Online delivery pioneer Hubbub announces closure
London online shopping service Hubbub, which pioneered delivery of goods from specialist food shops to homes aross the capital, is closing after a six-month struggle to secure new funding.
Founded in 2008 by lawyer Marisa Leaf, Hubbub was presented as a socially conscious antidote to Ocado or Tesco Direct, since it supported sales by independent shops instead of bypassing them.
At one stage it was working with nearly 100 smaller retailers, including La Fromagerie, The Ginger Pig, Gail’s Artisan Bakery and other butchers, grocers, wholefood stores and delis.
Shoppers could select goods from each store online. Hubbub then collected the orders from each outlet and delivered them to the consumer’s home that day in its own refrigerated vans.
When FFD featured the business in September 2015, Leaf had been joined in the business by entrepreneur William Reeve and had ambitions to spread to other major cities in the UK and on the Continent.
However, in an email letter to shoppers on March 8, Leaf said the failure to secure two large funding deals last summer had left the business “within a whisper of closing”.
The crisis coincided with the launch in London of Amazon Fresh, which not only offered a home delivery of mainstream groceries via Morrisons but was also collecting from specialist outlets – some already working with Hubbub.
Hubbub managed to some further private backing, shed staff and cut back its operations, but on March 8 Leaf said its delivery operation had “reached the end of the road”. “Despite believing ours is the most profitable – or, more accurately, the least unprofitable, because grocery delivery is an exceptionally tough space – model of its type, ultimately we simply couldn’t grow big enough fast enough to be sustainable.”
Hubbub had been “a force for social good”, she added, helping shops across London stand together against the supermarkets, and she urged customers to keep supporting these independents.