Italian online supermarket platform Tulips is aiming to raise at least €4 million via the CrowdFundMe platform, to invest in a dark-store network.
According to daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the resources will be invested in new dark stores in northern Italy, to expand Tulips’ delivery coverage area; to improve technological and digital efficiencies; to enhance its AI system; and for brand promotion and marketing campaigns.
Founded by Enrico Martini, CEO, and Mattia Mordenti, COO, in 2019, Tulips currently serves 4,500 customers per month in the Emilia-Romagna region, including Bologna, and the average value per order is €75.
There are no charges for order preparation and in-store pickup, while home delivery is free of charge for orders above €49.
Tulips sees its point of difference as being the local origin of its products, combined with its own deli workshop. Each dark store has a deli lab, where ready-made meals are prepared and meats and cheeses are cut on the spot.
In 2021, the company reported sales of €5 million (+84%, year on year) and an EBIT margin of 7%.
It is aiming to double its turnover to €10 million in 2022 and €20 million in 2023, before reaching as much as €300 million by 2026.
Backed by a strong e-commerce trend and trust from investors, Tulips has already opened four dark stores – in Forlì-Cesena, Rimini, Ravenna and Bologna – with further expansion planned throughout Italy.
The company has sought, where possible, to optimise the picking phase, which, in the future, will be partly managed by robots, keeping costs down.
Optimised product storage also ensures higher sales margins than other operators in the sector (30% average margin), with higher profitability a possibility as volumes increase.