Well, that was fast. Just six months after its 2021 launch, ultra-fast grocery delivery service Ninja announced Monday it had secured $2.8 million in funding that will be used to grow its footprint across Canada.
According to Ninja CEO and co-founder Wesley Yue, the company will use the funding round from Lachy Groom, Fleport and Contrary Capital to expand its offering to 10 markets in Ontario and B.C. by the end of 2022. Ninja debuted in Waterloo last year, and began offering delivery to two Toronto neighbourhoods—Yonge-Dundas and King West—earlier this year.
Ninja promises 10-minute delivery of groceries and other essentials, serving customers through micro-fulfillment centres known as “dark stores” that aren’t open to the public. Yue says Ninja’s average basket size is currently in the high $20 range, with grocery essentials like dairy, eggs, and toilet paper among its best sellers.
Customers can currently choose from among 1,300 SKUs spanning categories including alcohol, meat and produce, beverages, health, bath and beauty, cleaning and home and office. Yue says he hopes to expand its offering to more than 2,500 SKUs over the coming year.
Yue has plucked people from companies including Uber, DoorDash and Goodfood to be part of the Ninja team, and has prioritized making its delivery as efficient as possible. Ninja offers free delivery on orders above $10, with its revenue coming from mark-ups on grocery items.
Ultra-fast delivery has already established a foothold in international markets like Turkey and Russia, and Yue’s goal is to make it work in Canada. What helps set Ninja apart from its international counterparts, he says, is a “propriety dispatching algorithm” that enables its e-bike riding couriers to more than double the number of orders delivered per hour versus industry standards.
“I think that one of the reasons why investors are so interested in this service is that people love the service,” says Yue. “Any time you build a service that people love there’s always opportunity to make money in that space.