Similar to Deliveroo in the U.K., and DoorDash in the U.S., Take Eat Easy lets you order food online from restaurants that don't traditionally offer a take-out and delivery service. It operates in Belgium, and France, but outside of those markets the company has been flying somewhat under the radar. Today that changes with news that the Brussels-headquartered startup has raised a €6 million Series A funding round. Backers include Rocket Internet, no less, along with DN Capital, and Piton Capital. Take Eat Easy says it plans to use the money to bed down in its existing markets and to expand across Europe. The U.K., Spain, and Germany are pegged to be next. Meanwhile, the participation of Rocket Internet is particularly noteworthy given that the German ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth has been aggressively building out its Global Online Takeaway Group, a roll up of all its food delivery companies, which include online take-out ordering service Foodpanda, and a significant stake in rival Delivery Hero. Along with competitor Just-Eat, both companies operate a pure marketplace model, which relies on the restaurants themselves to handle delivery. In contrast, Take Eat Easy (and similar upstarts) offer online ordering and food delivery from premium restaurants that don’t traditionally offer a take-out service. In this sense they are in the logistics business as much as they are in the online food ordering business. In Take Eat Easy's case via technology coupled with a fleet of independent bicycle couriers. Although, on another level, all convenience food services are competing for the same wallet. I also understand that Rocket Internet approached Take Eat Easy after someone at the company became aware of the startup's traction in Belgium, where it tentatively launched in 2013 after trying out various models. Take Eat Easy has since expanded to France and currently works with 250 "trendy" restaurants in the country, the majority of which are in Paris. The decision to include the U.K. in its immediate European expansion plans is curious when you consider that the, albeit nascent, market is already becoming crowded, especially in London. The capital city counts Accel Partners-backed Deliveroo as a serious competitor, which recently closed a $25 million funding Series B round, in addition to the likes of DineIn, and Meals.co.uk. In a call, Take Eat Easy co-founder and CEO Adrien Roose told me he thinks the market is a long way off from being "winner takes all" and that there is still room for numerous players. Specifically, he thinks that customer service will be key. Delivering food reliably so it doesn't arrive cold is no mean feat after all. It's here where Roose believes Take Eat Easy is off to a good start. Its apps let you track your food order in realtime, including seeing how far away your courier is via GPS. In addition, the platform is designed to manage expectations. Estimated time of delivery is continually updated per restaurant, based on how busy the kitchen is and how many couriers are available. That way you know how long it will be before your food arrives, prior to placing an order. This, says Roose, differs from some of Take Eat Easy's competitors who have to effectively 'pause' the service when demand exceeds capacity.
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