Blackstone, Arena Holdings, and Tiger Global have invested in the company in a funding round led by existing investor DST Global

Ethnic e-grocer Weee! has raised $315 million in a Series D funding round led by existing investor DST Global. New investors include funds managed by Blackstone, Arena Holdings, and Tiger Global. NutritionInvestor understands that Weee! closed the round at a pre-money valuation of $2.5 billion, up from the $635 million valuation recorded in the latest PitchBook data.

Chief executive Larry Liu founded Weee! In 2015 as a California-based online grocery delivery platform that offers Hispanic and Asian foods speciality products and everyday staples.

“Ethnic communities have been overlooked in the online and retail space. We believe the opportunity to provide these fast-growing communities access to exciting and affordable groceries is tremendous,” said Liu. “We are thrilled to leverage DST Global and our new investors’ strategic view on the future of retail and vast experience building and scaling technology companies to accelerate our mission.”

Weee! said the new capital will be used to further accelerate the company’s geographic expansion across North America with a more efficient fulfilment technology. Funding will also help to build a stronger and more diverse product assortment, and support recruitment efforts.

The company also has plans to invest in engaging the broader Asian and Hispanic communities with state-of-the-art personalisation features.

Weee! has reported that sales have increased sixfold year-over-year, with revenue now in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Market potential

Grocery remains the lowest penetrated retail segment within the e-commerce landscape, and yet the grocery market for ethnic customers is expected to surpass $464 billion by 2030.

Weee!’s current category assortment spans ethnic ingredients essential to Asian and Hispanic cuisines, catering to an underserved population with more than 20% growth since 20102. Weee! currently serves 14 key regions coast-to-coast in the US and aims to expand to 30 cities across North America by 2024.

Based in Fremont, California, the company has received $415-plus million in funding over seven rounds, attracting 11 investors.

Food delivery businesses have seen a commercial boom since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

US-based Instacart, for example, raised $265 million from investors in a funding round it announced this month, hitting a $39 million valuation.

Other businesses in the food delivery category enjoying the boom include upcycled food delivery start-up Imperfect Foods, Good Eggs, and Hungryroot.

Imperfect Foods has also reported an uptake in sales, reaching $500 million in 2020, Good Eggs said it doubled its customers last year, and Hungryroot has reported a 300% increase in active customers year-over-year.

DST Global has seen the uptake in the category and moved accordingly. In addition to Weee!, it has also invested in DoorDash and Instacart.

Rahul Mehta, managing partner at DST Global, said: “Weee! has a unique understanding of how explosive growth can be achieved sustainably in the emerging online grocery space.

“The team’s back-to-basics focus on merchandising, everyday low prices, and remarkable social shopping approach are what sets Weee! apart, and we’re excited to deepen our support for their mission.”

Date published: 18 March 2021

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