Peloton pedals toward an IPO, self-driving is big business and SaaS’s new highs

We had TechCrunch’s own Connie Loizos in the studio along with your humble servant and General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos. A fine group for a busy …

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week was a treat. We had TechCrunch’s own Connie Loizos in the studio along with your humble servant and General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos. A fine group for a busy week.

We had to pare our topic list some for length, but after working out what qualified as the biggest news from our usual orbit, we decided to touch on:

  • Peloton’s bank shopping:Peloton, the popular in-home cycling service, is looking for banks to help take it public. We riffed on its revenue, revenue growth, its possible margins and price points. Peloton has become a big name in recent quarters due to its growth, and its marketing. We’re excited to read the eventual S-1. Check here for historical context regarding its debut.
  • Postmate’s private IPO filing:Postmates actually filed, albeit privately, putting it a smidge further along the public-offering conveyor belt. The Postmates IPO will help the market better understand the food delivery marketplace, an area where a host of companies play. Including the company in our next topic!
  • DoorDash’s latest round: Yes, more money for food delivery. DoorDash is said to be on the hunt for $500 million more at a valuation around $6 billion. That’s many dollars at a very high price. Oh, and don’t forget this.
  • Nuro’s enormous check: Have you heard of Nuro? No? Neither had we. But it just raised over $900 million in a single go. Even for 2019, the delivery-robot-car company’s fundraising is aggressive.
  • And the latest in SaaS: Quickly, the private SaaS market looks hot, and the public SaaS market is scorching. It’s a good time for SaaS. Which is odd, as it seemed that the world ended in December.

All that and we had some fun. Thanks as always for listening to Equity; it’s a treat to make for you each week. Stay cool!

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.

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Food Delivery Startup Postmates Files for IPO

As we noted in our January story, the eight-year-old Postmates has competition from services like Amazon Restaurants, Uber Eats, Door Dash and …

No time frame, size or price range for the IPO has not been specified.

Subscription News: Food Delivery Startup Postmates Files for IPO

Source: Postmates

Last week, San Francisco-based food delivery startup Postmates Inc. filed confidentially for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission, reports the Wall Street Journal. Postmates has not specified a time frame to complete the IPO, nor the size or price range they are targeting. Postmates confirmed the filing in a brief February 7 statement. Postmates said the IPO will begin after the SEC has completed its standard review.

This news comes just three weeks after Postmates announced it raised $100 million in Series F funding. At that time, the company was valued at $1.85 billion. Four months earlier, Postmates announced $300 million in funding, as the company marched toward an IPO.

What makes a food delivery startup worth nearly $2 billion? There are several factors that make Postmates attractive to investors. Looking back to the September funding round, Postmates shared some of their impressive growth statistics:

  • Postmates average annual growth was more than 250 percent over the past four years, with gross margins now close to 50 percent.
  • Postmates makes millions of deliveries each month, generating more than $1 billion in gross merchandise volume per year.
  • Postmates saw record adoption of its Unlimited subscription model in 2018, doubling the number of total subscribers from 2017. This huge influx of subscribers gives Postmates and its investors some solid recurring revenue on which to rely going forward.
  • The Unlimited subscription plans growth has been 300 percent, year-over-year, with one of every two orders coming via the Unlimited subscription program.

Subscription News: Food Delivery Startup Postmates Files for IPO

Source: Postmates

The transformation of how commerce moves in cities demands that we build the most innovative tools for businesses to keep up and distribute their products to the modern consumer efficiently and cost effectively, said Bastian Lehmann, Postmates CEO and co-founder, in a September 18 statement. Postmates is proud to be the first and largest on-demand network that is enabling the growth of retail across the country, and todays investment accelerates our ability to pair technology with the vitality of our neighborhoods.

The companys Unlimited subscription program, which launched in 2016, is contributing to the companys success and its long-term value to investors. Subscribers pay $9.99 a month, or $95.88 per year, after a free seven-day trial to get free delivery on restaurant deliveries more than $15 from more than 350,000 restaurants in major cities including Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle and more. Subscribers also skip added fees for small carts and peak pricing, and they get exclusive membership offers including promotions, discounts and invitations to exclusive events. Postmates claims that a membership pays for itself for subscribers who place one order a month. The average Unlimited subscriber saves $90 a year.

As we noted in our January story, the eight-year-old Postmates has competition from services like Amazon Restaurants, Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grubhub, but Postmates has some serious financial backing. What sets Postmates apart is Postmates partners and ultimately its customer service Do they deliver on time? Is the food still fresh when you get it? Do they keep their promises to their customers?

Insider Take:

The way consumers shop and dine has changed dramatically in the last several years. Postmates recognizes that, and it is meeting customers where they are at home or work. When the busy-ness of life takes over and customers dont have time to shop or cook, Postmates is there to save the day and to make sure customers eat without having to go out. The subscription program and the huge infusions of cash have provided the company with additional stability, making the time right for an IPO.


Dana Neuts is Subscription Insider’s Senior Staff Writer, covering our daily subscription news as well as member features, case studies, and reports.

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Uber Eats beats Glovo in speed, but not range

They are the foot soldiers of two waring food delivery services — Uber Eats and Glovo. A battle between the two started this month as Uber Eats rolled …

People wearing bright green and yellow backpacks seem to have invaded Kyiv.

They are the foot soldiers of two waring food delivery services — Uber Eats and Glovo. A battle between the two started this month as Uber Eats rolled out throughout the city, invading territory occupied by Glovo since its launch in October 2018.

Both services offer door to door food delivery from restaurants around Kyiv. But Glovo has already gathered a longer list of partner restaurants and expanded to include more areas in Kyiv available for delivery. Uber Eats, however, is winning on the most important front — it’s simply faster.

Restaurants

In the four months that Glovo has been operating in Kyiv, it has established partnerships with about 700 individual restaurants, according to the company. It says another 400 are in the pipeline — to be added soon.

Glovo’s trump card is the McDonald’s fast food chain. The two have established an exclusive partnership, meaning that only Glovo will deliver food from McDonald’s in Kyiv. For now, it is working with 18 McDonald’s restaurants.

Uber Eats started this month with a selection of about 200 restaurants. The company says it will add more new places soon. Some of the restaurants currently available only through Uber Eats are Furgoneta, ZigZag and Orang+utan.

Glovo is also an all-purpose delivery service, so its couriers can pick up any goods from anywhere in the city. This means that in theory, a user can order any meal from any restaurant in Kyiv through the “Anything” tab in Glovo’s app. But in practice, this kind of delivery can be hit-and-miss.

Coverage

There won’t be any late-night food deliveries with Glovo and Uber Eats in Kyiv, since both services don’t work past 11 p. m. Uber Eats delivers from 10 a. m. to 10 p. m., while Glovo works for an hour longer, from 10 a. m. to 11 p. m.

Moreover, the companies won’t deliver to all of the districts of Kyiv. At its launch, the Uber Eats delivery map was limited to central Shevchenkivskyi, parts of Pecherskyi and Solomyanskyi districts, and the Podil and Shuliavka areas.

Glovo covers central Kyiv as well, but also delivers to some of the city’s outlying residential districts, like Obolon. It’s quickly expanding to Kyiv’s Left Bank and already delivers to Pozniaky and Osokorky areas.

Prices

Both Uber Eats and Glovo charge for their delivery services as an extra added to the price of meals. But for its first month, Uber Eats is offering free deliveries with promo code “HELLOKYIV.”

Uber Eats’ rate is Hr 30 for delivery regardless of the quantity of ordered food. Glovo’s charge varies depending on individual restaurants and the distance to the delivery address. But it usually matches the prices of Uber Eats.

The Kyiv Post tested Glovo and Uber Eats by making identical orders from the same restaurants to our office through both services. In the first round, we ordered burgers to be delivered at lunchtime — the rush hour for food delivery. Next, we ordered cheesecakes, and in the final round we ordered avocado wraps.

Without the promo codes, Glovo and Uber Eats charged the same price for the delivery of all three different items — Hr 30.

A lone messenger of Glovo delivery walks along Petra Sahaidachnoho Street in Kyiv carrying a company backpack on Feb. 13, 2019. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

Speed

Both services promise to make deliveries in under an hour, depending on the distance. The client should be able to see the courier’s movement on the map in the application in real time. Uber Eats nails the feature, while Glovo’s map can be unresponsive at times.

In the first round of our test, Uber Eats delivered the burger at lunchtime rush hour in 30 minutes. The burger was still warm, though the restaurant’s packaging was poor. Glovo failed, being unable to deliver the burger for over three hours, forcing us to cancel the delivery.

Glovo’s courier was completing several orders at once, which was evident from his route on the map. He told us so himself, and so did the support service. The service has apologized, offering a promo code.

In the second round, it took an hour for Glovo to deliver the cheesecake. Uber Eats made it in 40 minutes. In both cases, the cheesecake was fresh and neatly packed by the restaurant.

In the third and final round, the Kyiv Post ordered wraps with avocado outside of lunchtime hours. Glovo did a little better this time, delivering in 30 minutes. But Uber Eats still came faster, in just 22 minutes.

So Uber Eats won our delivery race over Glovo fair and square, 3:0. Although it has just started this month, it already has a base of dedicated drivers from Uber’s taxi service that launched in Kyiv back in 2016. Uber drivers can get involved in Uber Eats, and the company also hires new couriers on motorbikes, bicycles and on foot.

Currently, both Glovo and Uber Eats pay their couriers Hr 70–100 ($2.6–3.7) per hour, according to the companies’ vacancy announcements. This is within the average salary rates in Ukraine and Kyiv.

But since the quality of both services ultimately depends on the number of couriers, there will be a higher demand for workers, and hopefully, this will lead to a rise in wages. Because the better the couriers are paid — the bigger their smiles will be on delivery.

And they might be a little faster too.

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For his next act, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is quietly building a new kind of food-delivery …

Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber who was ousted from his company in 2017 after a series of scandals and some serious boardroom drama, …

Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber who was ousted from his company in 2017 after a series of scandals and some serious boardroom drama, seems to be making some serious progress with his new startup.

One business unit of Kalanick’s new startup is working in the food delivery world. It’s opened in some locations, and ramped up to several dozen employees — some of them former Uber employees, as the Financial Times reports.

And, to keep his plans under wraps, employees are reportedly being told that they cannot update their LinkedIn profiles with their new job at his company.

Read: Melinda Gates has some great advice on how working parents can reduce stress

About a year ago, Kalanick announced that through his investment fund, 10100 (pronounced Ten One Hundred), he had acquired a real-estate startup called City Storage Systems, and installed himself as CEO. City Storage had an interesting mission: It redevelops distressed bits of real estate, like underused parking lots or dying retail locations, into physical sites that support online businesses.

City Storage was focusing on two niches in particular: the CloudKitchens unit, which builds kitchens for chefs who want to start food-delivery businesses, and CloudRetail, which builds facilities to support online retailers. CloudKitchens is also making software to help run these food-delivery-only restaurants, the FT reports.

It is CloudKitchens that appears to be off to good start, the FT reports. It offers kitchen space for restauranteurs who want to start up their own food delivery service, and is somewhat of a competitor to Uber’s own UberEats. Deliveroo, the European food delivery service, also offers a similar shared-kitchen service known as “dark kitchens.”

Among Kalanick’s new employees is a former senior Uber manager from China, who had been an executive at bike sharing company Ofo, reports the South China Morning Post. CloudKitchens has opened kitchens in Los Angeles, is working on opening them in London, and has property in San Jose, presumably to open operations there.

The food delivery business has been booming. Postmates has filed for an IPO, and Uber Eats is expected to gross $10 billion in revenue, up from $3 billion in 2017, an important business for Uber as it marches towards an IPO of its own.

Kalanick is said to be focused on growing his food delivery fast as he did with Uber, so his entry in this market will be interesting to watch.

A spokesperson for 10100 declined comment.

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5 Soul-Satisfying Soups That You Can Order From Your Bed

This article is a part of Washingtonian’s feature: Winter Fun Indoors & Out. Our editors and staff pulled together the best things to do this winter, …
Winter FunWinter Fun

About Winter Fun

This article is a part of Washingtonian’s feature: Winter Fun Indoors & Out. Our editors and staff pulled together the best things to do this winter, including snowball fights, cozy places to get a drink, ice skating, and more.

You just got home from work. You’re freezing. Problem is the fridge is bare. Here are our five favorite delivery soups to cozy up with, preferably on your couch.

Maketto’s Pork Noodle Soup

Why you should order it: This Cambodian soup tastes like a porcine version of pho, with a restorative broth and plenty of jalapeños, bean sprouts, and pork shoulder.

Delivery by:Caviar.

Delivery area: DC.

Prescription Chicken’s Hangover Soup

Why you should order it: You don’t need to be hurting to appreciate this zesty chicken base, aromatic with turmeric, horseradish, and ginger and tempered with egg noodles.

Delivery by: Uber Eats, Caviar, ChowNow, and Postmates.

Delivery areas: Arlington, McLean/Tysons, Falls Church, Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, DC.

Millie’s Clam Chowder

Why you should order it: It’s packed with bacon and fresh clams, and most important, it isn’t too thick.

Delivery by:Postmates, DoorDash.

Delivery areas: Bethesda, Northwest DC.

Toki Underground’s Red-Miso Ramen

Why you should order it: Loaded with pulled pork, soft egg, pickled ginger, and vegetables, it’s the richest, heartiest ramen we’ve found.

Delivery by: Caviar.

Delivery area: DC.

Fava Pot’s Red-Lentil Soup

Why you should order it: This Egyptian spin on lentil soup sets itself apart with just enough cilantro and spice.

Delivery by: Uber Eats, Grubhub.

Delivery area: Falls Church.

This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

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