We all know Glovo "The Spanish unicorn that has revolutionized the food delivery industry". What not everyone knows is that Glovo was about to die.
Glovo went through what happens to most startups: They designed and developed a feature that no one was using. Want to know how they solved it?
This is the story of Glovo.
The idea was born from Oscar Pierre, a young Catalan who grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. His father was an entrepreneur, his grandfather was an entrepreneur, and even his great-great-grandmother... well, I think you get the picture.Pablo Pierre Zwilling was the first of the Pierre family to arrive in Catalonia where he set up a textile factory that became a market leader.
But back to Oscar. After all, this is the story of Glovo, this is the story of Glovo.
Before Glovo, Oscar was studying aeronautical engineering at the UPC in Barcelona. One summer, he decided to travel and tour Africa by bicycle with his girlfriend, Elena. That trip was a before and after in his life.
When he returned to Spain, he decided to create his first project: Zikkomo (meaning "thank you" in Chichewa). Chichewa) an NGO to help finance the education of children in Malawi and Kenya.
But Oscar was never one to stand still.
In 2012 he made the decision to move to the U.S. and continue his studies at Georgia Techthe technological university in Atlanta. While living in the U.S., Oscar discovers Ubera startup that at that time had been on the market for 3 years.
He was fascinated.
He had that aha-moment that led him to think night and day about creating an app that would allow us to save the most precious asset we have: time.
In 2013 Oscar returns to Spain and starts working as an intern at AIRBUS, where he would spend the last 6 months of his "first life".
In September 2014, its "second life" began.
Oscar created Glovo with his partner Marta Ripoll. However, she soon left the startup.
The reason? I didn't find much information about Marta, only a note from The Confidential where she says she didn't want to dedicate herself full time and decided to sell her share four months later.
Oscar, on the other hand, was well aware of the impact Glovo could have. That's why he went out looking for investment. When he arrived at Josep Sanfeliuan angel investor very close to the Pierre family, he had no difficulty raising the first 100,000 euros.
With the money in place, he decided to apply for the accelerator program at ConectorCarlos Blanco's accelerator program, where he would meet Sacha Michaudwho helped him to complete the initial round of 120,000 euros and became a founding partner of Glovo.
The value proposition was clear:
"Ask for anything you want and we'll fly it to you."
When you opened the app, this caption appeared followed by a text box.
However, this did not work out as they expected....
Oscar himself tells why Ask Whatever You Want didn't work:
"We were testing it for six months and it worked much more on press, than on users. People were not using it. It was one of the moments we were about to die when we saw that the growth charts were very bad."
People felt overwhelmed by so much freedom of choice.
Based on feedback from their first users, they decided it was time to modify their value proposition and focus on their biggest competitive advantage: infinite store selection.
Instead of giving you a blank text box, they divided the screen into three or four main categories and added the top stores in each category.
"The more quality stores you have in your app, the more confidence you give the user.
"The challenge was clear: to close as many deals with suppliers as possible to present a selection of at least 10 top stores per category.
In December 2015, Glovo receives a €2M seed investment.
Oscar contacted Gonzalo Álvarez (ex-Groupalia) and convinced him to join Glovo to face this ambitious challenge.
One of the most ingenious hacks they performed was to create fake logos without permission from the stores.
This avoided going to close deals with each one of them. Very Lean Startup mentality.
"We started creating fake stores without their permission, or sending an email saying they had been selected as one of the best restaurants and we had created a store for them in the app. 9 out of 10 replied 'OK'."
The end user was not aware of it. They saw some fries next to a hamburger on a yellow and red background, and it was clear that they were ordering from McDonalds.
The hack worked. Sales skyrocketed.
In January 2016, Glovo had a turnover of +260,00 euros and more than 200,000 active users in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.
"The key was having so much supply versus the competition that I had to come to agreements with each restaurant."
In March 2016, they landed in Milan with the purchase of Foodinho and, just three months later, they also landed in Paris.
In August of the same year they raised 5M€ in their Series A and decided to expand to other cities in Spain: Malaga, Zaragoza and Seville.
These were the golden years in the food delivery industry and Oscar Pierre knew it.
Glovo was the novelty and it was a success. In October 2017, they raised a €30M Series B. It was time to cross the pond: Glovo made a strategic alliance with Cabify and officially landed in its first country in Latin America: Chile.
In January 2018, during a hot Latin summer, Glovo lands in Argentina and the city of Buenos Aires becomes the headquarters for the region.
During that year, the company did nothing but grow and grow. In 2019 Glovo reached a valuation of $1 billion and became the second Spanish unicorn.
Oscar was entering the hall of fame of entrepreneurs. However, Glovo's fate in Latin America was not so promising.
In September 2020, Glovo announced the closure of operations in Latin America to expand its market in Europe and Africa.
They decide to sell their operations in Latam a Delivery Hero, the German company that also owns Pedidos Ya, for 272 million 272 million dollars.
In October, Glovo leaves Argentina through the back door.
Delivery Hero took 80% of the company. And they were determined to go for more... In December 2021, the Germans announced the purchase of 94% of Glovo, which was completed six months later, in July 2022.