Ele.me, an online food ordering service, announced today it has secured $80 million of funding from Dianping, China’s leading ratings and reviews service. Although the company did not disclose the stake Dianping going to take in it, Ele.me confirmed that the founding team will still be the controller of the startup.
The two companies also entered partnership to share user and merchant data and traffic, as well as to integrate food ordering services. Ele.me has had over 20,000 partner restaurants in 30 Chinese cities. The annual sales through Ele.me exceeded 1.2 billion yuan (around $192 million), according to the company.
However, the average price per order on the platform is only around 30 yuan ($4.8), mainly because the service first boomed among university students and its former focus on low-end catering market. The tie-up with Dianping is expected to introduce more middle-and high-tier partner restaurants and attract white-collar customers to the platform. Dianping also rolled out a food delivery channel last year.
The company just secured $25 million of Series C financing last November. With the new funding, the company’s market valuation is expected to reach $500 million, said Zhang Xuhao, co-founder of the company, at a recent interview.
According to data released by Ele.me, China’s total consumption amount on catering industry hit 450 billion yuan in 2013 and this figure is expected to reach 700 billion yuan by 2016 at an annual growth rate of 16%. Consumption amount for food delivering accounts for 10% of the total, which means that the market size of food ordering and delivering industy is expected to reach 70 billion yuan by 2016.
image credit: Ele.me