Glovo, a Spanish food delivery startup, has exited several Middle Eastern countries in what it has said is a strategic move to help the company grow in a smarter way, according to reports on Tuesday (Jan. 21). The countries exited include Turkey, Egypt, Uruguay and Puerto Rico, shrinking its audience to 22 markets with a focus on South America, Southwest Europe, Eastern Europe and Africa. The involves Glovo leaving eight out of a total 306 cities.
The move out of the Middle East comes in spite of funding from Abu Dhabi state investment company Mubadala, though Mubadala has said that regional expansion wasn't part of its interest in the investment.
Glovo Co-founder and CEO Oscar Pierre said the decision to leave those four markets was "tough," but that it was necessary for the startup to continue growth in the way it wanted. He said last month that the Middle East had begun to look "too competitive" in the arena.
Last year, Turkey was touted as one of the fastest-growing markets in Glovo's repertoire.
In Egypt, Glovo initially announced that it would be pulling out last spring, but came back when investor Delivery Hero — a rival food delivery company that owns a stake in Glovo — wanted it to do so. Despite concerns by local press that the move would restrict competition, Glovo stayed until Tuesday's (Jan. 21) announcement.
The food delivery startup will continue to operate in all four markets for a few more weeks, in a move intended to offer support and direction going forward in the transition.
The company has said that the cities don't amount to much of its total revenue. Last year, the exited cities added up to 1.7 percent of its gross sales.
Glovo announced a $166 million expansion last year, which catapulted the startup beyond $1 billion in total value, and made it a rarity among Spanish companies.