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Australia: Online grocery start-up Voly raises A$18m

Company is attempting to disrupt the $90 billion local grocery industry
Voly co-founders: Mark Heath (left) and Thibault Henry (Maria Cruz Photography)

Sydney-based online grocery supermarket, Voly, has raised A$18 million (US$13 million) in a seed round led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India, with increased backing from Global Founders Capital and Artesian Capital.

Launched in July this year, Voly aims to deliver groceries to customers faster than any competitor. Employing its own riders, delivery centre and store staff, and with a delivery promise of 15 minutes or sooner, Voly is attempting to disrupt the local grocery industry.

Voly retails most key household products available at any major supermarket, such as fresh produce, baby formula and cleaning products, available online seven days a week from 8am-10pm. Delivery is free and goods are sold at retail prices.

Voly stated it will use the funding to continue to scale, increase headcount and rapidly increase operations across key urban centres and start a national rollout. Currently available in Sydney across 42 suburbs, Voly plans to expand rapidly from next month to reach millions of Australians around the country.

Voly’s co-founder and chief executive Mark Heath said: “Voly is here to completely change the way people shop for groceries by giving Australians back their most precious resource – time. 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.”

Thibault Henry, co-founder and chief executive, added: “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. 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. Voly is the supermarket of the future that is built around our customers, not the other way around.”

Abheek Anand, managing director at Sequoia India, commented: “Australia’s grocery market, which sees $90 billion in annual spends, is a large and profitable space that 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 blitz-scaled businesses in Australia before. 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.”

Heath and Henry have experience working with on-demand technology brands across the food supply and logistics industries. Heath helped launch Uber in Australia after a career at Goldman Sachs and Henry built, scaled and sold Balto which was a business-to-business last-mile company with clients such as HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and YouFoodz.

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