Deliveroo founder Will Shu has said that an IPO is “somewhat logical” for the $2 billion dollar company, as reported by Business Insider.
With Deliveroo’s last funding round leaning heavily on public investors T. Rowe Price and Fidelity, Shu is conscious of the fact that the start-up that has completely changed the complexion of food delivery is approaching a cliff edge when it comes to their financial operations. An IPO, or Initial Public Offering, would open the company up to public investment. Its operational focus has also shifted, as Eater London has extensively reported: dark kitchens, under the moniker Deliveroo Editions, have effectively moved the company closer to food ownership; Deliveroo-backed iterations of successful restaurant groups continue to thrive; public policy has hampered both of these efforts.
As leader in a market that is posing an ever-growing challenge — or alternative — to new or expanding bricks-and-mortar restaurants, such a move would look both logical and relatively risk-free; of course, this is not the reality. Shu’s decidedly non-committal response to the pressures of public operation was telling:
What I am focused on is running the company and winning, and really building a product which means the best restaurants for consumers, and getting food to them quickly. Whether that's in the private space or public space is — there's definitely differences. But ultimately ... there's pros and cons to both, right? I think that for me that's my focus and whether that be in the public arena or private arena, that's fine.
An immediate takeaway is that a VC investor’s pockets are often not as deep as their patience — as Jinn’s swift, sudden demise went some way to proving — but the sheer visibility of the Deliveroo brand and its rapid, if cash/strategy-heedless rate of expansion can go some way to appeasement. Public investment and its challenges are a very different pizza bag of, well, pizza: recent concerns about workers’ rights might fly easily from private individual to private individual; in the public eye, it’s a very different issue.
Shu also commented on American expansion, suggesting that the viable strategy would be to move into multiple markets at once. This would be another tempting reason to go down the IPO route, given the vast finance required: what’s clear is that Deliveroo see no reason to slow down their expansion.