Gorillas Hires CMO as Rapid-Grocery-Delivery Race Speeds Up

January 21, 2022
Gorillas Hires CMO as Rapid-Grocery-Delivery Race Speeds Up
Luanne Calvert will lead the global marketing team at Berlin-based Gorillas.

Gorillas Technologies Ltd. has hired Luanne Calvert as chief marketing officer as the company tries to solidify its brand in the increasingly competitive rapid-grocery-delivery space.

Berlin-based Gorillas was founded in 2020 and promises delivery on groceries—from pantry staples to condoms to premade salads and soups—in minutes. Gorillas says it offers more than 2,000 essential items at retail prices for a delivery fee of €1.80 or $1.80, depending on location. The company says it employs all of its 12,000 delivery riders and offers service in more than 60 cities, including Amsterdam, London, Paris, Madrid and New York.

Gorillas said it hired Ms. Calvert to help make its brand more internationally recognized. Ms. Calvert will lead Gorilla’s global marketing team and report to the company’s founder and chief executive, Kağan Sümer.

In previous roles, Ms. Calvert served as the chief marketing officer for airline company Virgin America and held marketing positions at companies including retailer Walmart Inc. and technology company Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Competition among rapid-delivery services has exploded in cities such as New York in recent months, with companies including GoBrands Inc.’s Gopuff, Buyk Corp., Jokr SARL, Fridge No More Inc. and Getir Perakende Lojistik AS offering steep deals for consumers and opening neighborhood “hubs” that function as warehouses.

The companies are competing for investors as well. Gorillas last fall raised nearly $1 billion in a Series C funding round led by established German delivery player Delivery Hero SE. Gopuff last year raised $1 billion from investors including SoftBank Group Corp.

But despite the investor attention in the space and the proliferation of contenders, rapid delivery thus far doesn’t appear to be much of a moneymaker, with companies like Gopuff looking to white-label products to boost margins. Gopuff earlier told The Wall Street Journal that it isn’t profitable on the basis of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation or amortization.

After an influx of new players, the quick-commerce space is “looking unsustainably over-supplied and profit-challenged,” according to a November report from retail and technology research and advisory firm Coresight Research. The report said “consolidation, with some nascent players falling out of the market, looks inevitable given the glut of businesses competing on such similar unique selling points and often on the same turf.”

Indeed, one new grocery-delivery entrant, New York-based Fifteen Twenty Inc., stopped service in December after exhausting its funding, Business Insider reported earlier. Its app now directs customers to “switch your grocery service” to competitor Getir.