First believers
Cyril Bertrand

We want more French unicorns? Ok, then let’s start by winning the battle of Paris.

Meet Cajoo, Amazon’s new competitor in Paris, and also the new investment we are co-leading alongside FRST. The team recently launched their ambitious app and are ready to be part of urban consumers’ shopping habits, starting in Paris. For their first round, the startup is raising 6 million euros.

What is Cajoo’s promise ? So simple: order groceries on your smartphone, get them delivered at your door 15 minutes later. “But it’s gonna be expensive !“, we hear you say. Nope, standard street retail price. And Cajoo offers a wide range of products. It has the same inventory as a regular corner-shop, including eggs, snacks, wine, laundry detergent, frozen foods or diapers.

In the field of urban delivery in France, Cajoo is a game-changer. No established brick-and-mortar retailer is able to offer such a quick delivery experience. Amazon Prime Now delivery can take up to two hours and pure-players like Deliveroo or Uber Eats are focusing on the food-delivery experience. Glovo left the market recently, unable to get sufficient margins with its pick-up in store model.

Still, the competition will be fierce. Retailers are going to beef up their games in the years to come. Amazon will keep improving its operation. And new, well-funded, UK & German pure-players will enter the Parisian market. But at Xange, we never consider that a highly competitive market is necessarily bad news. It probably makes us even more excited.

We are convinced that Paris is the best launch pad for that kind of business.

By the way, do you know that the density of Paris is 21,000 inhabitants/km2, while it’s only 5,600 in London and 4,000 in Berlin? Since Paris is (way) denser than any other European capitals, it’s a great place to experiment in the fields of delivery and mobility. Paris is also the european city where people spend the most on groceries each month.

By no means, we should take the risk to leave this incredible market to foreign players — on this topic, you can also read our recent opinion piece about the missed opportunity for developing a leader of micro-mobility in Paris. We need to collectively learn from our mistakes so that it doesn’t happen again.

Cajoo’s full-stack model can beat the competition — and generate better margins

To do so, everything is optimised with this goal in mind. Cajoo’s warehouses are in the center of Paris, not in the suburbs. They are small (less than 100m2) and as close as possible to their customers. They are organised exclusively for pickup and delivery. The inventory is entirely managed by the team, it’s not a marketplace model. All those characteristics make Cajoo unique.

Enter the dream team. Cajoo is run by seasoned, high-energy experts. Henri Capoul, CEO, launched Bolt in France. In other words, he knows what it means to quickly and successfully deploy a brand with Big Tech as competitors. He impressed us with his analytics skills — a result of his past life at McKinsey. Guillaume Luscan, Cajoo’s COO, worked with Henri at McKinsey for 4 years. Then, the job he did at Respire, one of most promising French D2C brands, was amazing: he structured all the logistics, supply chain, and operations of the company. And Jeremy Gotteland, Cajoo’s CTO is an experienced full-stack software engineer and mobile development expert, not only technically excellent but also — and that’s such an asset — a business-minded CTO.

They have a lot on their to-do… They are going to shoot for perfect execution in 7 areas: in-app experience, product sourcing, picking operations, inventory management, ordering prediction, delivery optimisation and operations monitoring. It’s not an easy business, we know it. But it’s a unique opportunity to change one aspect of everyone’s daily life, ie the way people shop for groceries in big cities.

As Frank Sinatra sings it: “If you can make it here (he meant Paris, we were told), you can make it anywhere”.

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