Amazon takes top stake in U.K. food delivery firm Deliveroo [UPDATED]
Deliveroo, founded in 2013, is one of Britain's main so-called gig economy companies
LONDON – Amazon is investing in British meal delivery company Deliveroo, expanding its global reach into food retailing.
Deliveroo said Friday that it raised US$575 million from a number of investors led by Amazon. Amazon will become Deliveroo’s largest investor, though it did not disclose how much Amazon put in or how large a stake it acquired.
Deliveroo was founded in 2013 and has become one of the main so-called gig economy companies in Britain, with its brand visible on delivery scooters and bicycles around the country.
The company says it has about 60,000 riders delivering food from some 80,000 restaurants in 14 countries.
Like other gig economy companies, such as ride hailing firm Uber, Deliveroo has run into legal tussles over whether its riders count as employees and should get work benefits.
While some workers would want the legal status of employee, with more fixed hours and greater benefits, others like the flexibility to decide when and how long to work.
In May, Britain’s High Court ruled that Deliveroo riders do not in fact have the right to collective bargaining, by which they negotiate pay, hours and vacation time as a group of employees rather than individually.
Besides Britain, Deliveroo also operates in several countries in Europe and Asia, including Germany, France, Italy and Australia.
Deliveroo said the new investments will help it try new operations, such as delivery-only kitchens, in an effort to expand its reach.
“This is great news for the tech and restaurant sectors, and it will help to create jobs in all of the countries in which we operate,” said Will Shu, the founder and CEO of Deliveroo.