Spanish startup Glovo to raise funds for new Latam tech center

FILE PHOTO: A delivery driver for Glovo cycles in downtown Milan, Italy, May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Spanish delivery startup Glovo is planning a new fundraising round in the first quarter to fuel a Latin American expansion that will include a second technological center in the region, its Brazilian country manager said on Wednesday.

Bruno Raposo said Brazil is likely to overtake Spain in terms of Glovo’s deliveries this year, as the startup spreads to some 50 cities across Latin America’s largest economy from 21 urban centers there.

“The use of grocery deliveries in Latin American is broad compared to European countries where Glovo operates,” Raposo told Reuters in an interview. “Here they already have the habit of ordering pharmaceutical products and groceries for delivery.”

He added that the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro was creating “a positive scenario” for foreign investment.

Glovo employs 140 people in the rapidly growing and highly competitive Brazilian market, home to several other app-based delivery startups and where expanding internet delivery services has also been a big focus for food retailers like GPA.

The supermarket chain, controlled by French retailer Casino, signed a deal to buy local startup James Delivery for an undisclosed sum in December. As a result, GPA severed an accord with yet another web-based delivery service, Rappi, which expanded into Brazil from Colombia in July 2017 and now operates in 13 cities.

“There are retailers trying to develop their own delivery services, some seeking partnerships and others buying”, said Raposo, adding that Glovo is an exclusive partner of Casino’s chain Franprix in France. Glovo’s investors include European restaurant operator AmRest.The scramble for the upper hand in delivery in Brazil is part of a wider proliferation of such apps, including Instacart in the United States, which raised $871 mln in its latest fundraising round and Cornershop, a startup operating in Chile and Mexico which Walmart Inc is buying for $225 million.

Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Richard Chang