A 26-year-old CEO borrowed this smart strategy from Uber to conquer new markets and help raise $340 million


Oscar Pierre Glovo

  • Oscar Pierre is the 26-year-old cofounder and CEO of Glovo, a delivery startup with a presence in 178 cities, across 23 countries.
  • The company has raised $340 million since it was founded in 2015 and Pierre says it borrowed part of its growth strategy from Uber.
  • Speaking to Business Insider, he said Glovo trains up young staff and sends teams of them out into new markets to launch the brand.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Oscar Pierre is the 26-year-old cofounder and CEO of Glovo, a Barcelona-based delivery app similar to Uber Eats. 

He stared down financial ruin to build the company into a major player in the crowded delivery market. Bloomberg said Glovo could be worth €650 million ($730 million), and the firm’s revenue jumped from €18 million ($20 million) in 2017 to €81 million ($91 million) last year.

Yet arguably the most striking fact about Glovo is that, despite being founded as recently as 2015, the company has a presence in 178 cities across 23 countries.

Speaking to Business Insider, Pierre says a particular strategy helped Glovo launch in as many countries as it has — and it was borrowed from Uber.

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to join the dots. The strategy was brought into the company by Niall Wass, Glovo’s current chairman and a former Uber senior vice president in the EMEA and Asia Pacific.

‘With our launching programme, we can enter lots of new countries in parallel’

“I think something that we did very well, which we learned from Uber, is that in order to go so fast, the most difficult thing about launching in a new country is hiring a team,” Pierre explains.

“That’s because you don’t have a brand; hiring takes a lot of time; being a country manager is usually a senior role and so requires good investment.

“So we created a programme of launchers. We hired lots of young people with maybe two or three years’ experience, and we trained them in Barcelona and, now we have a team of maybe seven, eight, nine launchers.

A Uber driver takes a client on a motorcycle in Hanoi, Vietnam November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

“After this training course in Barcelona, which is about two months, [the launchers] are the first ones to hit the ground. So we look at Croatia as a market to potentially enter, say, and once we’re convinced about Croatia, the launchers go and they do everything.

Read more: This 26-year-old stared down financial ruin to raise $340 million for his delivery app that’s now beating Uber and Deliveroo in huge markets

“They work on the admin; the hiring; the operations. So, with our launching programme, we can enter a lot of new countries in parallel.”

Pierre is especially heartened by recent launches into several large, yet relatively untapped markets.

Glovo has entered several underdeveloped markets

“Countries like Peru, Ukraine, Romania – they were all launched in the last 18 months, and they’re massive. They’re growing really, really fast,” he says.

“Now we’re starting to see how the sub-Saharan African countries, Kenya and the Ivory Coast, are starting to kick off as well. That’s very cool, because they’re very different countries. We launched in those countries around two months ago, so it’s still very early days. These new countries were launched in six weeks, more or less.”

Sacha Michaud and Oscar Pierre, co founders of delivery app Glovo

 He adds that his early experiences in South America and North Africa made Glovo’s recent launches easier.

“After going to Argentina, Peru, Egypt, we already had to adapt our technology so much,” he says. “We had to develop cash; we had a lot of fraud issues; and we fixed all that. So when we launched in the sub-Saharan countries, it wasn’t very different. We’ve learned so much, and I think we’ve managed to make an app that’s very adaptable to every city.”

SEE ALSO: The 26-year-old boss of a $730 million startup says young CEOs need this personality trait to manage older people successfully

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