Uber Eats rival Deliveroo has bought software consultancy Cultivate


Deliveroo rider delivery rider

  • Deliveroo, a major Uber Eats rival outside the US, has made its second acquisition to date with software consultancy Cultivate.
  • Cultivate helped build out and scale Deliveroo’s payments system and will continue that work post-acquisition.
  • Cultivate’s nine-strong team will remain in Edinburgh, and Deliveroo plans to form a major new software engineering hub in the city and hire 50 staff over the next three years.
  • Amazon recently led a $500 million investment into Deliveroo, but that slug of funding is on pause while the UK’s competition regulator investigates.
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Food takeaway startup Deliveroo has acquired Scottish software consultancy Cultivate to bulk out its software engineering and design capabilities, its second acquisition to date.

The buyout is more like an acquihire, since Cultivate will essentially become an extension of Deliveroo’s tech team. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all of Cultivate’s nine-strong team will remain at its Edinburgh office. Deliveroo plans to make Cultivate the basis of a new Scottish hub, and to hire an additional 50 people over the next three years.

Cultivate was formed in 2014, and has counted Deliveroo as one of its major clients for the last three years. The consultancy originally worked with holiday rental firm Housetrip, and was introduced to Deliveroo when Housetrip’s one-time CTO, Julien Letissier, worked as a software engineer at the food takeaway firm.

The acquisition, according to Cultivate chief commercial officer Andy Robinson, was a “natural progression” from there.

The consultancy has helped build and scale Deliveroo’s various payment systems, both in terms of letting takeaway customers pay for food via the app, as well as allowing delivery riders to access their earnings.

“It’s been about helping scale the infrastructure that lets Deliveroo continue their growth, and iteratively improving the experience for riders and restaurants,” Robinson told Business Insider. “Going forward, we’ll be continuing that work.”

Deliveroo is on a scaling tear, in an effort to beat rivals Just Eat and Uber Eats.

But there have been some setbacks.

Amazon recently led a $500 million investment into Deliveroo, which the firm had planned to use to double down on the UK and other markets where it’s already successful. The UK’s competition authority has put that deal on hold however, in part because of suggestions Deliveroo and Amazon might merge.

Sky News reported in July 2017 that investment giant SoftBank had planned to invest in Deliveroo through its Vision Fund, but those talks appeared to fall through. Uber was also in acquisition talks with Deliveroo, but the two firms couldn’t agree a valuation, sources told Business Insider. Publicly, Deliveroo has said it isn’t for sale.

Deliveroo’s first acquisition was New York food delivery startup Maple in 2016.

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