Getir pulls out of US, UK, Europe to focus on Turkey; 6,000+ jobs impacted

True to its business concept, Turkey’s “instant delivery” juggernaut Getir rose quickly. Now, with the quick commerce industry in free fall, it is nosediving just as fast. On Monday, the company — once valued close to $12 billion — announced it would shut down its operations the U.S., the U.K. and Europe to focus solely on its home market of Turkey.

The move puts a bitter end to the company’s very aggressive expansion strategy that saw it raise billions of dollars to grow organically and also snap up a number of equally aggressive, yet struggling, competitors to position itself as the market leader. The closures look like they will impact at least 6,000 jobs across the closing markets, but — according to the company — just 7% of its revenues. Alongside the closures, the company said it would get a new injection of investment as a lifeline to extend its runway.

“This decision will allow Getir to focus its financial resources on Turkey,” said a statement from the company. More details, including financials, below.

Layoffs: To be clear, Getir has only officially announced cuts of 1,500 in the U.K. in the short announcement that it sent out to journalists: no details on jobs impacted elsewhere. However, reports were surfacing over the last few days that it had started to send out notices to 1,800 employees in Germany — HQ of Gorillas (which it acquired at the end of 2022). We’ve been told by a source close to the company that the number is closer to 1,100 (one figure may include contractors).

Meanwhile, when Getir acquired FreshDirect in the U.S. — only six months ago, in November 2023 — it picked up 2,300 employees. Add those different numbers together and you get around 6,000, although since Getir was already active in the U.S. prior to that acquisition, there may well be more impacted. A year ago, the company had as many as 32,000 people working for it.

Its pandemic window of opportunity: The move is a grim chapter for the startup that was founded in 2015 and saw big traction in Turkey before the pandemic — Getir means ‘bring’ in Turkish. That led to aggressive investment and expansion that peaked during Covid-19, when consumers were shopping less in person — in part to minimise infection, in part because shopping in person became really challenging due to supply issues, long lines to stagger entries and more.

Just as ride-hailing companies like Uber raised aggressively to finance aggressive growth and competitive fights across the globe, so too did Getir: between its first outside investment in 2017 and September 2023, it raised more than $2.3 billion from some 36 investors, including Sequoia, Tiger Global, Silver Lake, Mubadala, Goodwater, G Squared and A*.

It also made some aggressive acquisitions of competitors to increase its position in the market — but notably, it was consolidation intended not just a power move, but a way for other struggling, cash-strapped players in the market to step out of the brutal race.

In addition to FreshDirect and Gorillas, Getir picked up operations in Spain, Italy and the U.K. at bargain prices. It was also reportedly interested at one point in Zapp in the U.K. and Flink in Germany, so it definitely saw itself as a consolidator in the troubled market. It was a strategy also taken by Getir’s biggest global competitor, GoPuff. Today’s news leaves easier waters for GoPuff in the U.S. and the U.K.

Its Turkish window of opportunity: This is a grim chapter, but not a final one. Getir also announced that it would be raising fresh money to double down on its home market, a round led by Mubadala and G Squared.

Getir did not disclose who else was participating, nor how much it raised, nor whether this is equity or debt, so it’s hard to say what this means beyond giving the company some runway and a chance at focusing on one market that has worked.

We have reached out to some of its previous investors, Sequoia and Tiger Global, to see if they would comment on whether they are remaining investors in the company now, or whether they have cashed out.

The writing on the wall: Getir, like its peers in the instant delivery market, has been struggling for a while. In May 2023, it cut 14% of staff and cancelled large parts of its geographic expansion plans as it scrambled to right-size the business ahead of more fundraising. Just weeks after that, it pulled out of Spain, Italy and Portugal in the July 2023. At the time, it was well understood that it was because those markets were just not thriving, but also Getir was indeed trying to close another round of funding, and investors had indicated that they would not invest in it unless it cut expenses.

Documents have been shared with TechCrunch that indicate that the company, for the calendar year 2023, the company made $3.3 billion, with the U.S. and Europe (including the U.K.) accounting for around $1 billion of that across the year. (It’s not clear from Getir’s statement what the 7% figure relates to. We are asking.) From the documents that we have seen, as of the end of last year, the company was not Ebitda positive in any of its geographies.

Big, bad news in the chaotic market for instant delivery services, but given the states of the venture market, the current economy, and consumer behavior these days — yes, people buy online, but they are also very much back outside, shopping like before — it is likely not the last.

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