Deliveroo has appointed investment bankers to oversee a long-awaited flotation as it unveils a blizzard of innovative features that it hopes will provide a compelling growth story for public market investors.
Sky News has learnt that the food delivery app, which last week said it was preparing to add 15,000 riders to its fleet by the end of year, has begun working with Goldman Sachs on its plans for an initial public offering (IPO).
A float is expected to take place in London next year, and is likely to value the company at more than £2bn, according to insiders.
Deliveroo declined to comment on Goldman's appointment, and sources close to the company insisted this weekend that there was no definitive timetable for a public listing.
Further banks are expected to be appointed in the coming months.
The company, which was launched by chief executive Will Shu in 2013, has seen a surge in sales as customers have turned to food delivery services during the coronavirus crisis.
However, the ongoing costs of its investment in technology led it to warn this year that a refusal by competition regulators to sanction a big investment from Amazon could undermine its chances of survival.
The decision by watchdogs to approve the Amazon stake as part of a $575m fundraising has prompted Deliveroo to turn its attention towards further innovation in the fight against rivals Uber Eats and Just Eat Takeaway.com.
Sources said that Deliveroo now had 44,000 restaurants on its platform in the UK, as well as 16 on-demand convenience and grocery partnerships with the likes of Waitrose, Morrison's, Aldi and the Co-Op.
In total, those partnerships cover 1,000 new stores on the Deliveroo app.
The company is now preparing to launch a series of other features aimed at strengthening Deliveroo's appeal to customers, restaurants and riders.
These will include post-order tipping - allowing customers to reward riders after their delivery has arrived - in the UK and a number of other market.
Deliveroo also plans to offer a group-ordering function in its app which enables customers to share a single 'basket' among several users without the need to pass a mobile phone between different people.
Sources said this was likely to benefit restaurants through larger orders from multiple people in the same household or office.
The company is also expected to announce the launch of a service called Brought to you by Deliveroo, which will allow customers to order food from restaurants' websites, but with the tech company fulfilling the orders' delivery.
It is said to be the first time that a delivery platform will have offered such a service in Europe and Asia, and is being tested with chains including Nando's.
Stephen Goldstein, Executive Vice President of Restaurants said: "These upgrades to our service will help restaurants reach as many consumers as possible while substantially improving the already market-leading Deliveroo customer experience - families, students and other groups can now easily and safely order together.
"These changes are particularly important given the current backdrop and are in addition to other support measures we have developed to help all restaurants, particularly small, independents that are the lifeblood of the industry and the high street."
During the summer, Deliveroo ended a nine-month search for a permanent finance chief by appointing Adam Miller, a former executive at the travel group Expedia, to the role - a move which stoked speculation about its IPO preparations.
Other new services launched this year have included a direct tipping function to boost local restaurant operators during a period when tens of thousands of restaurant jobs are disappearing.
Among the groups to have called in administrators since the coronavirus outbreak in March are Carluccio's, Casual Dining Group, the owner of Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, and Azzurri Group, the owner of ASK Italian.
Hospitality industry chiefs have warned that hundreds of thousands more job losses are inevitable without further government support.
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