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JOKR announces launch of U.S. market in New York City

Ralf Wenzel, JOKR CEO & Founder, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the instant grocery services company’s expansion int to the U.S. and growth outlook.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

KRISTIN MYERS: Welcome back. Well, New Yorkers can now get their groceries in 15 minutes or less-- you heard that right, 15 minutes or less-- thanks to the instant grocery company JOKR. We're joined now by Raif Wenzel, JOKR CEO and founder. So let's just start here, because it seems honestly impossible to me to think that I could get my groceries in 15 minutes or less. How are you guys able to operate like this? How does it work that you're able to get groceries to people's door in less than 20 minutes?

RAIF WENZEL: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, first of all, and happy to introduce our JOKR business to you. So what we are doing is we are a group of founders, entrepreneurs, and operators that have come together to really reinvent retail, to build a next-generation online retail model whereby we directly procure predominantly local products from local suppliers, local distributors, local producers, aggregate them into our own distribution and fulfillment centers, build out a very narrow network of delivery hubs throughout the city, and then being able to deliver to end customers in less than 15 minutes at very comparable and often significantly cheaper prices as compared to offline retail stores.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So that's interesting because I think you hit it there, the price point, right, Raif? That you're saying that you can actually undercut some of the bigger retailers. Tell us how you're able to afford to do that. Because I think when people think you're procuring things from local-- local folks, while that might be, you know, really great trying to help a local community, I think people feel that they're going to be paying a premium for that.

RAIF WENZEL: Well, I think one of the dilemmas of the current online retail models is that fulfillment takes too long. People are not as patient as to wait hours or days to get things delivered. The second dilemma of online retail is that price points are often significantly higher than in offline retail, often attached to a delivery fee. And the third dilemma of current online retail models is that they're hardly economically nor ecologically sustainable.

So we are trying to clean up and to really come up with a proposition that is instantly delivered, that is locally appreciated, that offers cheaper price points as compared to other online platforms or offline platforms, and to build a proposition that, for the first time, is measurably economically, but also economically more sustainable. And we are doing that by cutting out current middlemen by using technology, by using data, and by actually leveraging our expertise of having built various online models over the last 20 years and bringing all of that expertise now together for what is meant to become a better and a bigger proposition than most current online retail models.

KRISTIN MYERS: Now, I know that your company is not terribly old, but curious to know what some of your growth and some of your expansion plans are. I can see JOKR working in a place like New York City or Miami or LA, San Francisco. But is there an interest to tap into some of these more rural and suburban areas, particularly as so many people have fled the cities and are now living in some of these more suburban areas?

RAIF WENZEL: So first and foremost, we think about JOKR as a global platform that is geographically agnostic, and also agnostic to the type of city and to the type of cosmopolitan and metropolitan area. We've started to build out the business in Europe and in Latin America, and recently launched New York City as our first US city, as our market entry to the United States. But from here, we are expanding throughout a number of additional cities in the US East Coast, but then also further expanding towards the West Coast and other cities in the heart of the United States.

And it's a model that will work, in essence, in both the large metropolitan areas as well as, like, the smaller ones. And again, the proposition of instant delivery, local products, and something that is economically and ecologically more sustainable at equal or cheaper pricing points is something that attracts customers not only in the larger metropolitan areas.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Raif, I know that you founded foodpanda, and other folks on your board and part of the company worked at places like Walmart and Blue Apron and FreshDirect. How are you using that expertise to leverage technology, like you say, and data to provide a better experience for people?

RAIF WENZEL: I think we all have worked, as you rightly said, in a variety of different consumer-- online consumer companies whereby we could only always influence a specific part of the customer experience, be it the ordering process, be it the last mile delivery component. JOKR now allows us to really influence the end-to-end experience, from the procurement of the products up to managing the inventory in our own warehouses, employing our own rider personnel, and with that, also guaranteeing a consistent and high quality, on-time delivery of the products to the customer.

So what basically combines the passion that all of us have coming from different consumer companies is really the ability to influence and revolutionize the whole end-to-end experience, from procurement to delivery to the customer's doorstep.

KRISTIN MYERS: Are there any interest in going public or perhaps in being acquired? I can think of several companies right now that are trying to break into this grocery space that might find what JOKR is doing very interesting. Is there an interest to be acquired by one of those companies?

RAIF WENZEL: Well, we're not-- we're not even six months old, and we're focused on building out our own business. We have an excellent team. Those very strong investors that have started to back us have confessed that we are the fastest-growing business that have-- that they have ever seen in their investment lifetime. So I think we have a great future ahead of us.

We're not thinking about exits or selling the business to someone. We are passionate operators ourselves. We are software developers. We have supply chain experts. We are marketing specialists. And we've all come together to really build a new standard of online retail. Amazon has set the standard for same-day delivery some years ago. JOKR will be the company setting the standard for instant local product delivery.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, Raif Wenzel, JOKR CEO and founder. Congratulations, and good luck to you guys as you continue to grow.