- Couriers for London-based delivery service Jinn were told on October 18 that the company has permanently closed.
- A source said that last-minute acquisitions talks fell through and the company was forced to shut down.
- Couriers are concerned that they won’t receive money they’re owed by the business.
Couriers for London-based delivery service Jinn were told on October 18 that the service has permanently closed — leaving them concerned about being paid the wages they’re due.
A message sent by a staff member to Jinn couriers on messaging service Telegram said that the service has now “permanently” closed and said indicated that the company would enter administration.
The message informing couriers of Jinn’s closure was passed to Business Insider by a courier and a source close to the company confirmed that the message was real.
Jinn CEO Mario Navarro confirmed the closure in a statement:
To our employees, couriers, partners and customers,
It is with a heavy heart that I share that Jinn has now stopped operating and won’t be taking any new orders.
These past few months, we have tried through all means to find solutions to keep Jinn alive. Unfortunately, we have now run out of time and we will be filing for administration. We deeply apologise to everyone who relied on Jinn in any way.
To our employees, I’d like to thank you for everything that you’ve done in these past four years. You have helped develop a platform capable of delivering orders from any store or restaurant in around thirty minutes, a first of its kind in the United Kingdom. You have helped make this service known to over a hundred thousand customers, who have received over a million deliveries. You have supported these customers and thousands of couriers and partners across these years. Your achievements have been nothing short of extraordinary and the fact that Jinn is closing does not change that.
To our couriers, partners and customers, thank you for being part of a great community and for accelerating innovation in the on-demand delivery space. Together, we have greatly improved the standards of this market, and it is stronger than ever thanks to you. We encourage you to continue working with the different companies providing solutions for on-demand delivery in the UK. I’m confident that this market will continue to grow and I’m hopeful for the future.
Jinn held last-minute acquisition talks to try to save the company
Jinn was primarily a food delivery app that connected hungry customers with restaurants and self-employed couriers. But unlike rival services such as Deliveroo and UberEATS, Jinn allowed customers to place custom orders for virtually any shop in a city. That meant it was able to offer on-demand McDonald’s deliveries long before the fast food officially announced a partnership with UberEATS.
A source with knowledge of Jinn’s current situation said that the company met with three rival food delivery businesses on October 13 about a potential acquisition deal. But by 5 p.m. on October 16, this source said that a deal looked unlikely, and they said that a decision to close Jinn was made on October 17.
Two people Business Insider spoke to said that many couriers are owed money by Jinn, and it’s unclear whether they will get their wages from the company. One source said that some couriers are owed two weeks’ pay — which is likely to be over £1,000 for some couriers.
In July, Jinn pulled out of all cities other than London
Jinn said in July that it had pulled out of every city it operated in other than London. “As we continue our path towards profitability, we have decided to focus our operations in London, where we currently receive over 90% of our orders,” Navarro told TechCrunch. “With the objective of being profitable before the end of the year, we have temporarily paused our activity in other markets.”
Navarro told TechCrunch in August that his company was “profitable at an EBITDA level, with 30% contribution margins, and expecting to close the year with $US22M in sales.”
At one stage Jinn had around 100 employees, but two rounds of redundancies reduced the number of its staff dramatically. UKTN was told in August that Jinn only had five remaining staff members, but Navarro said there were actually 20 employees.
Food delivery is a competitive market
Food delivery services are a booming technology market around the world. In London Jinn competed with better-funded services as Deliveroo and UberEATS, as well as rivals like Quiqup and Feast.
Deliveroo has raised over $US800 million (£605 million) in funding, while Jinn managed to raise $US19 million (£14.3 million). That left Jinn at a disadvantage as Deliveroo could easily outspend the company on marketing and incentives to couriers.
Jinn faced protests from its drivers over the way they were paid
Couriers went on strike in January and assembled outside Jinn’s office in East London to protest against changes to the way they were paid.
The company changed its payment method from paying couriers £8 an hour plus £1.50 per delivery to paying them £7 per delivery with no hourly fee. That lead to frustration among drivers who surrounded cofounder Leon Herrera and called him a “thief.”