Another business has become the latest casualty in Australia’s struggling start-up sector amid tough market conditions.
On Monday, a Victorian food delivery company that styled itself as a rival to UberEats and Deliveroo confirmed to news.com.au that it had collapsed.
ASIC documents show that Ballarat-based food delivery platform Delivr has appointed liquidators.
Delivr was launched in 2017 by South American student Alex Power, who was studying mining engineering in regional Victoria when he noticed a gap in the market, as the big delivery companies had left out non-metropolitan areas like Ballarat.
His business partnered with local Ballarat restaurants as well as bigger chains including Grill’d, Schnitz, and La Porchetta.
The company completed more than $6 million worth of deliveries since it launched and had 18,000 customers.
At its peak, the company employed 200 delivery drivers.
News.com.au has contacted the liquidators, Fabian Kane Micheletto and Michael Carrafa of SV Partners, for comment. By time of publication they had not responded.
Stream more business news live & on demand with Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October, 2022 >
In a statement to news.com.au, Mr Power said he could not keep the operation going because it was no longer turning a profit.
“Tough market conditions pushed the operation to a point where it became unprofitable to operate – leading to liquidation,” he said.
“Our competitors are wildly unprofitable, but have raised billions [of dollars] to keep themselves rolling …
“Food delivery is here to stay – but it will need to change to stay around for the long haul.”
Mr Power said he was the only person directly employed as his drivers and customer support teams were hired on a contract basis.
The company was reportedly struggling in its last several months, with Delivr offering a $100 sign-on bonus in June in a bid to encourage more drivers to join.
It comes as dozens of companies have collapsed in the past few months as supply chain issues, rampant inflation and tighter spending against the backdrop of Australia’s cost of living crisis has driven many businesses into an early grave.
Delivery start-ups are particularly struggling for their survival.
For instance, Send tried to disrupt the grocery delivery space in Australia by delivering food within 10 minutes.
But at the end of May, the firm went into liquidation, with news.com.au revealing that the company had spent $11 million in eight months to stay afloat.
Another grocery delivery service, Quicko, also couldn’t outlast the tough times, as it went under in March.
Other start-ups are also feeling the sting of Australia’s post-Covid economy.
Last month, another start-up, Australia’s first ever neobank founded in 2017, Volt Bank, also collapsed.
The bank’s demise means 140 staff lost their jobs, and also impacted 6000 customers and investors.
Last week, a venture capital firm issued a sobering message about the state of Australia’s start-up industry, warning that more new companies would go bust and pulling back on funding as a result.
“The failure rate in our portfolio has been remarkably low for a number of years, and this is not sustainable,” Square Peg Capital said.
“We have slowed the cadence of investing in both new and existing portfolio companies.”