arive, the German x-commerce service, has received $20 million in Series A funding in a round led by Balderton Capital. The company, which plans to deliver high-end products to your door within 30 minutes of ordering, hopes to transform the retail environment, as well the local retail landscape.
The funding round, which also included Global Founders Capital and Burda Principal Investments, as well as previous investors 468 Capital and La Famiglia, takes the total raised by arive to $27 million. Colin Hanna, a partner at Balderton Capital, pointed to the unique combination offered by arive, saying, “they are challenging e-commerce conventions with energetic execution and an acute sensitivity to the priorities of modern brands.”
Top brands at top speeds
E-commerce is nothing new. arive, however, wants to transform it. Their vertical model partners with brands to offer an integrated online shopping and delivery service. Shoppers can browse a curated store of products and have them delivered within hours. The founders, Maximilian Reeker and Linus Fries, refer to it as experience commerce, or x-commerce.
One of the key differences they have with potential competitors, they explain, is the rapid delivery times. Fries told TFN, “everything we do is basically on our phones and immediate. Groceries, meals, and entertainment being delivered in minutes. With just three clicks, you can order an Uber anywhere.” However, as soon as it gets to retail, people have to wait. “No-one was thinking about that, so it was a completely new market,” Fries continued. “And brands were looking for a way to participate in that quick delivery scheme.
arive also vets potential brands. And as well as thinking about commercial success, they also consider facts like sustainability, culture, and the brand’s values. They have recently added brands like VanMoof, Bala and Dr Barbara Sturm following this process. Reeker told TFN that it works as a partnership, “we really try to work very closely with the brand themselves. On how the delivery should look like, what they value, how they think about their customers, what they think is important in the future in regard to sustainability, design, and marketing.”
A different way of doing things
arive are growing rapidly. Only launching in summer 2021 in four German cities — Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt — they have already passed 100,000 app downloads and are now looking at how they can expand further.
Part of their success is down to a different way of doing things. The typical rapid delivery model uses ‘dark stores’ which serve the local area. Often the only clue that somewhere is hiding a kitchen or retail service is the continual drone of delivery bikes to and from the store. arive have taken a different approach.
Rather than dark stores, arive have opted for ‘cloud stores’. “We really try to have an impact on shaping the future of a city,” says Reeker, “our cloud stores look nice and feel transparent.” And, instead of competing with existing physical retail in the way traditional dark stores do, part of arive’s model is to include their offer, working with them, so they can benefit from selling their products on arive’s platform.
arive also considers their own environmental impact. One of their inspirations was seeing the environmental impact of traditional e-commerce. “E-commerce delivery in urban cities now is just not sustainable and not really acceptable anymore,” said Fries. “They use lots of transport clogging the cities, creating a lot of traffic, and increasing carbon emissions. We felt that’s something we need to change.” Instead, arive’s delivery will be delivered in environmentally friendly vehicles, reducing the impact of retail on the local environment.
Expanding in current and new markets
Fries and Reeker intend to use the funding to expand arive. Their priorities are building their team and product, looking at enhancing their ranges and also the experience that customers have, for example, offering timed deliveries. They will also be expanding within their existing locations, widening the product and reach they have there.
Their main plans, however, are for further expansion in Europe. They are currently exploring their options within Europe. “We haven’t made a decision yet,” says Reeker, “but are looking at the UK, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.” However, he highlights that Brexit has created difficulties, “it’s very hard for us now we have to differentiate between Europe and the UK.”
The plan, however, is to go live within the next six months. So, for some European cities, they will soon be able to enjoy their favourite brands as quickly as they can order their takeaway meal.