Dr Oetker acquires German drinks delivery startup flaschenpost for €1 billion

German drinks delivery startup flaschenpost (or ‘bottle post’) has been sold to food giant The Oetker Group for €1 billion. The Oetker Group interestingly attempted to create their own version of the service with their offer of ‘Durstexpress’, but have now decided to acquire the original, which promises to deliver drinks to customers’ doors in under 2 hours.

If you’ve not heard of flaschenpost yet, this Münster-based startup, which was founded in 2016, is a fast growing beverage delivery service currently live across 23 German cities. Orders can be placed via the app, and the drinks are delivered free of charge within 120 minutes.

Today, the startup employs around 7,000 people, including drivers and warehouse workers, and has created its own water and beer brands, which count for 15% of sales.

Home delivery is a service that has unsurprisingly boomed since the coronavirus pandemic began. Whether it be door-to-door supermarket deliveries, takeaway food, or recipe boxes, startups working in this area have been some of the few to profit from the current environment – and flaschenpost is one of them.

The startup is said to have made around €27 million in sales in October alone, which, extrapolated over 12 months, is over €320 million. “The second corona wave will not harm the further growth of flaschenpost. The new lockdown has in fact accelerated the signing of the deal,” explained Alexander Hüsing, Editor in Chief of Deutsche Startups.

According to German publication t3n, flaschenpost was already growing fast before the pandemic hit, with its sales tripling from 2018 to 2019 and from 2019 to 2020. They state that although the startup has a negative monthly cash flow of €2.5 million, it was their fast annual growth that impressed Dr Oetker, who paid around three times the annual turnover as the purchase price. “The annual growth of 200%, the contribution margin of 50% and the success of the own brands explain the acquisition price,” commented VC expert Sven Schmidt.