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Online Food Industry: Winners and Losers

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Customers are moving to Zoodfood in  droves.
Customers are moving to Zoodfood in  droves.

Online food ordering industry in Iran has gone from strength to strength in recent years with the many baby boomers (those born during and after the revolution in 1979) falling in love with  online food ordering apps and websites.

The generational shift is most prominent in the overcrowded capital Tehran where many of the youth use smartphones for their daily tasks including banking and hailing a cab.

Food ordering too has become one of the key areas of growth for the venture capital groups looking to tap into the so-called connected generation.

In several countries in Europe and the Far East, food delivery has become the de-facto lunch and dinner option. In fact, the growth of this industry has made players like Just Eat and Delivery Hero in Europe earn a hefty profit from the 9% charged to independent takeaway owners.

 The Top Three

In Iran, after a few years of growth, three players remain in full view, namely, and -- all backed by their respective financial groups.

Results from January, however,  show that the three online food delivery companies are heading in very different directions.

Reyhoon, backed by Sarava Pars is having a rather rough time according to results from According to the site, by January 17 – the latest date given for total visits – the group saw a significant drop in hits. In September 2016 the site had over 300,000 views to the website, but by January 2017, it had fallen to 73,600.

The newest of the bunch is backed by seasoned startup professionals, the Sadeghian family, who have run several startups in recent years including the group buying website has seen a steady growth in its market share over the past six months, coming in second place at 132,200 site visits.

The current leader of the three startups is which had five times as many views as its competitor Chilivery.

 Cash Infusions

That site had over 600,000 hits in January and was the three hundredth most visited site in the country.

Zoodfood, backed by Iran Internet Group (IIG), recently received the second tranche of cash from its main backer MTN-Irancell.

Unsurprisingly, the amount of cash injection was not disclosed.

IIG received an initial investment in 2016 of $20 million to boost its local Internet businesses including that of Uber clone Snapp and Digikala competitor Bamilo as well as the food delivery service.

Zoodfood also has the added advantage of its other big investor. Germany’s Rocket Internet which lent its skills to expand its presence in the Iranian market used its experience in other emerging markets to hit the ground running.

No other major food delivery service has yet made known its interest in the market, and with the added benefit of Zoodfood’s backing from MTN-Irancell it seems that site will hold on to its lead for some time to come.

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