Gig Economy Project: Podcast – The rise and fall of grocery delivery in Europe

Billions of venture capital funding was ploughed into Europe’s grocery delivery sector just three years ago. Now, there’s almost nothing left to show for it. What went wrong?

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“If you can go to the moon, why are you still going to the supermarket?”

That was the pitch of Kağan Sümer, former CEO and co-founder of the Gorillas grocery delivery platform, founded in Berlin in 2020. 

Sümer promised Gorillas could deliver groceries to your home in 10 minutes. “Faster than you” was the company’s first slogan. 

Gorillas took off during the pandemic, attracting billions in venture capital investment. It became Europe’s fastest ever ‘Unicorn’ – a start-up with a valuation of over €1 billion – taking just nine months to reach that 10 figure sum. 

But the success didn’t last. By the end of 2022 the company was on the verge of liquidation as its costs spiralled, demand slowed and venture capital looked elsewhere. It was sold to Getir, a Turkish grocery delivery platform which means ‘Bring’ in English.

Getir became the undisputed king of Q-Commerce in Europe, but it’s domination of the market was still not enough to save it. Getir’s empire began to crumble in 2023 as the same factors which brought down Gorillas were quickly undermining the whole industry.

In early May of this year, Getir – once valued at over €10 billion – decided to retreat from all of its foreign markets, now solely operating in Turkey. Getir’s decline signals the demise of the Q-Commerce specialist operator, a rise and fall that brought tens of thousands of workers into its orbit before just as quickly dispensing with almost all of them. 

What explains this rapid journey from boom to bust? To discuss this, I’m joined by three guests who have intricate knowledge of the app-based grocery delivery sector. 

Rachel Verdin is Research Fellow at the Digital Futures at Work Research Centre and author of ‘Back to the Dark Ages’, a report by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies on the grocery delivery sector. Rachel is looking for more grocery delivery workers’ to talk to for a new report, if you can help contact her at

Harry Parfitt is a former Flink grocery delivery courier in Freiburg, Germany. Flink shut down their operations in Freiburg when Harry and his colleagues were on the brink of setting-up a Works’ Council there. Written your Masters’ thesis about it at the University of Frieburg 

Aju John hosted and produced the Delivery Charge podcast series, which looked at how platform workers are organising in India and Germany. A large part of the Delivery Charge series looked at grocery delivery organising in Berlin at Gorillas, Getir and Flink. 

03:28: Why has Europe’s grocery delivery sector collapsed?

18:02: Worker organising and resistance in the grocery delivery sector

34:10: What future for Q-Commerce and what lessons can be learned from the sector’s rise and fall?

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