Food Rocket blasts off after securing funding, grocery delivery deal with Circle K parent

Many grocery delivery startups begin small, in one city, building up locations to cater to a certain neighborhood. Food Rocket has taken an unconventional route, striking a funding deal with Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. that puts its 15-minute grocery delivery service in more than 14,000 Circle K convenience stores and Couche-Tard locations.

We first met the Chicago-based company and its founder and CEO Vitaly Alexandrov last year when we reported that Food Rocket launched in the Bay Area, going up against the likes of Amazon Fresh, DoorDash, Instacart and Gopuff, which is no easy feat given each of the company's footprint.

At the time, the company raised $2 million, and Alexandrov said about the perceived competition, "The level of competition in this market in the U.S. is still manageable, which is why we have the opportunity to become leaders in the sphere of fast delivery of basic products and household goods. We aim to replace brick-and-mortar supermarkets and to change consumers' current habits in regards to grocery shopping."

Food Rocket uses AI-enabled technologies to manage warehouse stocks, forecast demand and optimize delivery time by predicting the closest store that offers the fastest delivery time and the lowest costs of putting together and delivering the order.

The company typically carries around 3,500 products, and since launching in California in 2021, it sees 60% of customers order a second time after their first purchase, while the cart size averages $30 per order. Revenue-wise, Food Rocket has steadily grown about 40% month over month.

"We aim to provide grocery delivery in a different way," Alexandrov said. "Gopuff is mostly focused on snacks and beverages, but we want ours to be more like perishables, fresh food and ready-to-eat meals, and we want to support local suppliers and brands."

Published by Techcrunch - on April 26, 2022