This is Part 4 of Brazilstrat’s series about the Brazilian Unicorns. Links to the other parts can be found here: “Part 1 – Introduction and Summary”; “Part 2 – Nubank”; “Part 3 – Wildlife Studios”; “Part 5 – Loggi”; “Part 6 – QuintoAndar”; “Part 7 – Ebanx”; “Part 8 – Loft”; and “Part 9 – Gympass”.

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iFood is an online food delivery company with 26.6 million monthly orders from 147 thousand partner restaurants, delivered by more than 120 thousand couriers to millions of consumers. In addition to more than a thousand cities in Brazil, iFood is also present in Mexico and Colombia[9]. The company was founded by Patrick Sigrist, Guilherme Pinho Bonifacio, Felipe Ramos Fioravante, Eduardo Baer, and Gabriel Pinto in São Paulo in 2011 as a spin-off of Disk Cook, a search directory for local take-out founded by Patrick Sigrist in São Paulo in 1999[10]. With a much higher growth rate than any of its competitors, iFood became the market leader in Brazil in 2013[14].

Prior to Disk Cook and iFood, Sigrist studied engineering at USP before founding and heading Geosat Geoprocessamento, a technology company in the precision farming space, combined with a master’s degree in spatial data analysis at Purdue University in Indiana, US. As head of M&A from 2007 to 2015, Sigrist oversaw iFood’s merger with Just-Eat as well as the acquisitions of five other companies in the segment. Sigrist exited iFood in March 2015 and has both before and after co-founded, invested in, and advised several other successful startups, currently through the seed-stage venture capital firm Yellow Ventures which he founded in October 2016.[14]

Guilherme Pinho Bonifacio studied economics at USP before working three years in consulting at TerraForum Consultores and Gradus Management Consultants in São Paulo. He joined Disk Cook in November 2008, and in addition to new ventures he became responsible for the original company’s business unit within the iFood spin-off until his departure in May 2018. Bonifacio also co-founded the food recipe and delivery company Cheftime as well as the delivery platform Rapiddo Entregas in May 2014, staying as CEO at the latter until May 2018.

Felipe Ramos Fioravante joined the future iFood team in December 2008 after studying business administration at USP followed by four and a half years in consulting at TerraForum and Gradus together with Guilherme Bonifacio. Fioravante was iFood’s CEO from May 2011 until he left the company in March 2017.

Gabriel Pinto studied computer engineering at Universidade Estadual de Campinas in the state of São Paulo. He founded both the software company Brainweb Solutions in July 2002, where he stayed as CTO until July 2014, and the e-Commerce company Stoom in 2007. Like Bonifacio and Fioravante, Pinto also joined the precursor to iFood in 2008. He worked as CTO and Director of Technology until leaving in July 2019.

Before joining the team behind iFood in January 2009, Eduardo Baer studied marketing at ESPM and business administration at USP followed by 18 months in management consulting at Bain & Company in São Paulo. Baer recruited several of iFood’s other co-founders and future managers, and he saw the spin-off reach profitability after ten years of losses in the mother company while becoming Brazil’s second biggest online delivery food court. After leaving iFood in July 2012, Baer founded DogHero, a São Paulo-based pet services company[15].

iFood reached unicorn status in November 2018 when receiving $500 million in investments from Movile, which was already its controlling shareholder. The transaction also resulted a billion-dollar valuation for Movile itself, a private Brazilian company focusing on mobile marketplaces, as $400 million of the $500 million total had been raised from Naspers and Innova Capital to fund Movile’s investment in iFood[13]. Some argue that neither iFood nor Movile should be considered proper unicorns as they are both at least indirectly controlled by the publicly traded company Naspers. Movile has been compared to China’s Tencent, the holding company behind WeChat, and since its profile has more in common with an investment company than a technology startup, Movile has not been included among the eight unicorns covered in this article.

Details of iFood’s seven funding rounds totalling $591.9 million between 2011 and 2018 are listed below[11].

  • Series A: $1.6 million in August 2011. Investor: São Paulo-based Warehouse Investimentos[10].
  • Series B: $2.6 million in February 2013. Investor: Movile.
  • Series C: $2 million in February 2014. Investor: Movile.
  • Series D: $5.7 million in September 2014. Investors: Just Eat, a British online food order and delivery service which at the same time merged their Brazilian operations with iFood.
  • Series E in June 2015: $50 million. Investors: Movile and Just Eat.
  • Series F in July 2016: $30 million. Investors: Movile and Just Eat.
  • Series G in November 2018: $500 million. Investors: Prosus & Naspers; Movile; and Innova Capital.