Rocket withdraws from European markets

The Ukrainian foodtech company Rocket is leaving the EU markets and optimizing its business in Ukraine. Our journalist tells the details.

Termination of operations in Europe

The company Rocket will completely stop working in European countries. It has been operating in the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, and Cyprus.

Photo: Rocket

The main reason is the lack of proper funding, which makes it impossible to further develop the business in Europe.

“We are sad to announce the shutdown in Europe. The Rocket brand was created by a great team, who made one of the top 7 most downloaded apps for food delivery in Europe and built quality relationships with partners, couriers, and customers. We created a Ukrainian business, which was successful not only in our country but also in EU markets, and showed that we could develop great projects. Today we are doing our best to keep the business going in Ukraine and continue developing,” commented Rocket co-founders Oleksii Yukhymchuk and Stanislav Dmytryk.

Rocket in Ukraine

Despite the shutdown in Europe, the company will continue to operate in Ukraine. Rocket has recently switched to self-sufficiency. So, as for now, the main task of the team is to keep the project afloat. And the company’s co-founders will continue to look for an investor to support the Ukrainian part of the business.

To save the business in Ukraine, the company is:

  • minimizing costs
  • optimizing the size of teams
  • canceling the service of overnight delivery

At this time, delivery prices remain the same.

The Dark Kitchen project, according to the company, is self-sufficient. It has been operating without additional funding since December 2021.

The company also assures that employees forced to leave the team receive assistance: HR specialists help them write resumes, share some tips for finding a new job, provide career counseling and coaching sessions.

What preceded this decision?

In late December 2021-early January 2022, Rocket experienced a wave of layoffs.

As Rocket’s press service said, the company had to lay off 50 people from the Ukrainian team. The layoffs affected the back- and front-office teams and the tech team. About 40% of the laid-off employees were the technical staff. According to the company, the official reason was the market changes and the decrease in funding. So it had to change the financial plans and seek additional investment.

As AIN.Capital learned from its sources, the main reason for the downsizing was Rocket investor Igor Rokhlin (his father was later named as a shareholder). Rokhlin had been providing additional funding for expansionary development in Ukraine and abroad. However, he stopped at the end of 2021. Unexpectedly for the Rocket co-founders, their partner reduced funding by the end of the year. Rocket’s financial problems coincided with the arrest of the company’s ex-investor, Timur Rokhlin, because of accusations of financial fraud. He has now been released on bail, and the investigation continues.