Delivery startup Jokr eyeing New York operations sale

E-commerce company denied report dashing plans for NYC expansion

Ralf Wenzel, chief executive officer, Jokr (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
Ralf Wenzel, chief executive officer, Jokr (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

UPDATED, Feb. 3, 2022, 4 p.m.: Delivery startup Jokr was reported this week to be at risk of losing the last laugh in New York.

The Information reported Jokr has launched talks to sell its New York operations, a major component of its business in the United States. Three people with knowledge of the matter told the outlet the company has reached out to several rivals, including Gopuff, Getir and FastAF.

The company has denied the report, saying in a statement it “has had no talks with any fast delivery companies” and similarly no discussions “scheduled to sell any part of the New York operations or assets.”

“JOKR is very well funded, and the strong growth and positive unit economics that we see in the majority of our business overall continues to excite our existing as well as many new and potential investors,” the company said. “JOKR will continue to focus on LATAM and the US proportionally to capture the vast market opportunities in these geographies.”

Jokr’s instant delivery promises were rooted in renting a network of warehouses, where it would hang on to inventory to be delivered nearby.

However, the venture is an expensive one, and the company forecast its U.S. business would burn $74 million in 2022 and $84 million in 2023, according to The Information. In the fall, it estimated it would burn through $24.4 million in 2021 while only generating $6.6 million in revenue.

Jokr projected it would break even in Latin America in 2022 and generate $76 million in cash flow the following year.

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The report of a sale of New York operations came as a stunning aboutface for entrepreneur Ralf Wenzel’s company, which promised to deliver goods to consumers within 15 minutes. Last April, the company unveiled an ambitious plan to turn as many as 100 storefronts across four boroughs into micro-fulfillment centers.

The plan wasn’t easy to enact, however, as the business plan required a lot of leasing. By September, Jokr had only reached 10 micro-warehouses in New York City and 106 across 10 cities worldwide. COO Aspa Lekka expressed optimism at the time that there would be 80 to 100 micro-warehouses in the city within the next 12 months.

Wenzel previously founded FoodPanda, which eventually merged with DeliveryHero, an online food delivery service. Jokr has funding from SoftBank Group International, as well as HV Capital and Tiger Global.

This article has been updated with a statement from Jokr denying the Information’s report. 

[The Information] — Holden Walter-Warner