had 1,500 employees in the UK, most of whom were likely delivery riders. However, the group has since ceased operating in several British cities including Liverpool and Birmingham.

Getir cut 2,500 jobs—more than a tenth of its workforce—last year.

The company waved goodbye to France, Spain, Italy and Portugal amid the growing difficulties, including its own costs moving up.

In its announcement on the market departures, Getir added that US subsidiary FreshDirect, which it bought late last year, would continue operations.

Founded in 2015, Getir grew into one of the largest of more than a dozen delivery app companies that promised to deliver groceries in minutes. However, most of its rivals have already been sold or closed. 

Those that remain have tightened their operations. They have laid off riders and sold warehouses.

Getir acquired German rival Gorillas in a $1.2bn deal in 2022 after absorbing the UK’s Weezy a year earlier.

New competition for Getir emerged in the form of takeaway delivery firms, such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats, who tied up with supermarkets to deliver groceries. Some supermarkets have, meanwhile, developed in-house grocery delivery operations.

Investors in Getir have included Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Growth Fund (ADG), Alpha Wave Global, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global. Getir said it has secured new financing from Mubadala and G Squared and would use it to raise its competitiveness in Turkey. It did not disclose the amount of the new investment or provide any updated valuation.

A source close to the company told Reuters that Getir remained open to talks on what to do with its assets in the markets it is exiting.