French grocery delivery startup La Belle Vie has emerged as the successful acquirer of Frichti, another food delivery service that had been placed under court-ordered receivership. This news comes as the latest development in the ever-evolving landscape of quick commerce and food delivery services in France and Europe.
La Belle Vie, a French grocery delivery startup, has successfully acquired Frichti. Frichti, which previously faced financial difficulties resulting in court-ordered receivership, will now be integrated into La Belle Vie’s operations. Both companies will continue to operate under their respective brands but with differentiated market positions. La Belle Vie plans to streamline Frichti’s delivery infrastructure, while also launching Frichti Market as a curated selection of products. With this acquisition, La Belle Vie aims to improve Frichti’s unit economics utilizing its own successful model of same-day delivery and profitability.
Background on Frichti and Gorillas
Frichti, established in 2015, had secured approximately €100 million in funding over the years to provide ready-to-eat meals for lunch breaks. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company expanded its offerings to include grocery deliveries as well. In January 2022, Gorillas acquired Frichti during a period when quick commerce was a highly lauded post-pandemic startup sector in Europe. However, Gorillas encountered significant difficulties shortly thereafter, resulting in a series of layoffs, pullbacks, and consolidation measures. Eventually, Getir acquired both Gorillas and Frichti.
Getir, however, recently filed for bankruptcy in France, though it continues to operate in other markets such as Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. Consequently, a commercial court examined the prospect of resuming Getir’s French business operations under new ownership. While Getir and Gorillas were ordered to cease operations by the Paris court, Frichti entered into administration.
La Belle Vie’s Progressive Growth and Unique Approach
La Belle Vie, founded in 2015 with a distinctive positioning, sought to create an entirely online supermarket offering a range of fresh products like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and cheese, as well as consumer packaged goods like cereals, shampoo, and ketchup. The company’s growth has been organic and steady, with a $28 million (€25 million) Series B funding round in 2021 and achieving profitability earlier this year, thanks to its tech-focused approach to online grocery shopping.
“From day one, we developed our own technology from scratch. We have built our own enterprise resource planning system, incorporating warehouse management, order management, and transport management systems – all developed in-house,” explained Paul Lê, co-founder and co-CEO of La Belle Vie.
By 2023, La Belle Vie anticipates generating $60 million (€57 million) in revenue, excluding any contributions from Frichti. In comparison, Frichti reported $73 million (€69 million) in revenue in 2022, with 80% of its revenue being derived from the Paris area alone.
Future Operations of Frichti under La Belle Vie
With the acquisition, La Belle Vie intends to retain 168 out of 408 Frichti employees. However, it plans to consolidate the delivery infrastructure from Frichti’s 16 hubs to just 4 hubs, given La Belle Vie’s exclusive focus on the greater Paris area. Prior to this transaction, La Belle Vie already had 350 employees.
Both La Belle Vie and Frichti will continue to coexist, as they have distinct market positions. La Belle Vie recognizes the strength of Frichti’s brand in Paris and acknowledges its own relatively lower visibility due to raising less capital. La Belle Vie’s emphasis has been primarily on technology, logistics, and process orientation. La Belle Vie co-founder and co-CEO Paul Lê emphasized the company’s commitment to developing a profitable business model for foodtech deliveries in France.
Previously, Frichti offered approximately 2,500 different items, while La Belle Vie currently offers 25,000. Customers residing in Paris and utilizing the Frichti platform will have their food delivered from La Belle Vie’s two main hubs. Additionally, corporate cafeterias that previously relied on Frichti will now be serviced by La Belle Vie’s four remaining micro-hubs.
The acquisition will also encompass the launch of Frichti Market, a new website and app by La Belle Vie. Frichti Market will feature an editorialized selection of products from both Frichti and La Belle Vie, but it will be limited to 6,000 items.
Paul Lê further elaborated on the different customer personas targeted by each service, stating that Frichti appeals to individuals and small families seeking a Parisian lifestyle, while La Belle Vie caters to families making larger grocery orders.
Ultimately, La Belle Vie aims to enhance Frichti’s unit economics, leveraging its own successful model of same-day delivery and solid profitability. Paul Lê affirmed, “We’re the only company from Western Europe that has cracked the last-mile delivery model with same-day deliveries. La Belle Vie is a testament to unexpected success.”