We know the retail grocery market very well, having sold a company to Morrisons, so we were very excited when Haatch were introduced to Devan Hughes, back in 2017. His on-demand delivery platform & network created the opportunity for consumers to order groceries from supermarkets and have them delivered to their door in as little as an hour, by an independent network of shoppers using their own vehicle and the Buymie App.
Based in Ireland Devan had incredible market knowledge, not just the UK market, but also of the players in the USA and South America and the scale they had achieved in those markets. A core part of our original investment thesis in Buymie was looking at the incredible scale and traction the international players had achieved and knowing that we could replicate this in the UK & Ireland market, and beyond. It became an easy decision to back him from a very early stage (just a bit larger than a SEIS investment).
The initial investment from Haatch into Buymie was €200,000, leading a pre-seed investment round of €550,000 in January 2018, supported by Crowdcube and strategic angel investors which added an experienced board and exec team from the get-go.
After making good headway in Ireland in 2018, with exponential growth and significant progress with supermarkets, Haatch led a further investment round in January 2019.
Growth accelerated again, and more capital was needed to support this growth. So in December 2019, Haatch led a larger investment round, of €800,000, this time supported by 2 other VCs and this was the catalyst for a first of its kind partnership with Lidl in Ireland which enabled Lidl customers to have access to online grocery for the first time!
Then came the pandemic
With the onset of Covid 19, the demand for home delivery of groceries went through the roof with retailers unable to scale their legacy capabilities which require full time employees, chilled vans and expensive infrastructure. The speed and efficiencies offered by Buymie came into their own. To take advantage of the rapidly growing demand a further funding round was raised in June 2020, this time for £4 million. It was a typical Follow On investment. It was led by larger VCs, with Haatch contributing a further €450,000.
So, what has all this achieved? Buymie has grown across Ireland, delivering services for Dunnes, the most popular store chain in Ireland, as well as Lidl. Buymie has been used by 1 in 10 households in Dublin and has successfully launched further afield in Ireland in Galway, Limerick and Cork.
The planned expansion into mainland UK was brought forward, with an operation successfully set up in Bristol.
What is important is that as we learn to live with the pandemic, the demand for online grocery deliveries has settled at a much higher level than pre-pandemic, and the efficiencies of Buymie mean that growth is continuing apace and the ability for exponential expansion in same-day large basket grocery delivery is second to none.
Fred Soneya, co-founder and partner at Haatch Ventures said: “This is a classic example of how we like our portfolio to grow. Where there is a really great idea, we can back them early, follow and support their growth and re-invest at later stages. Buymie have been brilliant in grasping the opportunities as they emerged, and building a robust and highly profitable company, that is now generating significant revenues”.
The reason it has been so popular Buymie are unique in the market, enabling consumers to order large-basket for same-day delivery.
It also demonstrates the need for a Follow on Fund. All growingly successful companies need to raise more money to achieve their potential, and that is what the new Follow on Fund from Haatch is designed to do.’
In Q4 2021 a much larger funding round completed, enabling expansion into new regions and countries. Buymie also doubled its business again in 2021.
Fred Soneya Co-founder & Partner
Having co-founded Haatch in 2013, Fred is responsible for the day-day running of the Haatch funds and supports the investment process end to end and works with portfolio businesses in advisory and board roles.
Previously Fred was responsible for a number of highprofile, large-scale innovation projects across Kiddicare. com and, post-acquisition, Morrisons. Fred created award-winning digital customer experiences bridging the online-offline gap at Morrisons.
This included the launch of browse and order points, mobile payments and electronic shelf-edge labels powered by early-stage technology companies. To achieve this Fred worked with cutting-edge, early-stage technology start-ups to integrate and piece together award-winning customer experiences.