Online grocery supermarket VOLY has raised $18 million in a seed round just five months after launching.
The round was led by Sequoia Capital India, with increased backing from Global Founders Capital (GFC) and Australian-based Artesian Capital.
The business launched in July 2021 seeking to take on the rapid food delivery market with a promise of having groceries at your door in 15 minutes or less.
The cash will be used to expand the team ahead of a national rollout for the Sydney-based startup, which employs its own riders, delivery centre and store staff. It is currently available across 42 Sydney suburbs.
While the sector is rife with competition, and the major supermarket chains Coles and Woolworth, having a several year head start in online shopping and delivery, and no shortage of similar fast delivery services, including Ubereats, VOLY Co-CEOs and cofounders Mark Heath and Thibault Henry believe they can carve out a niche in the kind of smaller local shops occupied by the likes of visit to the IGA with speed on their side.
They have traction in the space, with Heath helping launch Uber in Australia after a career at Goldman Sachs, while Henry built, scaled and sold Balto which was a B2B last-mile business.
Heath said VOLY retails most key household products available at any major supermarket from 8am to 10pm,
“VOLY is here to completely change the way people shop for groceries by giving Australians back their most precious resource, time,” he said.
“Our model, from a fully employed delivery and dispatch team to the way we use electric bikes to deliver, is designed around the way people live. We firmly believe that our customers have a better experience when our riders and other staff are part of the company, working with us.”
His co-founder Henry called VOLY “the supermarket of the future”.
“We’re doing away with the need to do a weekly grocery shop by providing convenience alongside reliability in a market that offers some of the slowest delivery times in the world,” he said.
“By owning our own supply chain, VOLY delivers at blazing fast speed without compromising on price, quality or availability. We source directly from suppliers, store in our own micro-fulfilment centres and deliver using fully employed and mostly full-time staff.”
Sequoia India managing partner Abheek Anand said that the $90 billion Australian grocery market continues to be dominated by offline retail.
“The Sequoia Capital India team was impressed by the strong consumer love for VOLY, their compelling value proposition, and an impressive team of repeat founders that has blitzscaled businesses in Australia before,” he said.
“With on-demand models traditionally scaling very successfully in the country, the decision to lead their seed round and help them scale their business across Australia was an easy one to make.”