One of my investment strategies is to go for early-stage startups and pre-seed. Subconsciously, I have realized I am drawn to emerging markets because my experience is rooted in those markers. I have acquired extensive experience and knowledge of how to crack those markets. Investing in Yummy
was one of the very few times I pitched my tent with a Series A± Startup.
The main attraction for me was the (emerging) market. Having a first-mover advantage and grabbing the market leader status in an emerging market can be leveraged if you play your cards well. Launched in April 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Yummy started as the first food delivery app in Venezuela, and expanded into multiple categories including ride-sharing, groceries, pharmacy and tickets for events in the LATAM Market. They have taken a growth approach of going for tier-2 markets in that region, still untapped with non of the global players. Here are some of the reasons I took the plunge to invest with them. Emerging markets have the challenge of uncertainty and stability but faster growth, another attraction.
Yummy is the leading ride-sharing and delivery app in Venezuela ( ~30M population). With a 45% market share in ride-sharing, and a 57% market share in app-based delivery, Yummy is the market leader in its home market of Venezuela. In addition, the company has a ‘merchant enablement’ business which helps online vendors with payment and delivery solutions and includes an online marketplace. Yummy is growing extremely quickly.
From 2020-2022, Yummy logged scorching growth in orders and still with room for more growth. Revenues grew 30X since launch, Maybe they can make it to 50X or even 100X by a later stage. Who knows! The number of customers, drivers, and merchants using Yummy has all grown at triple-digit rates over the same period.
Their strategy to start in smaller Latin American markets where big regional players like Rappi — and international behemoths like Uber — were hesitant to invest resources has so far been a winning one. Consider Venezuela (30M Population), Bolivia ( 12M Population), Paraguay (7M Population), It reminds me of MTN
‘s original horizontal growth into massive consumer population markets in the early and mid 2000’s. Traditional telcos had shied away from ( Iran, Yemen, Cyprus, Nigeria, etc). Big players like Orascom, Virgin, Vodacom, Reliance Singtel would have been expected to expand such but because of the risk of doing business or the small size compared to Tier One markets did not go all the way. MTN took that risk and landed the number 1 or 2 spots in those markets. It is easier as the first mover to dominate those markets if you can mitigate the risks.
There have been lots of attempts by tech companies trying to evolve into a super App; global players like Uber, Amazon pushing for this. Something that Yummy has been able to do in Latin America. Yummy’s acquisition of Bolivian e-commerce platform Yaigo was part of its bigger regional plan of creating a Super App in the region. They started with food delivery and dark kitchens in 2020. Yummy now also offers ride-sharing, grocery delivery, and event e-tickets in its mission to become a Super App. Their USP? The convenience of giving users more options in one place!
The ability to crack the investor market globally. The direct one is the difficult task of raising money to start and grow a business in Venezuela, a country that ranked among the worst globally for doing business. This startup has gained admission to an American seed money startup accelerator, Y Combinator
allowing Yummy to attract institutional investors
like Ethos VC, Anthos Capital, Somas Capital, and Hustle Fund. They seem positioned to explore potential growth avenues.
You can read more about my investing in Startups in emerging markets like Kladot
or my take on Angel investing.
Love to hear about your experience investing in emerging markets if you have.