- Postmates plans to file for its initial public offering next month, according to TechCrunch.
- This report contradicts a Recode report from last month that stated Postmates was exploring a sale versus an IPO, but is in line with the company's February announcement that it confidentially filed for an IPO with an estimated valuation of more than $1.85 billion.
- Postmates would become the fourth food delivery company to go public, joining Uber, Grubhub and Waitr. DoorDash is also reportedly in talks with banks about opening a $400 million line of credit ahead of its initial public offering.
Postmates' plan to take itself public follows fruitless attempts to sell itself to rivals Uber and DoorDash, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Instead, the company will add even more intensity to the food delivery category that is fighting over market share and investors alike.
Despite all of the activity, food delivery remains a relatively unproven category with uncertain profitability. Although UberEats grew more than 140% year-over-year, its parent company lost more than $5 billion in the past three months alone.
This begs the question of whether or not there is room on the market for four delivery companies and, if DoorDash's IPO rumors come to fruition, if there's space for five — especially if there aren't too many differentiators between them and if profitability remains elusive. Plenty of analysts have pointed to inevitable consolidation in the space, and that has already started to happen. DoorDash recently acquired Caviar for $410 million, for example.
Profitability isn't the only challenge facing this category. Delivery companies across the board have had to overcome a bevy of labor and policy issues that could turn off some investors. DoorDash, for example, has been under fire lately for using tips given to delivery workers through the app to subsidize their base pay, while Grubhub recently updated its call fee and web domain policies after it was accused of cybersquatting.
Postmates has mostly been insulated from these issues, though it faced pushback from its workers after altering its payment model in May. The company may, however, have an edge over the competition from its efforts to diversify. Founded in 2011, the firm has added features like Postmates Party, Postmates Live and Postmates Unlimited, a subscription model, for example. The company is also testing sidewalk delivery robots in San Francisco, has partnered with Square and Bringg and is reportedly growing faster than UberEats and Grubhub nationally.
Postmates' model has already turned on quite a bit of venture capitalists, having raised $681 million in private venture funding to date, according to Pitchbook. This could bode well for its market debut.