Online food delivery platform Deliveroo has placed its Australian subsidiary in voluntary administration, shutting down local operations.
The London Stock Exchange-listed parent company withdrew its support for Australian operations on Wednesday afternoon appointing KordaMentha’s Michael Korda, Andrew Knight and Craig Shepard as administrators.
Deliveroo’s failure comes just four days after local grocery delivery startup Voly ceased operation 12 months after launch, having burned through $18 million. Rival Send shut down in May this year.
The Deliveroo business had serviced more than 12,000 restaurants, with around 15,000 delivery riders and employing around 120 local staff, having expanded into grocery and liquor delivery.
Deliveroo launched in Australia in 2015 setting up its HQ in Melbourne. But it failed to gain traction and a path to profitability amid heavy competition from rivals such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Menulog, alongside new competitors regularly entering the market.
Deliveroo also fell foul of regulators last year when the Fair Work Commission found a driver was unfairly dismissed because he was an employee, not a contractor.
The business was also under increased political pressure, with Victorian industrial relations minister Tim Pallas promising better pay and conditions for gig economy workers ahead of a state election later this month.
Politicians nationwide have been grappling with how to legislate better employment rules for the sector.
The nine-year-old company, which has seen its share price plunge by 66% over the last 12 months, shut down operations in the Netherlands on November 30, having originally floated the idea in August.
Australia generated around 3% of global turnover, but the operating costs hit the company’s EBITDA by around 0.3%.
The app was shut down and stopped taking orders ahead of the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the business said the Australian market “is highly competitive” and did not have a path to profitability “without considerable financial investment, and the expected return on such investment is not commensurate with Deliveroo’s risk/reward thresholds”.
In an ominous sign that the London parent could short-change local businesses as it heads to the exit, Deliveroo said it will put forward a Deed of Company Arrangement to the administrators “setting out the appropriate compensation packages it intends to provide for its creditors”.
That includes guaranteed enhanced severance payments for employees as well as compensation for riders and certain restaurant partners.
Deliveroo said its focus is on making sure employees, riders and partners are supported through the process.
“This was a difficult decision and not one we have taken lightly. We want to thank all our employees, consumers, riders and restaurant and grocery partners who have been involved with the Australian operations over the past seven years,” a statement read.
The delivery service operated in 15 cities, including the capitals and regional areas such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Geelong, Wollongong, Newcastle and Cairns.
After pulling out of two countries, is still operates in 10 nations, but despite generating more than US$1.2 billion in revenue globally, has yet to post a profit.
KordaMentha’s Michael Korda said Deliveroo was unable to achieve sufficient market share in Australia to develop a sustainable business.
“To do so would require significant ongoing investment in the Australian market. Given this, Deliveroo Australia’s UK parent has advised that it has decided to cease funding Deliveroo Australia,” he said.
“Without ongoing funding, the director of Deliveroo Australia resolved to place the company into administration. Administrators had no alternative but to cease operations immediately in the absence of financial support.”
Korda said its priority was an orderly wind-down of the Australian operations to achieve the best outcome for all stakeholders.
The first creditors meeting for Deliveroo Australia will be held on Monday, 28 November.
The future of the business will be decided at the second meeting of creditors, which is likely to be held mid to late December.
This story originally appeared on Startup Daily.