To hear Naspers and the Latin American marketplace developer Movile tell it, food is the thing to make a company king in international markets.
Naspers, a South African-based global investor and media conglomerate, has joined the private equity firm Innova Capital to funnel another $82 million into Movile — primarily to increase Movile’s stake in iFood, a Latin American food delivery vendor.
Movile has business lines that include logistics and delivery, ticketing, online gaming, and education, but it’s the food business that has draw the attention of most investors.
“The food delivery market is expanding rapidly across the globe and iFood is at the forefront of innovation and growth as the leading food delivery business in Latin America,” said Movile chief executive Fabricio Bloisi, in a statement. “With that in mind, we will continue to invest in the company to scale iFood’s technology platform and accelerate product development so they can fulfill more orders and also provide an even better experience for restaurants and consumers.”
The new capital infusion brings Movile’s total haul from investors to over $250 million… Almost as if Naspers were willing the company to market dominance through the steady infusion of heaps and heaps and heaps of cash.
The steady stream of capital is showing results. As of September 2017 the company had reached 6.2 million monthly orders and become the largest food delivery company in Latin America.
Movile’s chief executive, Bloisi, has always viewed food delivery as a gateway to other kinds of commercial transactions in the “online to offline” vein that seems critical to success in emerging markets that don’t have robust logistics or delivery systems in place.
While the company made its start in gaming and education through company subsidiaries like PlayKids, it’s the iFood business — supplemented by Apontador for online reviews of local business; Rapiddo, for delivery services; and Sympla, the ticketing on-demand platform — that show the breadth of Bloisi’s vision for his company.
“At Innova we are very excited to continue to support Movile’s talented team in its growth, helping accelerate the ifood and tickets platforms and investing in new businesses that can leverage the active user base that Movile has built. We believe Movile has many opportunities to continue to grow exponentially, including in logistics and financial services, among others” said Veronica Allende Serra, Founding Partner of Innova Capital Fund, in a statement.
With Movile, Naspers is taking one of its bigger bets. From its humble roots as a media company in South Africa in 1915, the company has grown into one of the largest tech investors in the world — thanks in part to a series of shrewd investments in China and Russia. The company’s portfolio includes Tencent, one of China’s technology powerhouses, and Mail.ru, the Russian tech giant.
Other companies in the Tencent portfolio include: Avito, Brainly, Codecademy, Delivery Hero, eMAG, Flipkart, ibibo, iFood, letgo, Media24, Movile, MultiChoice, OLX, PayU, Showmax, SimilarWeb, SinDelantal, Swiggy, Twiggle, and Udemy.