Brazil's Movile says it has raised $500 million for its iFood delivery app

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian technology firm Movile on Tuesday said it had raised $500 million of fresh funds for its iFood app, aimed at making it one of the world’s biggest players in the meals delivery market.

The money was raised among iFood’s current investors, including South African media group Naspers, which owns Movile, and Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann, said Movile founder and president Eduardo Henrique in a phone interview. He declined to specify the investors’ respective contributions.

Of the total, $100 million had been raised in recent weeks and the remaining $400 million was pledged this week, he said.

The funding injection was first reported by TechCrunch.

Latin America’s largest food delivery app, iFood operates in 483 Brazilian cities, working alongside 50,000 restaurants and with around 120,000 motorcycle delivery personnel.

The company, which says it made an average of 390,000 deliveries per day in October, more than double the same period in 2017, also has units in Colombia and Mexico.

Henrique said the funds raised will be invested in technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize the logistics of deliveries.

“We are inspired by experiences of companies from the same sector in China and I think it’s early days in Brazil,” said Henrique. “We can triple the number of restaurants.”

He cited the case of Chinese food delivery company Meituan Dianping, which debuted on the Hong Kong stock exchange last month, valued at about $55 billion.

In addition to iFood, Movile is also an investor in a payments fintech called Zoop, a ticketing application called Sympla and a children’s entertainment platform called Playkids.

Reporting by Alusio Alves, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien