With an ambitious 27-year-old boss and a growing army of computer engineers, Spanish start-up Glovo pursues international growth by expanding beyond food supplies, despite criticism of its drivers ‘ working conditions.
Four years ago Oscar Pierre left his first job at Airbus, the largest aerospace group in Europe, after just three months in Toulouse in southwestern France.
TodayGlovo’s co-founder and CEO, an on-demand courier service company, oversees 1,500 staff in 26 countries, half of them in his home town of Barcelona where the firm has its headquarters.
“I was looking for a different rhythm,” said AFP, the slim former aeronautical engineer from a family of entrepreneurs, explaining that he found the aeronautics industry “a bit slow.”
There are several yellow backpacks at the entrance to Glovo’s headquarters that are used by the company’s 50,000 drivers to distribute restaurant meals by bicycle or motorcycle to homes in 288 cities around the world, as well as diapers, medication, flowers and other products.
Because unlike its competitors Deliveroo and UberEats, Glovo is not only providing food. “Buy what you’d like,” the app tells its clients.
In Spain, Italy and Portugal, Glovo is already making money and Pierre expects the business as a whole to be profitable “in 18 months.”
The strategy of the organization involves concentrating on regions where it faces less competition than in western Europe, such as Latin America, Russia, Morocco and the Ivory Coast.
It wants to speed up delivery times by using hundreds of engineers cooked algorithms and to do this Glovo plans to hire 300 new staff for its IT team by 2020.
Meal deliveries account for three-quarters of Glovo’s sales, but “we like to think food is the beginning of something much bigger,” just as Amazon began selling books, Pierre said.
Glovo already has seven so-called “shadow supermarkets,” distribution centers packed with non-public goods where its drivers can pick up items and plans to open 100 by 2021.
The aim is to ensure that deliveries are completed within 15 minutes.
Finally, the Glovo app could be used to make restaurant reservations, purchase movie tickets or hire services to fix the house.