One of the fastest growing segments of the red-hot e-commerce sector over the past year has been expedited home grocery delivery, and a new pulse of venture capital backing for the ethnic e-grocer Weee! is now set to continue that trend.
Fremont, California-based Weee! today said it has raised $425 million in a “series E” financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Greyhound Capital.
The company now plans to invest its new capital to advance warehouse automation and artificial intelligence (AI) innovations, expand its platform to new ethnicities, and scale grocery and food delivery services to additional geographies.
Specifically, Weee! continues to expand its Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indian, and Latin offerings for customers, adding more than 500 new products per week, and plans to expand to other ethnicities in the future. The firm also partners with more than 1,000 restaurants to offer food-at-home options for customers.
"The market for ethnic groceries and food is massively underserved in the U.S., and we believe that Weee! is in a prime position to meet the demands of customers," Lydia Jett, managing partner at Softbank Investment Advisors, said in a release. "Weee!'s strong execution capabilities and reach across multiple ethnic groups, coupled with a unique customer experience model leveraging AI, has enabled it to scale effectively in a rapidly evolving grocery market.”
Other recent investments in the space have included warehouse automation providers like the India-based logistics automation startup Addverb Technologies, which raised $132 million, the micro-fulfillment automation provider Fabric, which landed $200 million and teamed with online grocery retailer Instacart, automation provider Ocado Group, which has landed new customers like grocery retailer The Kroger Co., warehouse robotics and automation provider Berkshire Grey Inc., which has continued to land new clients, logistics solutions provider Knapp, which also teamed with Kroger, a deal by grocery distributor Ahold Delhaize USA to apply micro-fulfillment technology from system integrator Swisslog and material handling equipment provider AutoStore, and a move by retail giant Walmart Inc. to build micro-DCs with robotic and AS/RS technology from Alert Innovation, Dematic, and Fabric.