Just-Eat, a company that serves as an online ordering provider for takeaways and restaurants, has just raised £10.5 million from prominent European VC firm Index Ventures.

It’s the first institutional funding for the UK-based startup, which has 6,000 takeaway and restaurant partners throughout Europe.

Just-Eat allows its partners to accept orders online from customers for home delivery. It handles payment processing, submits orders and gives customers estimated delivery times. It also provides discovery services — a directory of restaurants, online menus and customer reviews.

The company’s focus is on “local, independently run businesses” who might otherwise not have the resources to build their own online ordering platforms.

The company’s fundraising represents a good example of some of the changes VCs are making during tough times. According to Ben Holmes, a partner at Index Ventures:

The home delivery market is growing at 9% per year and it has proved to be a
profitable business even in recessionary periods.

Given that, it’s not surprising that Just-Eat isn’t without competition. hungryhouse.com, which hasn’t (yet) raised institutional financing, has been in business in 2003 and serves the same market.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more businesses like Just-Eat pop up. Commerce, especially at the local level, is a big opportunity and as the recession drags on, markets like home delivery, which may not seem so sexy, will become more attractive, including to VCs, many of whom have been burned by recent investments in more ‘exciting‘ markets.

Photo credit: dslrninja via Flickr.