Rico-owned Henchman acquires Jinn’s app, will rebrand to ‘new on-demand concierge’ early next year

Jinn, the London on-demand delivery startup that shut down and was put into administration after being unable to pay creditors, has found a buyer for some of its assets.

TechCrunch understands that global logistics company Rico Logistics Ltd., under its London-based luxury delivery service Henchman, has acquired the Jinn app, brand and (presumably) customer base.

A regulatory filing is expected next week with further details, but for now the price is not being disclosed. I understand, however, that no one at Jinn has kept their job as part of the asset purchase.

In a message addressed to “Partners and Customers” that was displayed on the Jinn website last month but has now been removed, Henchman said it had acquired the brand of Jinnapp.com and was in the process of “relaunching the service to all Jinnapp.com clients and Partners”. It also announced the intention to roll the Jinn brand into “our new on demand concierge brand for 2018”.

It’s not clear if that is in reference to Henchman or a new brand altogether. However, I understand that the acquired Jinn app is being operated within Rico’s Henchman team, which is headed up by Henchman app Managing Director Amarjit Pall. I’ve contacted both Pall and Jinn’s legally appointed administrator for further details but both have so far declined to comment beyond what has already been made public.

What we do know is that the Henchman brand and app, a London-only on-demand concierge delivery service, was itself acquired by Rico earlier this year. That left Henchman’s founder Ryan Perera free to pivot to a new B2B startup called Captain.ai that offers software to help restaurants use AI to automate delivery driver dispatches.

Meanwhile, in a message seen by TechCrunch that was sent last month to couriers that had contracted for Jinn, Henchman said it wanted to have a “chat”. That’s likely in reference to restarting the Jinn service that runs 7 days a week, although how many of those couriers will want to take up that possibility remains to be seen. A recent regulatory filing, as reported by The Telegraph, says that 1,800 couriers have been left out of pocket — such is the insecurity of startup life and the wider gig economy.

As we reported at the time of Jinn’s shuttering in October, it came after a turbulent time for the startup over the last year. In May, the company, which operated a same-hour ‘shop on your behalf’ delivery app similar to Postmates in the U.S. announced that it had raised $10 million in further funding. That, in theory, brought total raised by Jinn to a modest $20 million in comparison to other players in the on-demand delivery space. However, it isn’t clear that the full $10 million entered the startup’s balance sheet and was likely contingent on milestones and delivered in tranches, whilst, according to the Telegraph, it now looks like some of that was actually debt financing.

This was followed just two months later with news that Jinn had pulled out of all markets outside London, “pausing” operations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds in the U.K., and Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. We also learned that Jinn co-founder and COO Leon Herrera had departed the startup a few weeks earlier.

Those drastic cutbacks appeared to have been enough to save the company, and one month later Jinn claimed that it was profitable at an EBITDA level, with 30 per cent contribution margins, and expecting to close the year with $22 million in sales. This evidently didn’t pan out and the “acquisition” by Rico looks like a partial fire sale at best.

Published at Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:21:56 +0000