Gorillas is the latest speedy grocery delivery app which is currently blazing its way across Europe. Now there are rumours of it spreading across the Atlantic to the United States in the near future. Gorillas went from a tiny office and a single warehouse, with Co-Founder and CEO Kağan Sümer doubling as a delivery rider, to a billion-dollar valuation unicorn in under a year.
Whether it is due to the COVID pandemic making grocery delivery more attractive or the allure of a 10-minute delivery time, Gorillas has proven to be one of the fastest growing companies ever in an unprecedented period of economic uncertainty. But the growing pains that accompany this kind of skyrocketing valuation could prove to be an issue for the newfound "tech unicorn".
While Sümer spoke about expanding the app to include pharmaceutical delivery while a guest on the OMR podcast, riders are taking it upon themselves to expand Gorillas’ offerings with something a little different: illicit drugs. Reportedly, weed, hash, and more are available on the side of your order if the right rider comes to your doorstep.
Drugs and Lockdowns
The option to pay in cash for deliveries that come right to your door, along with a less than 10-minute delivery time, suddenly makes getting your fix quite easy in a time when lockdowns and travel restrictions make finding illicit drugs harder than ever.
Many cities like Berlin are under ever-stricter lockdowns, with enforced curfews that limit who can be on the street and when. Yet food delivery drivers are an exception to many of these restrictions, classified as "essential workers" due to the nature of their business. No city can tell its people you are not allowed to get food, and so, food delivery drivers are essential workers, to whom curfews and lockdowns do not apply.
Drug dealers and gangs taking advantage of this loophole and teaming up with food delivery drivers, has been a welcome evolution of the times for casual and hardcore drug users alike.
It provides a convenient cover for the dealers as well, a delivery driver among the dozens of companies springing up all over the world in metropolitan areas is unlikely to be stopped by police, and even if they are, companies like Gorillas do not care because any tickets or fines are likely to be thrown out. With food delivery being an exception, a driver is unlikely to bet searched and discovered to have illicit drugs, making this side business the most lucrative and attractive part of the business itself.
Delivering More Than Groceries
Customers, drivers, and Gorillas all know that deliveries being an exception to curfews and lockdowns, allows this side business to thrive. But Gorillas wilfully turns a blind eye, as it gives it an edge over competitors and cultivates brand loyalty during a crucial and competitive time in the grocery delivery wars.
Gorillas is not the first nor only company to use food delivery as a cover for drug distribution. The pandemic saw a rise in drug usage globally with so many people stuck at home. People of all ages have utilized apps, from social media to food delivery, to get their fix. The ease of ordering has also led to an increase in overdoses of first-time users as well.
Gorillas, while not actively participating in this trend, is also not actively working to stop it either, because this unofficial partnership allows them to edge out the competition, and that edge is something they will take any way they can get it.
This phenomenon is not limited to Europe, it has gone global, affecting numerous countries. The pandemic has forced drug dealers and gangs to get creative and their unofficial coordination with food delivery apps has allowed both to thrive.
These unusual times have made for VERY unusual bedfellows.