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SoftBank Leads $1B Funding Round For Warehouse-To-Consumer Delivery App GoPuff

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

SoftBank Group's startup-focused investment fund has reportedly found a new company in which to pump capital.

SoftBank Vision Fund led a $750M fundraising round for GoBrands, the parent company of delivery app GoPuff, in July with a commitment for up to $250M more this year, The Information reports.

GoPuff declined to comment when reached by Bisnow. SoftBank did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Started in Philadelphia by two former students of Drexel University, GoPuff delivers snack foods, alcohol and some household items typically found in a convenience store with a flat delivery fee of $1.95. In its five years of existence, GoPuff has expanded to over 150 markets in the U.S., with a focus on proximity to college campuses. In many of its markets, GoPuff operates 24/7, according to its website.

Though some overlap exists in SoftBank's portfolio between GoPuff and DoorDash, which focuses more heavily on restaurant deliveries, GoBrands will likely require more real estate as it grows, with an eye on warehouses. Its most recent deal for storage space in Philadelphia was for two spaces in the Aramingo Village shopping center in the neighborhood of Port Richmond: a 6,060 SF distribution center and a 1,500 SF retail store for beer and convenience items, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported in December.

In 2018, GoBrands was awarded $39M in tax breaks from the state of New Jersey to build a 300K SF distribution center in the Philadelphia suburb of Glassboro, which was initially planned to open at the end of 2019 but remains in the planning phase, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Largely funded by the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and the Arab emirate Abu Dhabi, SoftBank Vision Fund suffered in 2019 when it was forced to write down the value of two of its highest-profile investments, Uber and WeWork, by more than $5B.

SoftBank and its CEO, Masayoshi Son, have been criticized for hastening the downfall of WeWork by pushing for aggressive growth on a timeline that was financially unsustainable. Other companies in Vision Fund's portfolio, like Indian hospitality startup Oyo and modular construction firm Katerra, have run into problems over the past few months that suggest similar, growth-driven tensions.