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Image credit: Picnic

Brief: Gates Foundation leads $707m investment in Dutch e-grocer Picnic

September 17, 2021

  • Amsterdam-based e-grocery platform Picnic has raised €600 million ($707 million) in Series D funding.
  • The round was led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, an investment vehicle affiliated with the nonprofit organization set up by the Microsoft co-founder and his ex-wife. Several of Picnic’s existing investors also participated.
  • Picnic will use the funds to hire tech talent, build automated fulfillment centers, grow its electric vehicle fleet, and expand its operations across Europe, with an initial focus on France and Germany.

Why it matters:

It may come as something of a surprise to learn that the Gates Foundation, known more for its initiatives relating to the agrifood value chain in emerging economies, would invest in a late-stage e-commerce startup from Western Europe. However, the nonprofit’s participation in Picnic’s Series D clearly aligns with its wider work towards building a more sustainable food ecosystem, from production to consumption.

Picnic has become a household name in its native Netherlands, where consumers can use the company’s mobile app to order groceries, which are then dispatched from strategically located distribution hubs and delivered to doorsteps by environmentally friendly electric minivans.

Picnic closed one of the top 15 agrifoodtech funding deals outside the US in 2019 – read more here

The startup claims it’s able to keep its prices on a par with brick-and-mortar supermarkets thanks to the efficiencies gained through its vertically integrated ‘own the supply chain’ model. In February 2020, it said its electric delivery fleet had saved customers over 500,000 hours in supermarket visits and had reduced carbon emissions by more than 150,000 kilograms.

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