Local deals discovery site Groupon has acquired Baltimore-based food delivery startup OrderUp for an undisclosed amount, the companies announced Thursday. Since the successful IPOs of Just Eat and Grubhub/Seamless over a year ago, food and grocery delivery has been one of the hottest startup spaces attracting VC investments. According to CB Insights. more than $1 billion was invested in 2014, with a further half a billion dollars invested in Q1 2015. New competitors keeps popping up in the sector, backed by restaurateurs or major tech companies, all competing to take over the local economy.
On-demand food delivery has been a growing market in the past few years, and today two new services with prominent backers are giving New Yorkers more reasons not to cook. Uber is leveraging its fleet of roaming cars into UberEats, which officially launched in New York City and Chicago. Similarly, Maple, a startup back by Momofuku founder David Chang, has also launched today in the financial district of Manhattan.
Unlike standard food delivery apps that congregate all delivery options from local restaurants, both new services push for curated, prix-fixe menus instead, aiming to eliminate the hassle of choosing from an overwhelming number of options with uneven food qualities and bloated prices. While Maple utilizes a network of celebrity chefs to create its daily rotating menu, UberEats partners with a series of locally renowned salad and sandwich joints to curate its menu selections.
In addition to betting big on the upcoming change in credit card tech, mobile payment pioneer Square is also wagering millions of dollars, literally, on the food delivery services that are booming on mobile. The company has announced its acquisition of Caviar, a curated food delivery platform, reportedly for $90 million in stock. Caviar aims to set itself apart from other standard delivery apps by enabling ordering from restaurants that normally don’t offer delivery service. As on-the-go payment continues to grow, tapping into different sections of the consumer market is crucial to the development of Square, and incorporating mobile food ordering into its payment system is most likely just the first step.