‘Instant’ grocery startup VOLY quietly stops all deliveries and deletes social media

voly

Source: Voly

Instant grocery startup VOLY has quietly stopped deliveries and deleted the majority of its social media presence. The company is remaining silent but a source is alleging it will not be continuing operations.

The cease in deliveries was first noticed by Startup Daily when editor Simon Thomsen went to place an order on Friday night. SmartCompany is also getting the same message.

At the time of writing, the VOLY app contains a pop-up that warns customers ‘We are currently closed. Closed until further notice.’

Customers are still able to browse items in the app and add some to the cart. However, they are unable to checkout.

Voly

The majority of VOLY’s social media profiles have all been removed, including Instagram and its Facebook Page. Its Twitter account is still active but there are no followers and tweets are protected. It is still also appearing on LinkedIn.

VOLY is remaining silent for now but it may be closing for good

This move came just days after The Australian Financial Review reported on more layoffs at the company. According to the AFR, co-founder and CEO Mark Heath confirmed the job losses but wouldn’t comment on solvency or the future of the business.

And despite this latest critical development, this remains to be the case. No further communication has been made public by the company and SmartCompany has received no response to multiple comment requests.

But a source close to the company has revealed that the business will not be continuing.

“As I understand it, VOLY is no longer operating due to lack of capital to continue operations,” the source said to SmartCompany.

SmartCompany is yet to verify this information, but things certainly aren’t looking good.

“It’s a really tough time for startups at the moment,” another source close to the company told SmartCompany.

“But given the chance to go back in time with the things I know now, I would still join VOLY. Everyone there, from the riders to the founders, are amazing people.”

Unless you’re a customer who has tried to make an order, things seem to be business as usual. At the present time, the website contains no information or indication of the delivery closure. And the app is still available to download on Google Play and the App Store, also with no disclosure.

It’s currently unclear when VOLY ceased taking delivery orders. However, it was still pushing marketing in early November.

On November 4 a text was sent to customers, including myself, that offered a 50% discount across the following weekend.

voly text

A Version 1.3.1 update was also pushed out on the App Store just one week ago that promised a faster experience as well as some key bug fixes. However, it’s worth noting that the version history reveals the same messaging for every update over the past 10 months.:

voly version updates

Things have been tough for VOLY for awhile

Some might argue that the writing has been on the wall for VOLY for a while. Back in June the company let go of half its staff and closed four distribution centres across Sydney. It also paused its plans to push into the Melbourne market.

One of the biggest selling points was its 15-minute deliveries. This too was removed in June, around the same time that competitor Milkrun squashed its own ‘under 10 minutes’ delivery promise.

This was just six months after VOLY secured $18 million in seed funding led by led by Sequoia Capital India and joined by Artesian and Global Founders Capital. SmartCompany has reached out to investors for comment.

At this time the company boasted 35 office staff and roughly 100 people facilitating deliveries.

It may be that we’re seeing the rapid decline of ‘instant’ grocery deliveries, at least for now. They were incredibly popular during the height of the pandemic in 2021. Milkrun led the pack by securing an $11 million seed round and then a further $75 million in January this year.

But the landscape has significantly changed since then.

In addition to a semblance of ‘normalcy’ returning, many economic factors are working against these apps. Rent, inflation and grocery prices have been steadily on the rise during 2022.

And unlike many gig economy jobs such as Uber, many instant grocery delivery riders aren’t contracted — they’re employees.

All of these factors would likely significantly impact the margins. We certainly saw this with SEND, which went into voluntary administration back in May.

Still, ultra-fast grocery delivery may still be the future if there’s a way to make it profitable. But for now, it doesn’t seem like VOLY will be the one to do it.

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