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Zapp, the on-demand delivery and ‘dark’ store operator, picks up backing from Lightspeed and Atomico

Zapp, one of a number of startups currently battling it out in London and beyond by promising to let you order everyday items on-demand from its own delivery-only stores, has quietly raised a new round of funding from leading VCs, TechCrunch has learned.

According to multiple sources, Silicon Valley’s Lightspeed and Europe’s Atomico (the VC firm started by Skype founder Niklas Zennström) have invested in Zapp’s unannounced Series A. Those same sources have also confirmed that Zapp has raised around $100 million in total, including via an earlier seed round.

In addition to Lightspeed and Atomico, other investors in Zapp include 468 Capital, and Burda, alongside notable angels such as Mato Peric, Christopher North (former Amazon UK CEO), and Stefan Smalla (Westwing CEO). One source tells me that the startup’s Series A is the first deal that consumer-focused partner, Sasha Astafyeva, has led on Atomico’s behalf since joining the London-headquartered VC firm.

“We’re relentlessly focused on delighting our customers and generally do not comment on our capital structure. We are excited to bring Zapp to millions of customers in London and beyond this year,” said Zapp, in a statement issued to TechCrunch when asked about the Series A and list of investors.

Started last summer, Zapp’s founders are Joe Falter, who was part of the founding team at Jumia where he led the on-demand services business through to the group’s IPO, and Navid Hadzaad, who most recently was a product leader at Amazon’s Seattle HQ after founding GoButler and scaling several ventures at Rocket Internet. The leadership team also spans ex-employees of Deliveroo, Just Eat, Dominoes and Tesco, to name just a few.

Zapp operates a vertical or “dark store” model, seeing it set up its own micro fulfillment centers. They include several locations in London already: Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham, Notting Hill, Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush, Shoreditch, Islington and Angel.

Shunning the gig economy model used by companies like Deliveroo, Zapp employs its riders directly. It also emphasises sustainability and utilises an all-electric fleet.

From what we can glean online and through conversations with sources, Zapp also looks to be focusing less on fresh food/groceries and more on convenience a la goPuff in the U.S., thus targeting impulse purchases rather than trying to usurp the traditional grocery shop. This is in contrast to many of the other dark store competitors, although there is clearly cross-over in all of the offerings from a multitude of players.

Alongside Zapp, dark store operators in London alone include Getir, Gorillas, Jiffy, Dija and Weezy — with some also raising and deploying significant amounts of capital, including, in some instances, employing heavy discounting as the land grab accelerates.