Food delivery services are ubiquitous, but I’m beginning to buy the grocery as a service model now too. The other day, I placed an order for sparkling water through one of the fast-growing dark store delivery apps, and it was delivered to my office in Midtown Manhattan in less than 15 minutes. The SKU was arguably cheaper than what I’d pay for in a local convenience store, the delivery fees waived, and I didn’t even step away from my desk. Venture-backed freebies and subsidies never get old. 

This has been a stunning year for companies operating in the dark store space. Dark stores are fulfillment centers (read: micro-warehouses) in urban centers, which stock goods that a traditional convenience store would, deploying data and technology to determine where and what to sell. We have witnessed nine and ten-figure checks from the best investors in the world, catapulting these ‘startups’ into unicorn and soon to be decacorn categories. Per our internal estimates, leading dark store companies have raised more than $8 billion in capital over the last few years, and presumably, there’s more to come. 

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