Just Eat, the disruptive food delivery service-cum-Tech “unicorn” which has spawned a thousand copy-cat companies, from mega-bucks success stories like restaurant food delivery service Deliveroo and Delivery Hero on the continent, to nearly-made-its like Pronto and TakeEatEasy, and still hanging-in-there rivals like Hungry House, has decided to share the secrets of its start-up success – by launching its own Food-Tech accelerator.
The 10 week “intensive programme” will begin on 14th November, in London, and has been “engineered to accelerate your business”. But take note, there is not much time to apply – applications close at midnight on Sunday 30th October!
The Perks – what do I get that I can’t get elsewhere?
The lucky start-ups that are subsequently selected to visit the JustEat office in person and meet some of the team with a view to entering the accelerator, can expect mentoring, not just from within the JustEat family, but also from “renowned industry leaders ensuring your business truly accelerates”.
And not only that, but access to some of JustEat’s partner businesses, including Google, Twilio, Amazon and Dreamstake, the popular start-up platform and funding consultancy, all committed to “helping you get the most out of the programme and have committed resources, tools and support”.
Plus the opportunity to be part of an accelerator “community” – in point of fact, more often than not it is accelerator’s alumni networks that are the ultimate catalysts for early stage success – it’s always better to be part of a movement, and in the know, than to try to disrupt an entire industry on your own!
The immediate benefits of belonging to a start-up accelerator community, also include the atmosphere of positivity and self-belief it can engender, or as Justeat puts it: “a positive growing community where founders help each other on the road to building the future of FoodTech”.
The financial side – how much do I get, what percentage must I give up?
JustEat are bucking the trend of many, often not-for-profit accelerator / incubators who do not ask for any equity, and plan to invest £20k into their start-ups in exchange for for 5% equity in the business.
This is similar to, say, TechStars, for example, who typically invest $20,000 in exchange for 6% equity. From where we are sitting, accelerators that do invest real money in exchange for real equity are still broadly speaking the real deal and that is because, with skin in the game, they have a vested interest in the success of the companies they back.
It may sound cynical to suggest that people only care when there is money at stake, but it does up the intensity somewhat and in the ultra-competitive start-up market and especially within the Food-Tech sector, which is such a congested space, founders, and their investors, often see the benefit of that extra intensity and genuine, tangible commitment.
There are no shrugged shoulders, third day walk-outs and “meh, maybe it wasn’t for them” style excuses when there is a £20k at stake.
Why JustEat? Because What they don’t know about FoodTech probably ain’t worth knowing!
As mentioned above, JustEat have stellar start-up credentials; the business began in a Danish basement in 2001, moved to London, and was grown almost singlehandedly by sales chief, and now group CEO David Buttress, alongside its Danish founder Jesper Buch, once he had made the decision to transfer the business to the UK.
For 2 years the two criss-crossed London, from takeaway to takeaway, drumming up business – 10 years later (in 2014, to be precise) and the company was one of the first to use the LSE’s fast track listing for tech start-ups, floating at a value well in excess of the magical, mythical $1 billion dollar mark – around $1.5bn according to the Financial Times. Since then, bucking the trend of many start-ups who have IPO’d lately, the share price has almost doubled, from a starting point of 300GBp to its current value, just above 530GBp.
JustEat took investment from the likes of Index Ventures, Redpoint, 83 North and others during the late naughties and early naugh-teens, over 3 rounds, totalling £55 million, and now they have turned investor – recently pumping £3.5m into FlyPay, a start-up disrupting the way customers pay for their food in restaurants and at takeaways.
That should help allay any founder’s fears that JustEat’s heart isn’t in the accelerator game. In fact, it’s very “meta” in a way for a start-up to be launching a start-up accelerator so soon after being an early stage minnow scrapping for every piece of business.
And that should maybe be seen as a lesson for applicants. This has the makings of an exciting accelerator in an exciting space, with great mentors, and if any added motivation is required – JustEat’s incredible story should be able to provide it.
Good luck if you decide to enter!