Global internet and entertainment group Naspers and investment expert Innova jointly pledged the $400m in funds, bringing iFood's 2018 investment total to $500m. Launched in 2011, iFood works with 50,000 restaurant partners and 120,000 couriers across Latin America on more than 416,000 orders per day, around 390,000 of which come from its home market Brazil.
Movile, who holds a 60% controlling stake in iFood, said daily orders on the delivery app in Brazil during the last week of October 2018 were up 109% on the previous year. “iFood's extraordinary growth and the vast market opportunity in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America has driven the increased investment commitment,” it said.
The $400m investment would be used to accelerate growth, speed up product development and innovation, Movile said, as well as fuel geographical expansion for iFood across Latin America.
The long-term vision for iFood, it said, was to develop a personalized experience, using artificial intelligence programming to gain “a more profound knowledge of consumers”.
Carlos Moyses, CEO of iFood, said: “With an increased investment commitment of this size, we will be able to build out our state of the art technology platform and increase our courier and restaurant partners to even better serve our current and future customers in Latin America.”
An e-commerce boom?
Investment in e-commerce and delivery platforms has been on the rise across Latin America, plugging into consumer trends in the region.
In September, Amazon made its first foray into Latin American food and beverage e-commerce with a dedicated platform in Mexico for non-perishables, signaling its belief in the future of the market.
Retail giant Walmart also recently signed an agreement to acquire Mexico and Chile-based grocery delivery platform Cornershop in a move to accelerate its omni-channel growth in Latin America.
The rising investments in the food and beverage omni-channel aligned with what Euromonitor International identified as a “megatrends” shaping retail in Latin America.
Paula Goni, Euromonitor International analyst, previously told FoodNavigator-LATAM the 'shopping reinvented' megatrend largely pivoted around technology and an increasingly connected society.
“Having an omni-channel strategy now is the cornerstone for brands to establish themselves as the go-to retailer,” Goni said, and whilst e-commerce in Latin America remained “underdeveloped” with just 4% of retail sales taking place online, it held huge potential.
Carrefour Brasil recently reported sharply improved food e-commerce sales – up 61% year over year, fueled by Carrefour's same-day delivery service with a two-hour delivery window for customers.