Gorillas, a German food delivery app, has lost another co-founder according to recently released financial reports; the second co-founder to leave in this unicorn's short lifespan. The move comes as Gorillas, which promises deliveries in 10 minutes, pushes ahead with its expansion plans.
Jörg Kattner, a veteran of several start-ups, left after just over a year with the company. Kattner was replaced by Felix Chrobog, another veteran of start-ups who it was hoped could help Gorillas scale its delivery service faster. Chrobog was also chosen for his experience in the food delivery world, as he was the former head of German food delivery app Deliveroo.
Chrobog left Gorillas after being with the company for less than a year. The second co-founder to jump ship in a matter of months is a worrying trend, even for a start-up.
With the departure of Kattner and Chrobog, there is now no one to challenge the last remaining co-founder, Kağan Sümer. Sümer, who has been the face of Gorillas since its inception, is the one driving for the company's rapid expansion. A pace that cost him his first co-founder Kattner, who reportedly left because the growth at Gorillas was too fast.
Kattner was not the only one concerned about the dizzying pace at which Sümer is pushing Gorillas' expansion. Many have criticized the food delivery app for focusing solely on opening location after location at the expense of customer service, security, and treatment of employees.
Sümer has been accused of cutting corners are at every turn in order to put all resources into rapid expansion, ignoring the cost to Gorillas in lost customers and employees, and more importantly, ignoring critical advice to do just the opposite.
Gorillas employs its drivers directly, as opposed to competitors who hire them as subcontractors, claiming that they receive better benefits as a result. Yet workers are banding together in an effort to unionize due to what they claim are declining and unfair conditions.
One has to wonder if Chrobog, who supposedly left due to the innocuous "family reasons," actually left due to Sümer's bulldozing forward. It is unclear at this point if Gorillas will be looking for a third person to come in at the executive/co-founder level or if the ship will now be steered solely by Sümer.
This turbulence comes at a critical time for the food delivery business. As the world gets vaccinated and people come out of lockdowns, reliance on deliveries could easily see a decline. Another concern is the stiff competition Gorillas faces from numerous competitors. The food delivery industry is saturated with several options after the world was at home for the past year, circumstances which played no small part in Gorillas reaching its unicorn status so quickly. Investors who were initially itching to get into the food delivery industry, would be well advised to now be more cautious now, especially with this unicorn.
Sümer's lack of experience in the food delivery business, history of failed start-ups, and inability to retain co-founders, are cause for scepticism. Combine that with rumours of union busting, deteriorating working conditions, security breaches, and other customer service issues, one must wonder if Sümer is the right man to lead Gorillas to success, or if he will be the reason the ship sinks.