Food Delivery and CEO Wonder Marc Lore

By | May 19, 2024
food delivery

He’s Not Just Looking to Make a Quick Billion

Super article on NY Times on Food Delivery. Marc Lore, the entrepreneur behind Diapers.com and Jet.com, would like to disrupt food delivery. But he really wants to build a brand that actually lasts.

Elizabeth G. Dunn
By Elizabeth G. Dunn
March 10, 2024

Summary

  • Marc Lore’s Ventures: The article discusses Marc Lore, an entrepreneur known for Diapers.com and Jet.com, and his various ventures post-Walmart.com, including a nuclear fusion startup, flying taxis, and a planned city.
  • Wonder Startup: Lore’s current focus is on Wonder, a food delivery startup aiming to solve common issues with food delivery speed and quality, initially using cooking vans and now operating from fixed locations.
  • Business Growth: Wonder has expanded rapidly, acquiring Blue Apron, partnering with Walmart, and planning for an IPO with a target valuation of $30 billion, despite the challenges faced by previous food delivery startups.
  • Innovative Model: The company’s model involves preparing and partially cooking food in commissary kitchens, then finishing it quickly at local Wonder locations, allowing for a diverse menu and efficient service.

Excerpt: When Marc Lore, the e-commerce billionaire, left his position as the chief executive of Walmart.com in 2021, he began to dabble in a variety of long-odds attempts to change the world. He backed a nuclear fusion start-up, and another designing flying taxis. Frustrated with the current state of capitalism, he embarked on plans to build, from scratch, a Bjarke Ingels-designed city of five million in the American West.

Recently, though, Mr. Lore has put all that aside to focus on an even bigger moonshot: solving dinner.

Mr. Lore’s business ideas often begin with a widely felt consumer frustration and back into a solution. In the aughts, his company Diapers.com keyed in on the annoyance, for new parents, of having to constantly run out for more diapers; imagine if they could be delivered to your door? His latest scheme, a start-up called Wonder, exists to tackle food delivery, which Mr. Lore believes too often disappoints customers by arriving too slowly.

Wonder’s opening salvo, in 2021, was flooding the New Jersey suburbs with hundreds of Mercedes Sprinter vans that could cook menus designed by celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay or José Andrés in customers’ driveways. Demand for food delivery is most concentrated in cities, but Mr. Lore thought that the suburbs held plenty of untapped potential; a van-based strategy faced more challenges in crowded urban environments, which the company planned to work up to.

Initially, after founding the company, Mr. Lore (rhymes with story) was involved only as an adviser and investor. Then in late 2022, shortly after a $350 million capital raise brought Wonder’s funding total to $800 million, he took over leadership of the company, installing himself as chief executive.

“This is once in a lifetime,” Mr. Lore told me, with characteristic zeal. “This could be the Amazon of food and beverage.”

Marc Lore, who co-founded Diapers.com, has invested more than $200 million of his own money into Wonder. “This is once in a lifetime,” Mr. Lore said. “This could be the Amazon of food and beverage.”Credit…Amir Hamja/The New York Times