BERLIN (Reuters) – German entrepreneur Ralf Wenzel, formerly of Delivery Hero and Softbank, launched on Thursday a global instant retail platform, entering a field that is attracting huge investment and experiencing explosive growth.
The startup, called Jokr, is backed by venture capitalists HV Capital, Tiger Global and Softbank, and will aim to deliver a wide range of products from “hyperlocal” hubs within 15 minutes of an order being placed via a smartphone app.
It is already live in Mexico City, Lima and Sao Paolo, while New York and Bogota will follow ahead of rollouts across Europe and Latin America.
“We are building an Amazon on steroids,” Wenzel told Reuters in an interview.
“It’s not just convenience on demand, but a new generation of retail.”
Wenzel, 41, founded online delivery company Foodpanda before he and the company joined forces with Niklas Oestberg at Delivery Hero – a global food delivery company headquartered in Berlin that is now a member of Germany’s blue-chip share index.
More recently he has been a managing partner Softbank, leaving on good terms to found Jokr with his core team from earlier projects that he said had accumulated a total of more than 1,000 years’ experience in online commerce.
Wenzel declined to disclose the financial backing behind Jokr but said that, in addition to the trio of venture investors, he and the leadership team had invested their own money in the startup.
In contrast to his earlier focus on food, Jokr will offer a broad range of retail products.
“For us, the future of retail is online,” Wenzel told Reuters. “Everything in retail needs to be instant.”
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine. Editing by Emma Thomasson and Mark Potter)