Sunday, October 1, 2023

Meat subscription startup chews on database of failed grocery delivery service Voly

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Northern NSW subscription butcher shop Our Cow has acquired the brand and other assets of failed grocery delivery start-up Voly in Sydney.

The deal was completed before Christmas ahead of a second Voly creditors’ meeting on December 23. Our Cow bought the database, the app and the brand, hoping to attract a larger share of the capital’s customers.

Voly, the trading name of Milko Grocery Pty Ltd, collapsed in November after failing to raise additional capital and was voluntarily placed in trust with Hall Chadwick.

Co-founder Thibault Henry publicly confirmed Voly’s demise on November 18, a week after the company ceased operations.

The Sydney-based online supermarket launched in July 2021 with the promise of groceries being delivered in 15 minutes or less.

“The sudden changes in the macro environment, unstable geopolitics and high inflation have made it extremely difficult to raise new capital, despite the support of our current investors,” said Henry.

112 people lose their jobs, with Hall Chadwick administrators backing a deal to pay all workers’ dues, with creditors owed a total of $17.7 million and receiving between 15 cents and 27 cents in the $1.

The trustees painted a worrying picture of Voly, saying it was “perhaps acting from the start while insolvent”.

Voly raised $18 million less than 12 months earlier in December 2020 in a Seed round led by Sequoia Capital India together with Global Founders Capital and Australia-based Artesian Capital. The company suffered a net loss of $13.6. million last fiscal year to June 30, 2022.

But the prospect of legal action over the insolvency concerns was seen as throwing good money after bad, according to Hall Chadwick.

“We also understand that the directors and holding company are likely to defend any insolvent trade claim if pursued by a liquidator,” their report to creditors said.

About 80,000 Sydneysiders had used Voly during its short life and Our Cow founders Bianca Tarrant and Dave McGiveron, farmers near Casino, 50 miles west of Byron Bay, hope those customers are up for meat delivery too.

If they do, it would be a dramatic increase in scale for Our Cow, which has around 50,000 customers across Australia and 4,000 regular subscribers.

Tarrant and McGiveron came up with the idea of ​​selling their beef directly to consumers through Facebook after literally nearly losing their farm to drought and then the Black Summer wildfires.

The idea caught on, helped by tailwinds from pandemic lockdowns, and the subscription service launched in April 2021. It now runs about $20 million annually, with the business nearly tripling by 2022. Our now employs 40 people, has a processing plant in Casino and cooperates with a network of 150 farms.

Last April, the company raised $2.38 million toward a $3 million goal through an equity crowdfunding campaign with VentureCrowd. It was the fourth largest crowdfunding campaign of 2022.

Our cow is now gearing up to re-enter the crowdfunding market with an expression of interest campaign already underway on Birchal. The company hopes to raise about $2.5 million.

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