Uber's Adventure Into Online Groceries

This year has been a hard one for the so-called unicorn IPOs, and Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) has been far from immune from a disappointing post-IPO period. Uber wants to be in many “sharing” parts of the economy beyond ride-hailing. To go way beyond Uber Eats, the company has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire majority ownership of Cornershop for online groceries.

While this may bring back memories of Webvan from the past or Instacart today, Cornershop’s online grocery efforts are shown to be in Chile, Mexico, Peru and now in Toronto, Canada. It also sounds as if Cornershop wants to expand into more countries, based on its own quote, and Uber is a company that would want an effort to apply to many geographies rather than just a few.

Cornershop’s press release indicated that the investment is expected to close in early 2020 if granted regulatory approval. After the investment closes, the press release indicated that Cornershop will continue to operate under its current leadership. The board of directors will have a majority of Uber representation.

No financial terms were disclosed.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, said of the transaction:

Whether it’s getting a ride, ordering food from your favorite restaurant, or soon, getting groceries delivered, we want Uber to be the operating system for your everyday life. We’re excited to partner with the team at Cornershop to scale their vision, and look forward to working with them to bring grocery delivery to millions of consumers on the Uber platform.

Oskar Hjertonsson, founder and CEO of Cornershop, said:

In 2015 we started Cornershop with primarily the Latin American market in mind and we couldn’t be more excited to work with Uber to help us take that mission much further. Uber is the perfect partner as we embark on our quest to bring our unique flavor of on-demand groceries from incredible retail partners to many more countries around the world.

Cornershop is probably a name that more Uber users will see and hear about in the coming months.