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This is crazy. In a good way. Dutch “online milkman” Picnic, currently (only) active with grocery delivery in Utrecht, Amersfoort, and Almere, raised a staggering €100 million from a broad collection of Dutch family offices. NPM Capital, the private equity firm of the family-owned company SHV, takes the lead, with De Hoge Dennen, Hoyberg and Finci also participating. Although the valuation of the – in 2015 launched – scale-up hasn’t been disclosed, we were told the investors took a minority stake.
Grocery on demand
A year and a half ago, Picnic started out with grocery delivery on demand via electric vehicles and boasted explosive growth ever since. The investment in Picnic will enable the online supermarket to realize “its ambitious growth plans”.
“We are the modern version of the milkman, that has a complete assortment, available for everyone and always ready to serve,” co-founder Joris Beckers states. “In every new city where we launch our operations, we have repeatedly been astonished by the enormous interest shown by customers in the services we offer. These new investments will go a long way to help us serve a great many more people and become the most sustainable supermarket on the planet.”
Fentener van Vlissingen
NPM Capital, the private equity firm of the family-owned company SHV (Fentener van Vlissingen), takes the lead in the €100M round. In a way, that’s funny, as SHV (Steenkolenhandelsvereniging) accumulated its wealth by trading coal; Picnic upholds a bit of an eco-friendly image and utilizes solely electric vehicles for its deliveries.
Bart Coopmans, managing director of NPM Capital: “Picnic is a company that fits perfectly into our long-term investment strategy. It’s a Dutch company that is highly innovative, has a strong brand, an ambitious team, and an enormous potential. We’re proud to be able to be a part of it.”
Other noteworthy investors are Hoge Dennen, the investment firm of the De Rijcke family. It started in 2002, after the sale of retail chains Kruidvat, ICI Paris and supermarket Groenwoudt. Hoyberg is the capital fund of the Hoyer family, who hold a large stake in Heineken.
Picnic recently announced its intention to launch in other cities, including Delft, Leidschendam, Voorburg, Nootdorp, Ede, and Veenendaal. Over 30,000 households have already done their shopping via the Picnic online supermarket. Projections are that the scale-up will create job opportunities for over 2,000 new employees this year. In the longer term, this number is expected to rise to 10,000.
Picnic’s growth and ambitions are an indication of the potential inherent in Dutch scale-ups. His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, special envoy at StartupDelta, comments: “Picnic is a good example of ‘thinking big’. Scale-ups in the Netherlands have an enormous potential, and Picnic has now joined the leaders here via innovative technology and job creation. Also, this makes it clear that Dutch investors are becoming increasingly interested in Dutch scale-ups from a long-term investment perspective, and that is fantastic news.”
Picnic wants to disrupt the retail industry by promising the lowest price possible as well as free home delivery. Before its launch at the end of 2015, Picnic worked in stealth mode for three years with a team of 30 on a new distribution method for “home deliveries of groceries and other necessities without any unnecessary intermediaries.” “The client chooses which delivery run suits him best and knows the exact delivery time via the Picnic shopping radar. The cost of this new distribution method is so low that delivery is made free of charge, and the prices are also kept very low,” according to the press release.
Picnic is a Dutch startup, founded by seasoned entrepreneurs: Joris Beckers and Frederik Nieuwenhuys were the owners of Fredhopper, the developer of personalization software for webshops, Michiel Muller already has many startups to his credit and was previously involved in the Tango unmanned petrol stations startup and an ANWB competitor, Route Mobiel. Bas Verheijen is the former marketing director of Albert Heijn and C1000. Bouke van der Wal is the owner of the Boni supermarket chain. More recently, the international retail entrepreneur Gerard Scheij also came on board.