Amazon invests in UK mobile food courier Deliveroo

The investment may be strategic in expanding Amazon’s food delivery footprint in the country.

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Amazon is pouring millions of dollars into Deliveroo, a UK food delivery and courier service.

Deliveroo is raising $575 million through the investment round, which was announced on Friday. Amazon is leading the investment push and other participants include T Rowe Price, Fidelity Management, Research Company, and Greenoaks.

Amazon is at the helm of the new Series G funding round, and as such, is expected to have contributed a substantial portion of the investment.

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The Series G round builds upon previous attempts to raise funding. In total, the London-based delivery service has managed to raise $1.53 billion since 2014. Past investors include Index Ventures, Accel, Greenoaks, General Catalyst, and DST Global.

Founded in 2012, Deliveroo has rapidly spread across the UK as a means to order food, alcohol, and goods from convenience stores with in-the-hour delivery.

Now operating across 100 cities, vendors participating in the Deliveroo scheme receive and hand over customer orders to Deliveroo riders rather than hire their own delivery staff. This, in turn, has given smaller restaurants the opportunity to exploit mobile technology and a shift towards takeaway ordering through apps rather than traditional telephone ordering or in-person collection.

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The company says that the investment will be used to expand its business operations further and will also be used to secure new customer bases, as well as to grow its delivery-only "Editions" kitchen arm.

"Amazon has been an inspiration to me personally and to the company, and we look forward to working with such a customer-obsessed organization," said Will Shu, Deliveroo CEO. "This is great news for the tech and restaurant sectors, and it will help to create jobs in all of the countries in which we operate."

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Amazon has shown a substantial interest in food and groceries in recent years. Amazon Fresh has laid the foundation for offering perishables to customers, but investment into same-day food delivery services may indicate that Amazon is interested in increasing its footprint into rapid food delivery offerings -- especially given its recent push into one-day shipping in the United States and the opening of the company's Delivery Service franchise to employees. 

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