“The key to internationalize: test, observe, and act fast” Alexandre Fitussi – Country Manager of Glovo

NUMA Paris Scale Hub is NUMA’s new program to help non-French companies scale in the French market, in partnership with Station F.
This is the first of a series of articles about non-French startups who’ve decided to launch their products or services in France.

“Anything you want. Delivered in minutes” Glovo ’s slogan doesn’t need much explanation, does it?

This Spanish startup was founded in March 2015 by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud in Barcelona. Since then, they’ve raised $7,8M in 3 rounds, and have managed to keep a double-digit growth for the past 24 months. After a hyper-growth in Spain, the Barcelona-based startup decided to scale internationally in Italy and France.

Alexandre Fitussi is Glovo’s Country Manager in France. Graduate from HEC business school, he joined the startup in August 2016 after a few years working in investment banking and Uber in London.

Why France?

France was an obvious choice, as Paris is one of the largest cities in Europe, with a population that has a strong purchasing power. The on-demand delivery market is growing so rapidly here. Besides, Paris and Barcelona are very close and it is extremely convenient to move from one city to the other.

At the same time, we launched in Italy. This was interesting for us because it allowed us to make crucial observations and test different strategies in these new markets.

What was the first step when you arrived in France?

The most important thing when internationalizing is: test, observe and act fast. These steps are extremely important as they will be necessary to make the right decisions for further developments.

We know that every country has its specificities, and we needed to know what were French users’ behaviors, habits, etc.

So, what is specific about the French market?

Well, first of all, we observed that French users were ordering a lot of stuff from supermarkets. This was not the case in other markets. We decided to focus on this segment and signed a partnership with Franprix. This has helped us a lot in our growth.

We were also surprised to see that French users don’t make reviews. When they do it, it’s usually a bad review because something went wrong. But they rarely make good reviews when all went well.

Funnily, we also discovered new use cases that we hadn’t imagined. In Paris, there are many fancy restaurants which have huge queues to get in, because you can’t make bookings in advance. The most famous example is Big Mamma [which, by the way, will be opening a HUGE restaurant in Station F in a few months]: you queue, they put your name on a list and you come back one or two hours later. So, one day, someone asked a Glovo courier to queue for him. And then the guy just showed up without queuing. Now, we have Glovo couriers making queues instead of people all over Paris.

What were your biggest challenges in France?

Surely, it was recruitment. When you have such a small team, every person you recruit is extremely important. And making the bad decision can cost you a lot of time and money.

My first advice is to take your time. It’s better to take time during the recruitment to make sure you have the best person than to make a quick decision and regret it.

Having a network is also hugely important. It’s much easier to find a person fit for the job in your network because it’s usually people you can trust.

Another big concern was how to find couriers for the deliveries? On the one hand, if you have orders, but no one to make the deliveries, your startup will crash immediately. On the other hand, if you have plenty of couriers but no orders, they will let you down quickly.

So we decided to guarantee payments for the couriers during the first six months. Then, when the orders became more regular, we switched to a pay-per-delivery model.

What is a good team to start with?

Obviously, this will be specific to each industry and startup. But for us, in the delivery market, we needed an Operations Manager and a Fleet Manager. These were essential. Then , I recruited a Marketing Manager and Sales. We’re currently seven people and we’re looking for two other persons: in sales and in marketing.

What was the key moment for Glovo’s development in France?

We were contacted by the TV show Capital in December. They were making a film about delivery startups in France. When the show aired, mid-December 2016, the figures went crazy. It was a great opportunity for us.

What were the metrics when you started and what are they now?

When we launched in June 2016, it started slowly with a few friends’ orders. Word of mouth worked well and by September we had 20 deliveries per day. Now, we have 70,000 clients in Paris and we receive 1000 daily orders, so it’s growing really fast.

What is your goal for the upcoming months?

Today, the French market represents 5% of our total revenue. We want to make it 50% by next year! Ambition is the key to success.

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