Technology

Bankrupt Buyk sells itself off bit by bit

The short-lived ultra-fast grocery delivery provider is now selling its name, website and all physical assets to the highest bidder, joining a wave of ghost grocers that sprung up quickly and faded just as fast.
Buyk
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Short-lived ultra-fast grocery delivery provider Buyk, which shut down and filed for bankruptcy protection in March, is now having a fire sale that includes all of its assets as well as its name and website, the company’s financial advisor announced Monday.

Buyk launched in New York City and Chicago in 2021 and said most of its physical assets “are brand new and unused” after being purchased for the company’s 39 stores. The company blamed its swift demise on the war in Ukraine that interfered with its sources of international funding.

Assets for sale include intellectual property along with three warehouses of equipment including two-door coolers and freezers, chest freezers, foodservice-grade shelving, backroom shelving, stocking carts with bins, office furniture and miscellaneous fixtures.

“This offering from Buyk is an exciting opportunity for established delivery providers expanding into ultra-fast delivery or for retailers wanting to break into the rapidly growing delivery market,” Brad Goldsmith of Sherwood Partners, Buyk’s financial advisor, said in a statement. “Acquiring this IP, established technology and robust enterprise system is a fast-track to market entry or expansion.”

Whether ultra-fast delivery, however, remains an “exciting opportunity” has yet to be proven.

So-called “ghost grocers” were all the rage in the summer of 2021, raking in investment cash to deploy their ultra-fast delivery operations in cities around the country. Many, though, withered almost as quickly as their super-speedy delivery promises.

With names like Getir, Jokr, Gorillas, Fridge No More and Samokat, they boasted delivery within minutes, much swifter than existing providers, thanks to micro-warehouses with limited inventory of convenience-based consumables.

In 2021, Gorillas raised more than $330 million in two funding rounds and Fridge No More secured a $15.4 million cash infusion. Getir raised $550 million in a Series D funding round and Buyk, which started in Russia, had nabbed $46 million in start-up funding.

Jokr’s valuation had reached $1.2 billion by the end of 2021. But just a few months later, the company shut down its U.S. operations. Fridge No More also shuttered last year, and Gorillas and Getir both announced layoffs in May.

The pandemic taught delivery providers a lot about on-demand grocery offerings, Tom Pickett, chief revenue officer for DoorDash, told WGB at the Groceryshop conference last month.

Pickett, a former fighter pilot, said “speed is life and more is better,” but things get a bit more complicated when it comes to grocery delivery.

Delivery platforms need to serve a wide variety of customer occasions—the big weekly shopping trip, a super-fast convenience-type delivery, a mid-week order that could be delivered in an hour or two.

“One size doesn’t fit all to meet the consumer where they are,” Pickett said. “At DoorDash, we’re always trying to push the envelope around how fast and how efficient. We are experimenting with ultra-fast and express, 30-minute delivery. Speed is a component, but there may be other use cases.”

Buyk’s sell-off will continue for the next week, with the company’s advisors accepting bids on physical assets and intellectual property until Oct. 10.

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