Early Days—Episode 6: Glovo with Sacha Michaud
Sacha Michaud, co-founder of Glovo, shares the story of how this once humble delivery company grew into a billion-dollar logistics platform in Europe.
Tyler Norwood 00:00
Hey everybody. My name is Tyler Norwood. You're listening to the Early Days podcast. Real founders sharing the real stories of how they went from zero to one, some of the world's most successful companies.
Today's episode we're speaking with Sacha Michaud, one of the cofounders of Glovo. Glovo is one of the most successful delivery companies built in Western Europe, was recently valued at close to $2.6. billion. Today, Sacha shares with us the story of how he met his co founder, how they originally tested the idea, and how the first version of Glovo was built. Without further ado, let's dive in. This is Early Days with Glovo.
All right. Hey, Sasha. Thanks a lot for coming on the show today.
Sacha Michaud 00:53
Yeah, thanks for the invite.
Tyler Norwood 00:55
So Sacha, you are the founder and CEO of Glovo. So just to get us started here: would love to hear how you explain Glovo to people?
Sacha Michaud 01:05
Yeah, well, first of all, I'm certainly a founder, but I'm not the CEO. There's two founders and the other founder is the CEO. So yeah, Glovo is an app, but our vision is to give everyone easy access to anything in their city. And that's pretty much how we started a few years ago. You know, we saw what was happening with Uber, with on-demand, you know, passengers and moving people around the city. And in essence, we thought it'd be great to have an on demand app that you could just pretty much get anything in your city, and you know, we'd pick it up and deliver it. So that's pretty much how we started.
Tyler Norwood 01:44
And you guys have been building this about seven and a half years, correct?
Sacha Michaud 01:48
Yeah, yeah, we launched early 2015. So yeah, it's been seven years so far.
Tyler Norwood 01:56
And, you know, just looking at your background, so this is not the first company that you've founded. Can you talk a little bit about sort of your background very much as a serial entrepreneur? How many companies have you built before this, and what brought you to Glovo?
Sacha Michaud 02:16
Well, yeah, I mean, I set up my first company when I was 25. It was a tech company. We were building websites in the late 90s for the first phase of, you know, Internet 1.0. Companies and businesses were just figuring out what to do on it. Very reminiscent of how people are talking about the metaverse now. I find it quite funny that these brands just don't know what to do there, but they just have to be there.
Tyler Norwood 02:39
Everyone wants in, and they don't know what they want, but they want in.
Sacha Michaud 02:39
Yeah, so these companies were building these massive websites thinking they're gonna sell to millions of users. And of course, in those days, there weren't that many people connected to the internet. So yeah, so I set up a company and it went quite well. It was a mixture between, you know, building websites and actually hosting them. So I had a hosting farm was actually called servidores.com, which is in Spanish service.com. And that one went quite well. I also set up a company with a co-founder, Latinred, which was basically pretty much a Spanish version of Yahoo. At the time, we had a lot of different services from free mail, to search, to homepages. And you probably don't even remember Yahoo when it was the Google of the internet. But it just really took off and actually turned out to be the largest Spanish speaking portal in the world at the time. It grew incredibly quickly in Latin America, although we were based out of Barcelona. And we ended up being acquired by our competitor which is a New York based company called STAR MEDIA. Then we went public to the NASDAQ at the time. So fun times, in the first phase of internet. And I was there for a while. We ended up being within France Telecom and Orange's company framework. And then I joined Betfair, which was an up and coming online gaming company focused on sports betting, specifically peer to peer sports betting, which was basically, you know, users betting against each other instead of against the house. And today they're actually the largest... they've gone public as well, we went public with them. And they're actually the largest online gaming company in the world. I mean, they're in the US. They're the owners of FanDuel, I don't know if you know them in the US. PokerStars now, so they've become huge. And that was good fun. And you know, I'd been there nine years and I felt it was the right time to do something totally different because once... the gaming industry once you're in there you can definitely stay. There's a lot of knowledge and it's fast growing, but that I really felt like doing something. And that's when you know, I was thinking about this Uber of things I'd call it, which is instead of moving people around the city you can move things and go to stores and pick up something or even just send some keys, or an envelope. And that's pretty much how we started. I ran into Oscar at the end of 2014, he'd just come back from the US. He was studying at Georgia Tech, although he's born in Barcelona. And he was building already the first, sort of, version of his vision. And I said, you know, why don't I join you, and we can do this together. And that's pretty much... we did a round of financing at the very beginning of 2015 with friends and family and a few falls. And we launched the first version - which we didn't describe at the time as MVP, but today, we would describe as an MVP - in March 2015. So literally, you know, two and a half months after setting up the company and getting the first funding. And it was a very simple app, only available on iPhone. And we just started testing it out. And so I mean, you know, it's a good example of time to market was very important. I think not having a perfect product - far from it, in fact - but just having something out there that's working and growing organically. In fact we didn't have much money to spend on marketing, or we didn't actually have any to spend on marketing. So it was just growing organically and in Barcelona at the beginning, which is where we launched.
Tyler Norwood 06:32
Yeah. So I want to talk about the MVP, I thinkis particularly interested. I work with lots of founders launching sort of marketplaces and the cold start problem there. But before we get there, would love to dive in a little bit to you and Oscar, and you guys as sort of a founding team. So can we dive a little bit into like, did you guys know each other from before? Sort of how did that relationship grow into you deciding to be founders?
Sacha Michaud 06:54
Yeah, no, not at all. We didn't know each other at all in fact. I think the first time I saw Oscar he was presenting an accelerator program in Barcelona. And somebody spoke to me about him before, because I knew about his project. And because obviously I was moving ahead with a similar idea and I had a couple of investors. So noise came around that somebody in the city had a very similar idea. And we are very different. I mean, he was 22, so just out of university. I was in my early 40s, so almost doubled his age, so we're very different. And so I sat down with him, really liked him. He had a really sharp head on his shoulders, very mature for his age, very clear, moving very quickly, pure gas, you know, and I just liked that about him. And I thought I was very complimentary to his skill set at the time as well.
Tyler Norwood 07:51
Yeah. So at this stage, you were quite an experienced entrepreneur. And it sounds like you had the idea. You were sort of introduced to Oscar and saw that he was building something similar. And it seems like he very quickly recognized that we could probably be more successful if we work together, as opposed to like... I see a lot of young founders especially be like very territorial. And like, this is my idea, I'm the one person, I want everybody to work with me. But it sounds like you approach it from a perspective of like, hey, if there's another smart person who's working on this similar problem in Oscar, then let's do it together. Is that kind of the way you approached it?
Sacha Michaud 08:33
Yeah, I mean, in fact, even more exaggerated. I mean, I sat down with him, I think for 30 minutes and my first reaction was, you know, I don't want to compete with this guy, he's really sharp.
Tyler Norwood 08:44
Yeah. Let's be on the same team right.
Sacha Michaud 08:47
And, you know, he was a few months ahead of me as well. He was already moving ahead. And pretty much all my companies, I've always done them with somebody else. And I think it's very important to have co-founders and not do things yourselves. You know, you need complementarity in teams. You know, it's a tough road out there. And you need people not only to help, but to compensate, and also take you through the lows, and then you can maybe take them through the other. So I think to me it made perfect sense. There's the right timing as well, and we shared that vision. So, I think it was... it seems looking back now, like it was quite a risky decision. But at the end of the day, it just seems so natural the timing and things flowed quite well.
Tyler Norwood 09:42
Yeah. And on the, you know, complimentary piece of it. I love what you mentioned. I think a lot of times founders think very much about like, what skills do you have, what skills do I have. Which it sounds like you and Oscar do have good coverage there from a complementary perspective. But I love what you mentioned as well around helping each other through the ebbs and flows, right. So being able to sort of smooth out the median emotional load and celebrate the wins together, but also get through the hard times together. So on that, like, the last sort of piece on you guys as a team: so you sat down with Oscar, and sort of said, hey, I would love to build this together, etc. How did you guys approach sort of having the difficult conversations? Like, how did you structure your relationship and roles? And, you know, did you outline like, here's how we disagree with each other, here's how we should work together. How structured or how organic was that putting in place for the co-founder relationship?
Sacha Michaud 10:46
It happened pretty quickly. I mean, it was very organic. I mean, there wasn't sit down rules. I mean, you know, in the beginning, we decided that... I actually have a tech background. I mean, my first company were tech companies, but I actually learned to code and I was a programmer at some point. And I've been a CTO. I was the CTO at Star Media. But Oscar really wanted to be on product and tech, and, you know, more of the operational side of things. So I took more the growth, you know, the marketing, and maybe more of the legal stuff, more the admin and the sales type. So I was much more focused on that. We just, you know, divided that the first year, and after the first year, we agreed that it made a lot of sense for Oscar to lead the company and to be CEO. Which I think was always the plan in the back of our head anyway. I mean, there were too many things going on, and we were moving too quickly. The good thing is, we're both very ambitious, we're very ethical. It's not all about this ownership, and it's all about, we're both driven by having a successful company. It didn't really matter how we were part of that. It was more about the project, that we had a huge, huge opportunity. And also, you know, in the early days, I mean, it grew organically, which is a great thing for business, right? When you know people are signing up automatically and using the service and then congratulating you on it - without having spent any money - you know you're onto something. And you obviously need to improve it, you need to do a lot of things after that. But you know you've got this product market match that, you know, that we always talk about. So I felt very early on that this was going to be big.
Tyler Norwood 12:33
So let's dive into that a little bit. I guess, in the very beginning, you and Oscar had both sort of independently arrived at, hey, Uber for things, right? If there's going to be this distributed infrastructure to move people around there's also a lot of, you know, inanimate objects that move around, and there must be a service for that. How did you first go about sort of testing or validating the demand and like the specific use cases in the beginning? Because obviously, I imagine now that Glovo probably delivers lots and lots of things and the scope is very wide on the different services you provide, did you start off with any particular use cases where you found like, hey, we can do this one thing really, really well? Or like, how did you start to validate like, who are the customers that need this really badly right now? And how can we actually start validating that there's demand for moving things around the city?
Sacha Michaud 13:27
Yeah, so the first version of the app, which is an MVP, I mean, just had to two buttons in the app. And it had one which was go and to pick something up, or go and buy something for me. And the other one would be to send something. So basically, one would be go to a store restaurant, we can buy the product and deliver it. And the other button was just that... and these were text buttons. So not very UX friendly. Operationally a bit of a disaster in the sense that we had these debit cards that we gave to the couriers, and they would go to the store. That was how we started, and that was version 1.0. And, you know, I think Oscar's presentation, accelerator, and first time I met him I think he was talking more of the marketplace, which is what we are today in the presentation. You know, getting the stores and getting the menus and getting the products and the prices. But I think it was the right decision to go with this, because A: it got us - what I said earlier - got us out there in literally two months, two and a half months. Number two: we didn't have this massive sales pipeline of calling stores getting their content. I mean, that would have slowed us down at least 9 to 12 months of getting all that together. And so we launched with that. And that gave us intuition of what customers were asking for because they were automatically asking for anything they wanted. And the funny thing was, I think we both really weren't that focused on restaurants in the beginning. Because there was already restaurant delivery, right that wasn't cool. I mean, to get the hot pizza delivered, we've been doing that for decades even before the internet. That's not the wow moment, right? The wow moment is when we bring you nappies at two in the morning, because your baby's run out or even things like tobacco or things like that in some countries. So there's moments when you run out of something, and we'll save the day, we got that. But obviously, what customers suddenly start using us a lot for was restaurants that weren't delivering, so you know, your favorite restaurant, but it wasn't online yet. Now seven years later, and all the platforms out there and also COVID, pretty much all these top restaurants are now delivering. But in those days, they weren't. And we were getting, you know, orders from these special restaurants in the city that normally wouldn't do delivery. And we were delivering and people loved it. And then we realized, wow, people are ordering a lot of restaurant food, there's still a gap there. Why don't we build a much better UX for the customer than they're accustomed to. So the previous platforms before, like ourselves, and then obviously, now there's a lot of other companies like UberEATS and DoorDash in the US, but pretty much there's no visibility of the order. You'd order online, and they would just send the message to the restaurant, and they'd forget about the order. So you know, 20-30% of those orders never arrived, because the restaurant either didn't want to, and you'd have no visibility of what time it was coming and you would have no visibility of the courier, of course. So we built this UX to improve that, which is, I think, Glovo 2.0, which is actually the marketplace that we have today. And it's pretty much led by restaurants. We included stores and a lot of other things in the app, and people were ordering that but the main driver of the business's growth was restaurants. And we gave the customers a great UX. They'd order, they'd actually know what time we're going to deliver where they'd see the courier on the map. They'd know when the restaurant had dispatched the order. Everything was much better and guaranteed, and we could be on top of that. So that's, you know, how we evolved from almost a test stage MVP of a very simple product - which was telling us where to steer the company - to about a year and a half, a year and a quarter later to actually launch Glovo 2.0, which is the base of what it is today.
Tyler Norwood 17:19
Yeah, I love that. I mean the MVP, it sounds like you created an app, it had two buttons, and somebody would just, like, tell you anything in the entire world they wanted and you would on the back end just figure out how to get it to them. Like, hey, somebody just pinged us that they need a pack of cigarettes and here's where they're at. And did you guys just have a group of couriers that you had ready to go to take those orders sort of manually?
Sacha Michaud 17:48
Yeah. So we had couriers, and I remember we launched first in Barcelona. And it went quite well. And we didn't take very many months to actually launch in Madrid, which is the capital in Spain, it's a bigger city than Barcelona. And yeah, what we would do initially, it's pretty rudimentary - we would pretty much send the order to any courier in the area, and the first one to accept it would actually do the order. So that was quite simple. Now, obviously, we're building algorithms and we're detecting everything. But in those days, it was pretty simple. It would just go to pretty much all the couriers in the neighborhood, and then the first one to accept the order would get the order.
Tyler Norwood 18:28
And that was like existing courier infrastructure? Those courier companies already existed, and you're just tapping into them?
Sacha Michaud 18:36
No, no, we'd have freelance, we put ads online and couriers would sign up and explain how it worked. And then we'd have an onboarding where we explained a little bit about this is how the app works, these are the best hours to connect, you can probably estimate you're going to earn about this much the hour. And then we'd have couriers signing up and they'd do an onboarding. And then we try and minimally control that we had enough couriers in the evening when most of the orders were coming in through the restaurants - make sure we had enough. And you know, often we'd be saturated with orders and we didn't have enough couriers, and we'd go out and do orders. That was pretty typical. Not just us. I mean, the whole early team, be there, just getting getting orders done.
Tyler Norwood 19:23
Staying close to your customers, right.
Sacha Michaud 19:25
Tyler Norwood 19:27
And on that first... so that was sort of the first version of product. And you talked about - I mean, it sounds like you guys very quickly found organic growth, and viral loops of... I imagine there's tons of use cases where it's like, you're out at a bar with four friends and you order a pack of cigarettes and this guy shows up and gives it to you and your friends are like, oh my god, how did that happen? You're like, oh, Glovo, check it out. Right and there's like three new downloads right there.
Sacha Michaud 19:56
Yeah there was a bit of that wow moment. Yeah, you're right.
Tyler Norwood 20:01
Yeah like that magic. How did you get the flywheel started, like in terms of... how many customers did you feel like you guys had to go out and get on yourself before you started to see that, hey, customer acquisition is no longer an issue, there's enough organic growth that we can focus on other things like improving the product, courier capacity, etc.
Sacha Michaud 20:23
It sort of worked hand in hand. There wasn't really a moment, there wasn't really a goal where we said, we have to do this and that. I think the main, again, the game changer, as far as when we had a marketable product and where we could actually really start into driving growth happened when we launched the marketplace. Because there was a lot of... I mean, the app is great and it's super cool. And I think to have this power of: you have this app and its got a text box, you just have anything your cities - it's hugely powerful. It's much more powerful than having a menu and a list of stores actually. So it's like if Amazon tomorrow said just put in whatever you want, we'll get it to you.
Tyler Norwood 21:01
Just type to us what you want and we'll figure it out.
Sacha Michaud 21:03
Exactly. So that was good. But it had a lot of issues, right, a lot of cancellations, a lot of stores were closed, a lot of things we couldn't get. So there were issues there. So we didn't really feel we had a marketable product to actually push growth. But it was growing fairly quickly. So I think, once we had the marketplace, and we had the list of stores and restaurants in the app, that's when you can sort of guarantee at opening times you had a list of products, you had the price associated, and that's when you start push marketing and start driving driving growth.
Tyler Norwood 21:44
Yeah, so you kind of reined it in and cleaned up some of the unsuccessful order types from just letting people type in whatever they wanted. What were some of the most successful acquisition channels that you guys used in the beginning?
Sacha Michaud 21:57
In the very beginning, it depends on the market. We've gone from launching in Spain, we moved very quickly to Southern Europe, and then we're in Latin America and Eastern Europe and now in Africa. So we're in 25 countries. Often different channels work better in different regions, and different languages, and different cultures. But Facebook was driving a lot of the early growth. And you know, Facebook was a good channel, you could segment quite well, very visual. I think lately we've moved more to SEM and search and Google, and keywords and things like that. But I think in the beginning, there's a lot of power around Facebook's possibility of you know, using content and imagery. It worked quite well, and, you know, almost building community as well. When we launch new cities a little bit later on and we're starting building a playbook, offline works quite well in cities. Billboards and just making people aware. Also, if you see what we do on a billboard, or you see that image in your city, and then you see the courier with our yellow bag in the city, there's an automatic relation there that works quite well. So we've done quite a lot of offline for a tech company and an online company. We've got a playbook that generally works quite well with most cities, which is very much presence in the city. Then you back it on with acquisition, marketing online, and then our visibility of our yellow boxes in the streets also. It's probably our best marketing tool, by the way, the boxes. Because once you start getting a decent volume in the city, it's literally just seeing them every 5-10 minutes. That's an amazing marketing channel.
Tyler Norwood 23:49
Yeah, it's sort of top of mind, like, the next time you need something you're like Glovo, right? I see those boxes all over, I go on, I sign up, I get - like you said - nappies delivered or whatever it is that I need.
Sacha Michaud 24:02
We were very lucky with the color we chose. I mean, it wasn't really a planned... I mean, the color scheme we liked, but the yellow was actually more for security for the couriers so that the boxes would be seen more visibly and actually turned out to be very useful for the other one as well, which is actually very visible. And, you know, gives us a great awareness very, very much. In the countries and the cities where we operate.
Tyler Norwood 24:28
Yeah, that's awesome. So Sacha, I one thing that I lastly want to dive into is marketplaces. Now back seven and a half years ago two sided marketplaces were still relatively new. Now, it's like, every founder wants to build a two sided marketplace. I think the business model is sort of beat to death in a lot of cases where you don't necessarily need a two sided marketplace but one of the biggest challenges with the marketplace is obviously getting it started, right, and then balancing capacity on both sides. So like, you have two sides of the equation to balance, and for your particular use case, it's like, well, if it's not balanced, then we're not getting enough orders to pay couriers enough to stay on the platform. So then we're losing couriers, or if it's unbalanced, the other way, we're getting too many orders, and people aren't getting delivered, so they're not going to come back and order with us. How did you specifically approach making sure that you balance? How did you guys go about strategically making sure that you are on top of growing the two sides of the marketplace at the same time.
Sacha Michaud 25:41
So it was very clear that we needed to have supply, and suppliers in the couriers. We needed to have enough supply to cover orders. And initially, that often meant losing money. Often covering the cost of the couriers so they'd have enough orders. And that was key. So we chose that. We were very firm on that, and I think it was the right choice to make.
Tyler Norwood 26:08
So you guys subsidized the couriers?
Sacha Michaud 26:11
Especially at the beginning, until you get enough liquidity. And by the way, you know, we're actually a three sided marketplace. Now you have the customer ,who's the one who wants something and is actually paying. But we have the partner - we have to keep them happy as well. And then we have the courier, so it actually makes it even more complex, with all the other additional complexities of navigating through the city and traffic and rain. And so it's a tough business. And you know, it's one of those typical examples of if you knew all the problems in the beginning, you probably wouldn't have started. So just going back there: so we definitely focused on supply in the beginning, and made sure we have the hours covered and enough couriers to cover peak times above all. And then in the end, you may be losing money on every order, but in the end, once liquidity hits in and it works out then you can cover it. And then obviously, over time, you build much better technology, which actually can analyze and pre-decide what supply and demand is going to be needed in a given day, or given hour or given minute, and then we can base our supply and demand on that. But in the beginning, it was pretty manual, and very much financing the supply side of things, and losing money on every order. Which is not unusual for a lot of our competitors how they started.
Tyler Norwood 27:36
Yeah, yeah. And so subsidizing that side until you were able to get demand to a level where the couriers are getting a number of orders, and the system starts working. And did you... I'm sure Barcelona, Madrid were probably the two slowest to get up to liquidity. Did you start to see that as you launched - and plus one city, and your technology was getting better, and sort of your understanding of how to get a city up and running - you were able to get to full marketplace equilibrium faster and faster?
Sacha Michaud 28:08
Yeah, it depends on the city and everything. I think at the beginning, it was about getting traction, about knowing that we could continue the traction and have good quality of service. And then thirdly, obviously, that's why we're here is convincing investors that we're onto something and saying, look, continue financing this because we're growing the business, we have a road to profitability and it starts with unit economics on the orders actually making them profitable. So there's a road there and you define it. But in the early days, it's certainly not about being profitable, and making money through orders. It's much more about traction growth, getting that liquidity and that allows you to start using the different levers. You can do optimizing, shortening the distances. Getting more partners in the cities is a key one. It reduces distances. So if you start, you know, with five pizzerias in the city, well the distances to the customers are going to probably be very long. If you have 100 then all of a sudden the distances are shorter and you can start optimizing. Routes are shorter, it works out more economical for the customer. He can pay less of a delivery fee, he'll order more then because the delivery fee is either non-existent or virtually non-existent. The courier can make more orders per hour - obviously because the distance is shorter - make more money, and everyone's happy.
Tyler Norwood 29:30
Yeah, yeah. There you go. It's all so simple when you lay out like that, right? So just a last piece, Sacha, is I want to share your experience a bit with potential founders, existing founders, etc., in terms of how you guys approached capitalizing and financing this company. So obviously startup, you know, it required money to get off the ground, we talked about subsidizing the couriers, etc. What I'm really interested in is like, how did you guys strategize around financing? Did you just go out to the market when you had a certain amount of runway left? Or did you sort of segmented out to say, like, Okay, we're going to do a raise, and that's going to help us get to this inflection point, then that will be enough to go out and do the next raise. Like, talk me through - you're obviously a really experienced entrepreneur - talk me through a little bit of your strategy around properly capitalizing the company so that you could grow and get to the stage that you're at now. Maybe in the early stage, we don't have to go through all the long term vines in a company, but maybe the first two rounds?
Sacha Michaud 30:45
Well, the first two rounds will probably actually the easiest, because, we were showing this organic growth, and there's a bit of excitement around us. Media in Spain really loved us, for some reason, in the sense that I think it was the idea of getting anything, and that journalists would say, Wow, I've always wanted that. And so we got a bit of traction., and obviously the seed round was oversubscribed, which is when I met Oscar. And then we did another seed round, which was also quite oversubscribed. And that was fairly easy. In the sense, we were actually turning down a lot of investors, because it was very Spain focused as well, and probably wasn't that many projects with this much potential, I think at the time. Later on, when we started going international, that's when... you know, I'd love to say to you that we had this clear strategy, and we executed on it. But it was super difficult for us to convince international top level VCs that this small startup out of Spain - Spain hadn't had many unicorns then or anywhere near that, they hadn't had any great success stories from a tech perspective, you know. There's been no Spanish Googles, or there's been no Spanish Microsoft, there's been no Spanish Netflix. So there was a lot of lack of convincing of the big VCs who could write large checks and really give you the ambition to compete. Because by then, you know, you've got Uber in the space massively funded, you know, 10s and 10s and 10s of billions valuation and cash in the bank. We had incomes. We had Deliveroo, which was a UK embarking on Europe domination, and they were super well funded. You know, obviously, Just Eat Takeaway, which was just an older player. So there were a lot of big competitors out there, much bigger than us. And there was this feeling that actually this small company couldn't compete on that scale. So we had some tough times fundraising. So it wasn't so much about strategy, it was more about trying to convince the right VCs to invest and who had our ambition. And also another complex reason was a lot of investors didn't believe in this "anything" concept that we maintained. So all our competitors were just doing restaurant food. They were just focused. And we kept true to this - we believed that restaurant food could drive growth, but at the end of the day, having something that you could order anything in a city was a lot more sticky for customers. And if, what we talked about earlier, the wow moment doesn't happen with food, it happens with all the other things. So we get that and it was probably a relatively small percentage of the orders, but it was an important because it really made us a cooler app than our competitors. And we had some strong competition at home, where it's in Spain. A lot of a lot of money coming in from competitors, and we held out and you know, ended up leading the market here, and then Southern Europe. So pretty much every country we've been in, we've had to compete against much better funded, larger companies. And the way we've generally attained leadership, I don't like to say beat them, but the way we've attained leadership in most of our countries - pretty much 90% of the countries we're in we're market leader - is I think through being very local, and being much more flexible and dynamic than big corporations who run out of Silicon Valley or London, or who don't have that local focus and just trying to get a one size fits all type thing. We're definitely the contrary. We give a lot of ownership to the local teams. There's two ways I've known of building an international company. One is very headquarter centric. So you make a lot of decisions at headquarters and it's very scalable and maybe even more economically viable and less risk. And there's another one: we give local management, local teams very much a lot of ownership. And we decided on the second. And by the way, I'm not saying one is better than the other. I've been in companies where they've, they've had major success just being very headquarters driven.
And I think that was a major advantage for us. Because at the end of the day, we are a local company, we're in 1500 cities. Each city has its own issues in how it's framed the city, the demographics, the content, which stores and restaurants. And so the more local you are, and the more you can adapt, the better. And that's when you need good solid country managers, and they can build a local team to actually decide what's the best for that country and change the app accordingly. And I think that was one of our best decisions. Because there was that moment where you're saying, well, actually we don't want all these countries just going on doing their own thing, right? Who knows what's gonna happen? We had those debates about having more or less control. And luckily, we made the right decision, because I think it's clear that it gave us an advantage, just that localization. I mean, we're a company of cities, I like to call ourselves at the end of the day.
Tyler Norwood 36:24
I love that. And one thing I just want to call out is, I think it's a super valuable lesson, what you talked about where there's a lot of VCs who didn't like the "everything" aspect of the business. And I think one thing that I generally see with really successful founders is they are able to hold their ground with feedback from VCs. And with founders who don't necessarily make it or struggle, is they take every piece of feedback or everything that a VC doesn't like, and they go back and try to rebuild their business. There's no deeper set of values or set of truth for them to say, like, we're an everything business and this is why it's important to us being successful, and if a VC doesn't like that they're not the right VC for us. As opposed to like, we should switch because maybe we'll be able to raise more if we just do food. But then you said it's like, yeah, but then how are you competing with all these other guys. And so I really like that aspect of holding your ground and saying, no, there's a deeper reason, besides just raising venture capital that we do this one particular thing. For Glovo it was being everything, but for any company there's always something that it's like, ahh some VCs don't like this.
Sacha Michaud 37:44
And you've got to differentiate yourself from the competition in one way or another, right. And you can have flashy colors, and you can have a really cool app. But at the end of the day, if generally, you know, 80% or 70% of our customers are ordering restaurant food from the coolest restaurants in the city, most of those restaurants are probably on another app as well, right. So you've got to differentiate. And when your competitors have more marketing money to build their brand, then you've got to do something different. And it wasn't in the plan to do something different to get that - it was something we believed in. And a few years down the line, we have this thing called COVID that came along, which actually accelerated everything we believed in. And all of a sudden, groceries started skyrocketing - and we've been doing groceries from day one, 2015. And then all our competitors start actually the food delivery, and they say, we want to get into groceries. And then you have these on demand grocery startups as well all over the place popping up. So sort of validated what we've been doing from day one. And I'm a firm believer that I mean, we've got restaurant food, we've got groceries, but you know, retail is the next one. And in a few years time we'll be just thinking, you know, I can have anything in 30 minutes from my city, and all these retailers are really close to me. And there's a massive, massive opportunity, because, this thing we call quick commerce, I think is going to be the fastest segment of e-commerce in the next few years. Because you know, what used to be, we're happy to receive it in a week, now becomes 48 hours, 24 hours, now same day. But there's gonna be a percentage of things that we want in 30 minutes. And it's in your city, by the way. Most of the things we buy online, which is in a warehouse 1000s and 1000s of miles away, that product is already in your city. So not only is it more efficient to bring it to you from your city, but actually it's ecologically the best way of doing. I mean, shipping stuff out to large warehouses 1000s of miles away and shipping them back to the consumer makes absolutely no sense. It's going to be better for our planet that actually we can get things close by. So I really think there's a massive opportunity for retailers, and the big ecommerce companies can't compete with that. They can't because they don't have that product, literally,one kilometer or one mile away from the consumer. You know, that iPhone, that charger, that T-shirt. So I think that's going to be an amazing opportunity. And I'm really looking forward to because we're doing that, and we've been doing it. And obviously, we'll continue doing it because we believe in this, you know, give everyone easy access to anything.
Tyler Norwood 40:30
Yeah, exactly. And it's like the dream state in terms of consumer behavior, because you obviously have, well, I can pop down to the bodega and get something super fast, immediately. But there's not a lot of selection. Or I can go on Amazon, and I can order anything in the entire world, but I don't get it immediately. Right. And, you know, there is a way to bring us closer to having everything at our fingertips. Like you said, like, pretty much almost anything that you would want - if you're in a metropolitan, you're in Barcelona, you're in Madrid, Austin, Texas, New York City - it's somewhere in the city. But like a truck is driving it from a warehouse past all the existing skews in your city for it to be delivered to you, as opposed to optimizing the existing sort of distributed... if you think about retail space, as warehouse space as well, your paradigm changes completely.
Sacha Michaud 41:27
Yeah, totally. I think that's so true. I mean these high street stores will become a mix between places where people go in to buy, to go into look at a product, to go in to feel it, to go in to talk to the salesperson, and virtual warehouses where there'll be on apps like Glovo, they'll be on Shopify and probably Amazon. And they'll offer immediate delivery, and just get it straight away, and that's gonna be part of their business. And it's gonna be probably the fastest part of their business. And you know, there are big companies out there who will start indexing all those goods in the city, so they're actually visible to the consumer, which they're not today. They are partially in Glovo, of course, because our stores are there. But there's, 1000s, and 1000s, and millions of products in these large cities, what we just said, and very close to consumer.
Tyler Norwood 42:19
Yeah and all that data exists, right. Every Target, and Walmart, etc, like all that inventory down to the single unit exists. It's just that not being opened up to consumers. And building a model around that. I think it's also really interesting to look at... So like off of that paradigm, there are also interesting things happening. So there's a company called Hero, which was acquired by Klarna. And same that we're talking about, but more on the high end fashion side, they were saying, like, hey, there's a lot of high end fashion around you that we can ship directly from local stores. But, you know, if you're going to spend $300 on a jacket, or a pair of shoes, etc, you want more than just a picture. And so what it allows you to do is actually FaceTime into a sales rep on the floor of the store. And they would pick it up and turn it around, and try it on, show you what it looked like in the mirror, etc. So it's interesting, too, because what you're talking about not only massively increases the efficiency of global supply chain - better for the planet, everybody gets better service, it's cheaper, etc. - but as that becomes more and more possible, there's also like all of these interesting new businesses that can be built on top of it. So it's like, once the supply chain is there, there's lots of other problems in terms of marketing, and sales and customer service and everything that can be built on top of that. And so there's a whole new economy created.
Sacha Michaud 43:45
It gives retailers something they've been crying for, because they've been sort of left behind in this digital age that we've had the last few decades. It gives them an advantage. It gives them an advantage compared to all the other companies selling online, because these are the only ones today that can give it to you in 30 minutes. Nobody else can. And I think they've got a window of opportunity - it's probably gonna be a couple of years - where they're going to be in a unique position to use that competitive advantage of being close to the consumer. So hopefully, you know, we can be a little part of that.
Tyler Norwood 44:26
That part I think is just as important, right. I know personally - I think I'm sure that you see this as well - is like, over the last, let's call it five to 10 years, I think we've all realized that this utopia of our entire lives being on the internet at the cost of our local communities and thriving businesses in our neighborhoods and around us, etc, is not actually a utopia, right? Our quality of life depends on there being thriving businesses around us and in our community that people are able to make a living off of, but also add color and culture and a lot of intangibles to a specific neighborhood. You know, walk around and see thriving businesses in your neighborhood makes where you live better for everybody. And I think that's really cool.
Sacha Michaud 45:16
And cities and city councils have identified this, and you know, they're pushing local, small businesses, local stores, high street stores, as part of the community - fundamental part. That's why it doesn't mean it needs to be expensive technology, I think technology can give them this advantage of service. And it's also not just delivery - it could be pickup, it could be verification if they have the stock so I know and I'll just go around and pick it up. It's not necessarily around always delivery. It can be around a lot of other things that gives them visibility, and stops somebody just buying it in a warehouse that's maybe 1000s of miles away,
Tyler Norwood 45:57
Out in the middle of nowhere. Exactly. Well, Sacha this has been awesome. I really appreciate all the insights. I think this stuff is really, really valuable for founders out there. I particularly like kind of where you ended the conversation on vision and what you guys are continuing to pursue building for the world. So two questions that I like to ask everybody number one is: is there anybody you as a founder follow or see as somebody founders should really listen to? Like a thought leader that you have learned a lot from?
Sacha Michaud 46:31
There's a few. I mean, somebody for me, who has always been a reference - and obviously, I think for a lot of other people - and I've always admired as is Bill Gates. I think he's done a few things over time, but one: a lot of people don't remember, but you had Apple who had a much superior product - we're talking right at the beginning - and how Microsoft with probably worse software managed to grow integrating with all the PC makers, saying, I'll give you the software and you can integrate it. And they all of a sudden have 1000s and 1000s of partners selling their software, which allowed them to quickly compete - generally at lower costs - against a much better product, which was the Apple integrated software. Things have changed since then. And then Apple was about to go bankrupt, and Bill Gates put money from Microsoft to save the company. And he said, the world is a better place with Apple in it. And we all know what's happened since then, Apple's become the most valuable company in the world and everything. I mean, I think that it's not all about winning, there's a human side there. And then obviously, he knew when to get out at the right time and dedicate his life to better things. He's quite an inspiration.
Tyler Norwood 48:04
Anybody else? Any more tactical other founders that you really like or follow or cherish?
Sacha Michaud 48:11
I don't follow them as much, but I'm a huge fan - was from the beginning and still today - of Google. I think Google has managed to keep things so simple. In the essence of not overcomplicating things, the search engine is pretty much the same as it was 20 years ago, when they built the first version of Gmail, Maps. I don't know, they're an amazing company of simplicity, and how they built product on being as simple as possible, you know, for Dummies. And how they kept referring to where the companies are developing a lot more complex things. And, and I've been an admirer of their product development over time.
Tyler Norwood 48:59
Yeah. And then last question, Sacha, any books that you have found particularly useful as a founder?
Sacha Michaud 49:09
Tyler Norwood 50:33
Yeah, I love that. I think it's a good push. Well, Sacha, this has been great. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing all these insights and knowledge. I think it's really valuable to continue passing this stuff on. Sort of the oral tradition of entrepreneurship to the next generation of founders who are thinking about getting started or just getting started. And for all the experience all the way back to web 1.0. I do, by the way remember, Yahoo. Yahoo was like the first... I came after AOL.
Sacha Michaud 51:05
Okay. You look younger.
Tyler Norwood 51:10
So I only remember AOL as like a cultural artifact, like it was in movies and I remember that my parents had used it. But when I joined the internet, yeah, it was Yahoo. That was like the go to pre-Google. Yahoo was cool. Like, it was everyone's homepage, etc. But yeah, I mean, a lot of founders coming out now, Yahoo is a complete artifact. And you know, their whole world has existed within the Google ecosystem. But I really appreciate it. I think this is really valuable to just continue passing on. And also just humanizing that all these companies that we hear about on the news - and we see these tidbits about they raise money, they're doing this and that - show that like, there's real humans with real aspirations that want to create real change in the world. Like building these companies, it's just a bunch of humans that decided to build this, and that's what the company really is. And so I really appreciate you coming on. And I look forward to staying in touch. Keep me updated as how things go. And yeah, I think the vision you have is really exciting. And I'd love to stay in touch as you guys continue to grow.
Sacha Michaud 52;08
Yeah, thanks. Thanks, Tyler. And thanks for inviting me.
Tyler Norwood 52:11
Of course. Yeah. Thanks a lot Sacha. We'll talk soon.
Hey, everybody, it's Tyler again. Thanks a lot for listening to this episode, we really appreciate having you here. If you are interested in building your own company that raises venture capital, we'd love to help you. If you haven't heard about our founder studios across the world, you can learn more at www.antler.co
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