From offline to online: disrupting the food retail map in Sweden

Exciting things are happening in the Nordics. MatHem; the market leader of online shopping in Sweden, is teaming up with a big local financial name in an effort to re-design the food retail map.

MatHem is a big deal in Sweden, their delivery vans have become a normal sight in the countrys urban centers, but it´s still a small company compared to the local retail giants. MatHem continues to grow at rapid pace however, and has now bagged some financial help to do so. The company secured a $50 million funding round back in February and a $100 million round last year which leverages the company into a very strong financial position.

Investment company Kinnevik is behind this new financial backing. Notoriously hard-hitting Kinnevik has been at the center of many dramatic industry transformations in Scandinavia, like the breaking down of state monopolies. They have been credited with the building of cell phone networks, Internet infrastructures, and e-commerce successes. They were also the early investors of the notorious German Rocket Internet, from where meal kit deliverer Hello Fresh was born.

The company never seems to stop. Across the border to Norway, Kinnevik has been developing quite a position in the leading Norwegian online grocery company Kolonial, now owning up to 24% of the company with their latest investments taking them up to a total of $60 million over the past few years. This means that Kinnevik has put more than $200 million into Nordic online grocery businesses. 

Big investors are getting into the food space

Kinnevik isnt the only investor interested in being part of the food scene. In the latest MatHem financing round it was actually another investor that offered the highest support; the public pension fund AMF.

Now that such a big name as Kinnevik is getting involved in the food system, other big players that arent normally associated with the food scene, have suddenly became interested and seen an opportunity for market transformation. All against a backdrop of pretty slow-moving retail giants in the online space.

This will likely change, however.

With the largest retail chain ICA recently signing up for a solution from British online leaders Ocado and Coop, they are expanding their geographical reach with the acquisition of the Netto chain which hails over 160 stores. We can only expect even more disruption.

The biggest challenge now is the Covid-19 crisis and the quick pace of transformation from offline to online. The food retail map is being re-designed as we speak.

The main question now is how other players in the market will defend their positions, or if the food retailing map in the Nordics has been changed forever. What do you think?

Read more @agfunder 

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