Yababa and the verticalization of grocery delivery

November 23, 2021

We’re excited to announce that our portfolio company, Yababa, has closed its $15.5m Seed round led by Creandum and Project A Ventures. Yababa is a pioneer: the first grocery delivery service purpose-built to deliver specialty groceries to large but still underserved customer segments starting with Turkish and Arabic communities. This fall, the company launched its service in Berlin. 

Untapped market potential

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two years have seen unprecedented growth in the adoption of grocery delivery, with online penetration of grocery sales exceeding forecasts by over 60% in 2020. As restrictions throughout Europe eased, we observed that demands for these services endured, suggesting a systemic shift in consumer behaviour that stretches beyond the COVID impact. With surging demand, we are now seeing a new generation of companies that cater to specialized consumer needs.

Yababa’s proposition is built on the knowledge that Europe’s growing cultural communities remain yet largely underserved in the new generation of grocery delivery services. The customer base is substantial: More than 8% of European residents are born outside of the EU, in addition to European residents of 2nd and 3rd generations with a migration background. The growing demand for their local cuisines and groceries is growing, and while small, specialized, and local offline retailers catering to those needs are mushrooming throughout the continent, the online needs of these communities remain largely unmet.  

Yababa is pioneering multicultural grocery shopping, providing access to underserved communities with a large, high-quality product-range and a convenient shopping experience.

Started less than a year ago, Yababa caters towards Turkish and Arabic communities in Germany. A demographic with a spending power of over €34bn across Europe.

Compared to other grocery delivery services, Yababa stands out for taking a new approach by building a product, designed to provide access to specific communities, quickly and conveniently. By offering an assortment of over 5000 Stock Keeping Units (SKU), Yababa targets the weekly family shopping mission - not the impulse that is targeted by the current Q-Commerce players. This value offering will also go beyond what potential customers can buy at their local mom and pop shops and build upon larger basket sizes.

Best-in-class user experience

Graphical user interface, applicationDescription automatically generated

Alongside the broad product range, Yababa has managed to build one of the best-in-class app experiences for its customers. It’s rare to see startups develop such simple and intuitive UI/UX at such an early stage. The seamless app experience is further complemented by high quality photography unmatched by any food or grocery delivery player. In terms of delivery, Yababa opts for same-day or future delivery slots rather than building on an instant delivery model.

Where the road is heading

Once established with Turkish and Arabic cuisines in Germany, Yababa plans to build out an inclusive platform catering towards all major cultural communities in Europe. With increasing immigration rates and a broader increased appetite for new cuisines, there are many opportunities for expansion. What’s more, Yababa also has plans to build out group buying and social commerce functionalities, which will further deliver on the company's promise of community building.

One of the most seasoned teams in grocery delivery

What initially got us most excited about Yababa, was the passion and drive of its founding team. Of Lebanese origin, the founder and CEO Ralph Hage previously co-founded NokNok, the largest grocery delivery app in Lebanon. Prior to that, he helped Delivery Hero scale in MENA as its Chief Strategy Officer. In his own words, Yababa enables him to marry his passion for his home food with his lifelong experiences in food delivery. His Co-Founders Hadi Zaklouta, Javier Gimenez, and Kamel Semakieh, have successfully scaled fast multinational businesses from the ground up in industries ranging from e-mobility to quick commerce and food delivery.

Since we backed them in early summer 2021, the founders have demonstrated their ability to attract some of the strongest talent in the industry in a market that is becoming ever more competitive. With talents acquired from various top tier tech companies and multinational grocery retailers, and from as far afield as South East Asia, the company has brought together the optimal expertise to deliver best-in-class experience for their customers.

Yababa will use the fresh capital to further build out its team and grow operations throughout Europe. If you want to join the ride, the team is expanding across all functions - check out their open roles