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Startups thrive on 15-minute delivery during pandemic



From milk to eggs to toilet paper, staff in central Moscow quickly fill shopping bags, in a scene that is also replicated in New York, as covid-19 delivers in just a quarter of an hour.


Launched in Moscow in 2019 as Lavka by Russian internet giant Yandex, the online service grew significantly during the public shutdown in the spring of 2020 and continues to expand around the world.


“Before the pandemic we were just ( … ) an accessory for entertainment, but everything changed after the pandemic, especially at the beginning, when people were very nervous, “says Maxim avtokhov, 30.


The delivery services of the major store networks came under enormous pressure, which led to a significant slowdown in their speed, which led some customers to express delivery services by bicycle delivery workers transporting goods in smaller quantities prepared in “dark stores” closed to the public to avoid waiting long days for larger stocks, and since then many Muscovites have acquired these new habits.


“When we come back from work and look for something to eat, we can order a ready-made dish or products to prepare the dishes ourselves,”says lawyer Yuri Nekrasov, 32.


His family only goes to a shop once a week or two, where lavka also delivers drinks and canned food, as well as fresh produce.


The majority of the customers of the service are young people who are amateurs of modern technology and the affluent who want to make specific purchases, and while the price of products is higher than that found in stores, some basic products can be purchased at competitive prices.


Expansion around the world

During the fourth quarter of 2020, service revenues exceeded 4 billion rubles (52.4 million), or 18% of Yandex’s total taxi and meal delivery activities.

Lavka is now active in several major Russian cities, and the company offers its services in Tel Aviv, with a planned launch in Paris in the second quarter of the year, followed by London.


At a warehouse in Moscow, kotman katanbek Oulu arrives with a yellow and black bag, before leaving with two orders side by side.


“We can make between 3,000 and 5,000 rubles a day (39 and6 66),”says the 18-year-old Kyrgyz.


On the other side of the world, on Park Slope Street in Brooklyn, New York, the scene is similar at the headquarters of the firm “Fridge no More”.


A delivery worker with a blue and white backpack sets off to deliver two orders to a customer on a nearby street, before returning in a few minutes, in this place the founder of this startup wanted all its employees to be employees.


The Russian founders also say that the adventure began in 2019 with Anton gladkoborodov, 40, in New York, and Pavel Danilov, 38, in Moscow.


“We knew that the service was well received in Moscow, and we said to ourselves why not try it in New York?”.


The pandemic has given a strong boost to their activity, with the startup making more than 15 million this spring and expecting to open dozens of new locations over the next 12 months in New York.


According to PitchBook analytics, more than 14 billion has been invested in global procurement delivery since early 2020, with the majority spent in 2021.


With covid-19, demand for delivery has increased significantly, according to Olivier Salomon of AlixPartners, a consultancy.


“But we don’t know yet what will continue from the innovations that have emerged in the last 18 months, what will overwhelm, delivery speed or display capacity? It’s hard to reconcile.”


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