Police visited the Berlin offices of Delivery Hero’s German platform Lieferheld last week on suspicion of computer sabotage against competitor Lieferando, an allegation Lieferheld’s Fabian Siegel hotly denies.
As reports and statements surfacing this weekend reveal, police officials visited Lieferheld’s Berlin headquarters last Wednesday following accusations of repeated denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Lieferando’s website.
Lieferando CEO Christoph Gerber told Der Spiegel that after a particularly serious incident in December 2011 downed servers for several hours, Lieferando’s team analysed the addresses involved and found one pointed to a server rented by Lieferheld.
Lieferheld CEO Fabian Siegel rejected the accusation as “totally absurd”. He suggested Lieferando may have seen a programme used by Lieferheld to automatically check if competitors’ claims about affiliated restaurants are correct, something he claims is common industry practise. If this led to a collapse of Lieferando’s systems, he said, “they do not have their technology under control”.
Lieferando intends to take civil action and seek damages in the “low seven figures”. Lieferheld could not be reached for comment this morning on the company’s next steps. We’ll bring you updates as we get them.
UPDATE Lieferando CEO Jörg Gerbig has confirmed, in a statement to Deutsche Startups, that web crawling by competitors is common practise. Gerbig clarified that the company’s complaints were made against an “unknown” force, as “such a crash does not happen with the ‘usual’ crawling by Lieferheld”.
In a statement to VentureVillage, Siegel said the accusation against Lieferheld “hurts the entire industry” and questions the work of the employees who’ve built Lieferheld up to over 19,000 restaurants in the last 18 months. “Now we will work even harder and focus on the better product, the better service and achieve even faster market growth,” he said.