AI grocery startup from London, Bother raises £4.4M in pre-Series A funding


Grocery shopping changed drastically in 2020. Several customers switched to online shopping with the lockdowns of the ongoing pandemic. While Amazon, and other big techs made the most of it, some local startups also thrived on the opportunity and with this new trend many new and upcoming ones are now looking to capture more of the industry. 

As far as the UK online grocery startups are concerned they seem to be unstoppable. Just last week, Dija bagged £14.4 million funding and already Weezy is making a lot of buzz for its 15 mins grocery delivery service.

£4.4M investor funding

Now another online grocery delivery startup from the capital — Bother has raised £4.4 million — as a pre-Series A round from early-stage investors of Uber, Just Eat and Not on the High Street. 

The household items delivery startup got support from  Sun Hung Kai & Co and Venrex Investment Management, the early investors of Uber, Just Eat and Not on the High Street.

So, what’s different about Bother?

Bother isn’t focused on getting groceries to customers quickly. Unlike Dija and Weezy, Bother aims to replenish household supplies before they run out, using AI dubbed as Bother Brain to ‘learn’ what a customer needs and when – Bother preempts the order and puts it in the customer’s basket so they just need to approve it. No subscriptions, no substitutions, just free next day delivery. 

Douglas Morton, Bother Founder & CEO comments: “There is no reason for dishwasher tablets to be delivered in a refrigerated van. It is neither convenient, cost-effective nor environmentally sustainable. With the rise of Deliveroo, recipe boxes and on-demand groceries, food can be delivered with increasing convenience, but bulky household items still lag behind, sold predominantly through the same channels they have been for 70 years – the supermarkets.

50% of the supermarket fresh produce contains non-recyclable plastic. Bother’s ‘Shop Simple, Live Smart’ model adheres the consumers to buy fresh produce locally and grocery items from Bother. 

In hype of technology innovations, Bother encountered the gap with a smart & sustainable approach. It is cost-effective, helps local business and saves energy on delivery of groceries in a refrigerated van.

“One of Bother’s main goals is to redress the inefficiencies that have built up over generations of traditional grocery shopping. After years of lagging innovation in the industry, there is a real need to challenge the hold that supermarkets have, observe and forecast changes in consumer behaviour, and provide a solution that offers consumers what they really want. As we continue to present our ‘Shop simple. Live smart.’ model, we hope to be at the forefront of innovation in retail, giving our customers the ability to simplify the basics, and focus on the things that matter.’” 

Mr Seng Huang Lee, Executive Chairman of Sun Hung Kai & Co, comments: “As part of our Venture Capital business, we look for companies that are thinking about real-world problems and providing innovative solutions that have the potential to scale, the opportunity to disrupt large industries and the expertise to execute. Bother has positioned itself very well in all these areas within an industry that seems overdue for a change. We are excited to add this investment to our portfolio of disruptive global companies.”

Mark Esiri, Managing Partner and Founder, Venrex Investment Management, comments: “Venrex loves to back unconventional people, going against the tide, in conventional industries. The last investment banker to go into groceries was Tim Steiner at Ocado. Douglas Morton is someone who recognises that the best opportunities are, as my former boss used to say, “where the rubber meets the sky”. Big and innovative ideas meeting crisp execution.”

Bother’s 10x growth in the past six months, and deals with FMCG companies including Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Kraft and Heinz added further value.

The team of founding employees of Deliveroo, Just Eat and Farmdrop and an advisory panel of senior executives from Ocado, THG and Amazon Fresh are the reason behind the rapid growth.

Bother’s business model has a clear sight to profitability that boasts structurally better unit economics, higher AOVs, better retention, and less capital to scale.