Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#52: Eugene Lee Chief Operating Officer of GOGOVAN

August 15, 2019 Season 1 Episode 52
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#52: Eugene Lee Chief Operating Officer of GOGOVAN
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#52: Eugene Lee Chief Operating Officer of GOGOVAN
Aug 15, 2019 Season 1 Episode 52
Radu Palamariu
GoGoVan is Asia's leading on-demand logistic, transportation service provider.
Show Notes Transcript

GoGoVan is Asia's leading on-demand logistic, transportation service provider. Eugene is taking care of the company's direction and strategy, overall planning, execution and management, global expansion and development and mergers and acquisitions.

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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I'm your host, Riley Palomar, you managing director of welcome global. Our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry. And it's my pleasure to have with us today. Eugene Lee. Eugene is the chief operating officer for Google Ventures, which is the Asia's leading on demand logistics transportation service provider. They have over 70,000 registered drivers across Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, India, and of course China. They are aggressively expanding across the region and the aim to dominate these fast and growing last mile logistics sector. The company is currently valuated at over $1 billion and has raised a total of $276 million so far. Eugene is obviously the chief operations officer and taking care of the company's directions and strategy, overall planning, execution and management, global expansion and development as well as mergers and acquisitions. Eugene, welcome and thanks for taking the time to be here with us today. Pleasure is ours. So mine rather I knew. Um, and I'd like to start with the question, a bit of a personal question about your story. Cause you have a very interesting, you've had a very interesting career. You've, you've, um, come from HP, then you moved into the advertising space and, and media space. You've had your own company and now with Gogo vend. Tell us a little bit about your, you know, your background.
Speaker 2:
1:26
Yeah. It's um, as you said, I've been, uh, in the startup entrepreneurial space for 20 years now. Uh, I started my career and Ula packet spent about nine years day between that a year and Nokia, uh, so back in 1999 got the, uh, entrepreneurial bug, if you wanna call it, uh, the first wave of Internet, 1.0, uh, lab HP started a company in the CRM. Uh, no, just a CRM space that, that, um, of course, if you rewind history to the zero one, the bubble burst, uh, of course we were funded, but that said, we had to quickly, you know, make a profit survive, which we did. Uh, fast forward with Trump. We divested the company in two zero zero seven and since then, since then I've been in fewer startups. Um, and of course recently, uh, with Google van as the COO of the company.
Speaker 1:
2:28
How did you, I'm fascinated, how did you transition from, cause you were in, in, in media advertising at the time, right? How did you find [inaudible] or how did they find you? Good question. In
Speaker 2:
2:39
Radu. Um, cause I've been in a space for the startup space for, for quite a while now. Yeah. Um, 20 years. Um, it all started with, uh, investors and angel investors of them. I have known in the industry, in, in the countries that I've operated in, uh, which are also, uh, investors in a Google van. So one meeting, you know, led to the next and they thought with my experience running the region, uh, I could be of help to Google van. Um, and about four and a half years ago we had some discussions and we thought it was the right fit, uh, to bring Google when the next level of growth and expansion. Uh, so that's how it all started. And for an obvious later, uh, we're still here and growing. Uh, so it's been a pleasure, uh, myself working with the company and making it, uh, you know, the Unicorn as we are today.
Speaker 1:
3:30
And obviously the start, the bug is still the n ingrained in your veins. So that's, that's always good. Um, and tell us a little bit about the Gogo event. So, um, it's, it's a, it's a, it's grown tremendously in the last years. Um, you have, um, you have developed to, to include loads of drivers everywhere and you also have, I think you also have now delivery trials in, in four mainland China cities for the Alibaba and Kinyarwanda Network, uh, the, the logistics arm of e-commerce of Alibaba. Tell us a little bit about also your Alibaba, I think invested in, in you guys, if I'm not mistaken. How's your collaboration also with Alibaba and how
Speaker 2:
4:10
has that maybe also helped you be where you are today? A good question. Ready? Where are we today? Uh, con Alibaba in China now, which is the, the, the, the logistic arm of Alibaba as our shareholders. Uh, they've been our shareholders for a while now and late last year, uh, because of some of the requirements of, uh, some of the major cities in China requires, uh, electronic vehicles, electronic trucks specifically, uh, to be plying the cities, uh, in the near distant future. They put it in as a, as a, uh, as a law now. So we did, uh, we are right currently in co, uh, working with China and Alibaba to implement the electronic traps, uh, vehicles into those cities. Um, uh, because at some point in time in the next several years and each city is a bit different in timing, there will be a legal requirement for, for us to deliver, uh, and operate in the city center itself. We will have to be, uh, plying with, uh, uh, electronic vehicles.
Speaker 1:
5:18
And, and to the point with, um, so this, this electric cars, trucks, events specifically for, for, for Google then, um, is a big trend and it's coming in a big way all over the world. And obviously China I think is also playing a big part in pushing it. Um, but also I wanted to kind of ask you in terms of maybe let's go to the model, cause I realized that I jumped into the question with Alibaba, but let's just go to the model. So explain it simply for the, for some of the listeners may not know what is, what is Gogo? Vinny very simply put, it was the model of global event simplistic
Speaker 2:
5:56
simply we are a
Speaker 1:
5:58
Uber for logistics is a platform business. We crowd source our drivers. Uh, we have an app, a web app and API solution depending on the sectors of customers to go after. So in a nutshell Redu we are a, uh, for the listeners, uh, we are the Uber for logistics [inaudible] and, um, there was a question, um, and I, this came from a, from a shipper perspective and then from, from somebody that works for a large manufacturing organization. Um, and, and he was wondering when you have so many drivers and when he's a platforms, a platform like, like yours, how do you ensure process consistency? Uh, because obviously you kind of have to rely that the driver will be where he says that he or she will say that they will be. How do you ensure that process consistency over the, over the platform?
Speaker 2:
6:50
Um, the, in the sharing spaces, not just in our space, in all sharing space that is, uh, currently in the market today. I think consistency is, it's, it's the key critical success factor, whether it's a, uh, office sharing space or apartment sharing space and so forth. So, so the consistency is always a challenge. And the challenge is because you optimally don't own the asset class that you manage. So for us, um, we, we take driver training, um, very seriously, uh, intro. When drivers come and enroll on our platform, uh, they do have to attend a class and we take that class and training very seriously. Secondly, um, the, the feedback loop from our customers is also very important. Uh, we, we wouldn't say we have 100% of our drivers, uh, been FiveStars. There are drivers who don't do a good job and true the feedback mechanism from a users. Uh, we read them out and until the improve and are consistent and performing accordingly to the requirements, uh, we put them out on a platform. Um, and, and last but not least, really, it's, it's, um, uh, uh, training is important and we bring them back even though they are very good to the, to the center, to the offices to make sure we communicate, uh, over and over again, uh, the requirements and the, uh, expectations when you do a service on our platform.
Speaker 1:
8:15
Um, relate regarding the ownership of the assets. And we spoke a little bit about source, about electric vans. Do you also have, do you also own some of the events or is it's all owned by the drivers?
Speaker 2:
8:28
Today? We are pure crowd source. Uh, we do, uh, if you are in the countries we operate in and you see a Gogo van van that's wrapped in our brand, uh, we don't own them. And as part of a marketing arrangement, we have, uh, with our drivers. Uh, but we don't own, we're a pure asset like company today.
Speaker 1:
8:49
MMM. And, and when the, uh, push on for the electric vans will, will come in a few in, uh, in the near, uh, do you think this, this will also work as it is or, or will there be an adjustment a little bit in the model because I'm assuming,
Speaker 2:
9:02
and I might be wrong, but, um, I don't know if you've drivers will go electric that fast or how fast they will basically embrace the trends. Good question. I, I think electric vehicles today, we look at a price stack is still generally higher than a a, uh, carbon combustion engine. So with that initiative, uh, we are setting up a, a, a partnership of Sot, uh, with the related parties, which I can't disclose right now where we will work with them on providing a quite a set right, like in the right amount of asset, uh, to, to provide the, uh, initial, um, ticket price, which is quite high, uh, for drivers to adopt, um, uh, electronic trucks, uh, as we roll this out in those various countries in China. And I wanted also to bring the discussion to, um,
Speaker 1:
9:57
the fact that part of the reason why you've been extremely successful is also the margin that you've had with the night. And I hope I'm pronouncing it correctly. 58, Sweden. Yes. Yep. So, which was a, which was a fellow logistics on demand platform in China and new merged. Um, tell us a little bit how did that go? Cause usually mergers and acquisitions
Speaker 2:
10:16
are, are tricky. And, um, and what were some of the challenges and how did you solve them? I think is a story that a lot of listeners would love to hear. Yes, mergers are always challenging as history f, uh, shown and articulated in, in many examples. Um, we, we merge with two past two in, uh, two zero, one seven August. So it's little as more than a year and a half ago. Uh, it was a decision we made, uh, cognitively, uh, because we were, of course, they were very, uh, very China focus and, and relatively successful, uh, in China. We were of course in China, ourselves and in other parts of Asia, third, the region. So instead of competing, uh, hates on in China, just huge market and expensive market. Uh, we thought a would be a good decision on both sides to come together. So together, uh, we will take on a China market and for the group now, then I think we have more resources, uh, to go after the rest of the region.
Speaker 2:
11:18
Um, it's been a good marriage so far. Uh, I wouldn't say it's 100%, uh, to be called candidate, but it's been good. Uh, the challenges I think we face are, uh, primarily on a technical side. Uh, they have a big technical team and so do we. Uh, the platform where we came together was a little bit different in terms of architecture, uh, Saas quotes and stuff. So trying to merge that was a, it's still continued to be a, I wouldn't say a without challenges. So that continues to be a big, uh, challenge for us moving forward. How do we maximize our technical resources and knowhow? Uh, that said, um, if you at, uh, we, in fact we run two brands. So we, we run, um, Piko Tacia which is the brand we have in China now and we run Google van outside China. So, so from that standpoint, we are very cognizant that the logistic last mile especially, uh, is a very global local business. So we run two brands today as a company. Uh, though we're working actively on integrating the technology and maximizing some of the efficiency that we can bring together as a group. [inaudible]
Speaker 1:
12:22
I'd love to also ask you about culture because when you, when you merge the two companies together, systems for sure are different to integrate, but much more integral, difficult integrate is the culture of the two organizations and putting the people together. How did that work out and what were some of the steps that you took to maybe as a group ensure that there's consistency or of culture and teamwork?
Speaker 2:
12:46
Um, we're not new to China as a company prior to the merger. I do, we do operate in China. So we are familiar with, uh, the Chinese culture, the people, the dynamics. So it's [inaudible]
Speaker 1:
12:56
I mean the culture of the organizations, not the, not the culture of China. So for example, the culture of Google van and the culture of,
Speaker 2:
13:04
yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so I'm trying to say reducer. We're not unfamiliar with the, with the fact that we do operate in China prior to that. So we do understand the, the local culture inklings and so forth. Right. So today, uh, we do spend a lot of time, effort and money, uh, on making sure that the communication is transparent. Um, everybody's on the same page and, uh, it's a continue to effort on outside to, to, to make sure there's consistency, culturally aligned. Uh, you know, um, when we say yes, it means yes, you may say no, it means no and no really no re reading between the lines. Uh, and trust is important in any integration, I think until you get to a fundamental about level of trust on both sides. Um, uh, you know, is, is a work in progress. But, but that said, I think we've been pleased with the, uh, the merger so far and we continue to grow, uh, as a group. Um, and as I said to you earlier, the biggest challenge on a daily basis as you a pony ride out is of course technical as you said earlier. And this whole, uh, uh, cultural integration, which over the last 18 some months, uh, has been proving to be quite positive. We are again, continue to spend effort and time on this particular matter. But so far I would say the marriage has been, uh, been good, heavy.
Speaker 1:
14:22
Um, maybe let's, let's take some example of should they call them corporate clients? What do I mean by that? So we are now today in Singapore as we are recording the podcast. I recently went to Ikea, the furniture shop and when you check out the viekira there, there's Google, then there is the main option to transport your stuff, uh, at home so that you can, in Singapore currently I think they don't even have their own delivery. It's all done through Google end if I'm not mistaken. So they are happy partner for, for you
Speaker 2:
14:52
guys. Tell us maybe one or two examples of, of corporate clients, if I may call them like this, that use your services and how you are helping them improve their, let's say last mile operations. Yeah. Uh, maybe a bit of back step here. Uh, in terms of our customer segments [inaudible] we primarily have three, uh, customer segments. Uh, one being a consumer segment who places the, the order on an app, uh, not different from taking an Uber or a grab. In the case of Singapore, uh, the, the other segment is small, medium enterprises, uh, small companies who uses us, um, to ship stuff, jazz, flower cakes, flowers and so forth. And the third sectors, um, the third sector of our, our mapper segment is the enterprises. So, so logistic is primarily a B to B business. Uh, the, the first part, uh, consumers using assets is a growing part of our business, but not a big part of our business.
Speaker 2:
15:50
We don't think that will ever be a big part of our business. [inaudible] and the carpets are in fact growing nicely for us. If you look at the K I is primarily a a B to B to c in a college. We help [inaudible] fulfill the, our customer promise that, you know, you buy something from, we care. Uh, you should be able to bring it home in the evening, you know, assemble your, your bed, your chair, and, and, and enjoy the product. Right. Um, other clients that we have on the enterprise side includes, uh, quite a few actually. Uh, we do quite a bit across the region for other logistic companies. Uh, we come to people like a FedEx, uh, as our client. We went, uh, count, um, many government, the Hong Kong government for example, Hong Kong posts for example, actually outsourced at leverage to us as well.
Speaker 2:
16:40
Um, on the enterprise side, I think, uh, many enterprises are realizing, uh, efficiency's important. If you look at, uh, people who in the enterprise side, if you're on your own fleet of trucks or vans or lorries, um, they are not, you know, utilize more than depending on companies, 60, 70% of the time. And that's pretty high already. Most of them are sub that. Uh, so I think when you start seeing, uh, opportunities like as a crop source platform that could one day provide with you five trucks or the next day private have 50 trucks come Christmas or black Friday or any of your promotion that you have, we as a crowd platform, uh, solution, uh, uh, is able to help you in your peak time or your trough time. Right? So the whole flexibility, I think that's where the enterprise sees is a lot of benefit to them and the ability to do that, uh, effectively also to, to meet our customer needs. Uh, I wanted to ask you,
Speaker 1:
17:42
considering, uh, let's, let's take a, this is more of a thought that came now into my mind as you were sharing. Let's take customer like, I dunno, apple or hallway or you know, large, large manufacturer. They would have very specific requirements for safety compliance. Obviously the, the products can be quite high in value as well. Um, not to say that that doesn't apply to you care, but I'm just saying that it's a slightly different level of complexity. Um, are you also planning to, or are you already doing the clients like that, uh, in your portfolio at the moment?
Speaker 2:
18:19
Yes. In fact, we talk about the names. You mentioned a, we actually ship extensively for [inaudible], which is the other, um, uh, smartphone manufacturer, uh, in, in, in Taiwan actually. We shipped them extensively quite extensively. Um, so, so I think a lot of you will look at, if you look at the supply chain or you look at delivery, uh, as, as a, uh, a space, uh, the whole on demand, um, requirements is, is driving a lot of this enterprises having to fulfill a product or delivery same day or within two hours. You know, you look at Mr Amazon, uh, is a two hour delivery. And I think if the Mr Amazon is doing that at two hours, I think everybody to some extent has to follow. Otherwise you'll lose your customers. Right? So I think the whole idea, the trend of, of on demand fulfillment, um, last mile, uh, is driving a lot of our growth.
Speaker 2:
19:16
Um, so not only from, um, hardware manufacturers, the names you mentioned, but the all sectors, uh, if you are buying a cake today, you know, in a positive two audio cake three days in advance, um, with the comma current consumer psychology, you're not going to order three days in advance, you know, all the same day and in the morning and expect that tech to be delivered to you on a same day. Um, I think the whole psychic of consumerism, uh, you know, you could be because of Amazon or other people in the same industry. Uh, and the whole psychology of, of, of the now consumerism, you know, everything's on demand from, from coffee to food to, to entertainment. You know, I think that whole psychology of consumerism is driving a lot about demand and growth
Speaker 1:
20:04
for good and for bad because, um, yeah, talk about [inaudible]. I recently had an experience with one of, uh, one of my friends who had a birthday party for them, uh, for his daughter. And well, let's, let's just say that the cake was slightly damaged when it arrived. So I'd actually, I won this links to the question. We actually had a question which, which goes along the lines of, um, what happens in this situation if there's lost or damaged goods, is, you know, goods, um, uh, these goods would be covered by, by you guys as global. Then who would you know, who would, uh, who would Calgary, what would happen in that event? Because I'm sure that, you know, things can happen. It happened.
Speaker 2:
20:41
Yes, it's again, uh, you, let me, let me take a step back. Um, and to answer that question, right. Um, if you had used ups to deliver it, if you had used any of this branded, uh, logistic companies to deliver it, do you ask the question, who covers it? If it's damaged? Very good coin, right? Um, that said, uh, you go and read the fine prints of your shipment delivered by any of this traditional logistic companies, uh, branded or otherwise, uh, there is limited liability, right? So there is not like if you use one of those branded logistic companies, you know, if you ship, um, you know, a diamond, they will reimburse a $10,000. If it gets lost or damaged. Um, they all have limited liabilities. You just don't read the fine prints. Right. Uh, just because we are a crowd source company, people questioned that.
Speaker 2:
21:37
Right? Well, if a crowd source, you're not all those brand guys too, who takes care of the liability visit [inaudible]. Right, exactly. Right. And by the way, it has happened even for the Brendan guys. Yeah. Um, so for us, uh, yes. Uh, as a platform, uh, the first, um, and the first line of liability falls and a driver right now that said been a platform which we are a fair platform, right? Uh, we also, uh, if the, if for whatever reason goods are damaged and, and it's no particular fault for either the driver or in the process of delivery as a platform, we do cover, uh, we do take care of certain liabilities in Singapore's cases, a maximum of $200, um, which recovered. Right? Um, yeah. So, so yes. So, so yes, the first line of defense would be the driver's liability. If there's no call, no fault of anybody else.
Speaker 2:
22:30
The platform being a good company like us, we would cover a liability of maximum of $200. And that's about by the way, um, about the same as any of these brands. I love just the companies. I'm going to name who, but if you ever go their web page and scroll down liability, you find that we are probably more than a cover. We are covering our liability coverage. It's probably more than just, but anyways. Yeah, I think, I think people ask that question because you know, when you crowd source like we do all right, uh, um, the whole liability becomes more of a concern than otherwise. Yes.
Speaker 1:
23:09
I mean it, it, it also, people have gotten burdened. So I think, um, I think that burnt in a sense that all things, all kind of things happen. But also, I mean it's, it's a little bit, if I may use this, the analogy which may or may not be, um, let's say so close, but initially when the cloud was, was coming up in and everybody was like talking about putting everything in the cloud, a lot of it departments, I guess it's safe and still, I think even today the safety question is still there. Right? Yeah.
Speaker 2:
23:36
But
Speaker 1:
23:38
if any of the big companies, IBM, oracle or whatever have something happens with their security, their share market and stock price will go tumbling down, it's much more likely that they're going to have all the security in place. Then you know, let's say the x, y, zed, um, company's smallest smallest to me. Right? So in, in some ways in my mind it's a little bit similar, but I think it's also normal that in the human psychic we have that kind of concern of fear or, um, rightly so. Yes. Rightly so. Um, I wanted also to bring the discussion to this question that I found very good from one of our listeners who asked, are there any cost effective strategy strategies that you are using in order to mitigate your cost of transportation? Because obviously if you deliver one item per trip or versus if you deliver three or I don't know, maybe you do batching, maybe you do other things. Are there certain strategies that you use in order to keep your costs lower and maybe increase your profitability?
Speaker 2:
24:36
Yes. Um, but just sticks is primarily a, a a price game. Uh, when I say price game, you can, you have the delivery logistics last mile out miles, uh, in a cost effective way for us today we focus on interested in within the city point of point, right? A distance space. Um, there are uh, plans in place to um, consolidate on the move real time. When I say that right, do what does it mean? So basically, um, again, this is development, uh, in the making [inaudible] we should have some time then next a year or so if you are going from point a to point B, uh, drivers [inaudible] sending some, a parcel from point a to point B and along the way, uh, along the way in the same direction, uh, there's a pickup, uh, for another parcel in the same direction, in the same timeframe. Um, the, the algorithm we are designing would enable that driver to stop at that midpoint, collect the parcel at a lower rate because now it's growing, consolidating on the fly, right? Real time. I think that's where I think would be a big, big, uh, changed, uh, in terms of price competitiveness and affordability, uh, of logistics and efficiency of logistics. Um, is it possible and says, yes, uh, it requires some development on our end as a platform, um, algorithm and our, and on a platform. But is it possible and CCS
Speaker 1:
26:16
cause, um, that, that definitely will be a game changer for sure. And it also comes with volumes. I mean, the more volumes you get, the more clients you get, the more heat maps you get, the more likely that you can do the, this kind of bat batching or you know, kind of on, on the, on the way consolidation. Um,
Speaker 1:
26:37
and I want to ask this kind of, so many people ask this question, especially with, with startups like yourselves, right? Which are the best, the phrase, right? Burning money or, or um, you know, some people go the burning money, some people calling developing fast, right? Depends on how, how we side of the story you sit. Um, and then you have the oh, um, conservative or established models where it's very much focused on how much money are you currently making and make sure you make the profit. Right. So there's, there's a little bit of a different type of mindset. How are you planning or do you have a, and how important is it for you guys to, to, to turn to profitability quickly? Or how do you think it's more like maybe the question is, and I'm formulating the question as I go a little bit, but how do you think about these things, right? In terms of profitability versus achieving scale versus, um,
Speaker 2:
27:26
obviously the international expansion that you want? Yeah, I think you mention about this burning and buying market share. Um, I think that's very true. Uh, especially I think in the, the, the right sharing space, um, um, the likes of Uber and Lyft, which are listed and their financials are public. Um, I think we should make a distinct distinction between ride sharing and, and logistic crop sharing like, like us, um, in the ride sharing space, um, you are in, in many expend, uh, to, to large extent even, you know, I'm a beneficiary of it, you know, the, the tro discount that you, the troll rebates to the driver to really get you the change of behavior. Right? And that's how the whole customer acquisition and stuff, I think with logistics, um, it, it doesn't mean that if I give you a discount for 20% a Ragu, that you will move your chair.
Speaker 2:
28:30
They sitting on today because if there's no need to move the chair, you won't move the chair, even though it's free. So in our space, it's a mission critical business. Um, our marketing cost of acquisition is, it's, it's a dime to what the other guys are, ride sharing, guys are spending. So in a mission, mission critical business in logistics, um, our, we, we don't spend as much, um, in fact very little compared to to the, the right sharing guys out there in terms of customer acquisition, um, and change management, right? It's much more than awareness of the customers that we have today that you could use on demand. So, so it's a big distinction. We don't, I would say as a group, we have a positive GP. So we do make revenue, um, on, on the rights, uh, because we don't throw discounts like the other guys do.
Speaker 2:
29:30
So from that standpoint, it is, I believe, uh, a, and the model is a little bit more solid because it's a mission critical business. You're just driving efficiency to that, right? As group, we are not profitable because we are still in expansion phase. I'm going to new cities and new countries, uh, every time I go into a new location, uh, as you create an ecosystem, the demand and supply side you do require, you are required to spend money right now, awareness, preference, uh, recruitment of drivers and so forth. But on an once it's up and running, um, our gross profit I think is quite decent. Right? Cause we're not giving back to the consumers to the asset class, uh, more than we're charging. Yes. Yep.
Speaker 1:
30:20
So basically, yeah, basically your costs are much more towards, uh, setting it up, um, attracting the drivers initially to the platform and then obviously also making, uh, the audience or your clients aware that hey, there's this app that you can now use instead of going and booking, um, your own trucks or whatever they might be using. Um, so thanks for clarifying that. I wanted also to ask you, you are in, in expansion mode, you probably would qualify for what is called the hyper scaling startup new grown tremendously. What are some of the biggest challenges? And you're the CEO, right? So what are some of the biggest challenges from an operation perspective that you have today in terms of continuing this fast paced growth?
Speaker 2:
31:05
Yeah, I think we continue to grow. We've just expanded into Vietnam who achievement, uh, this year. Um, so, so, uh, our challenges are really a few things. One, um, unlike the, the ride sharing space, um, which I think from a process standpoint, from taking a taxi for example, is quite universal in a process of technical tax is very universal. Where versus I think in the logistics space, especially in the last mile, um, understanding the markets is very important for us. Uh, the nuances, the processes, the expectation. It's very important for us. So before we go into a particular market, we spent probably three to six months to understand that last mile market, which is very different for each country. Um, different asset class, trivial in some countries. Um, you know, 20 year old trucks in some countries and you don't find that in Singapore. Um, and understanding the customer expectation, right.
Speaker 2:
32:06
Uh, so, so I think making sure we understand the market is important and having the PR, the appropriate resources and processes in place that's consistent is important. So once you understand the market, put in place the resources and the processes and make sure that those are consistent with the market needs, um, and last but not is really high in the right people. Uh, and to make sure that, that we continue to deliver on an ongoing basis, uh, customer satisfaction. Um, uh, and you're talking to your colleague in the hallway, you know, seem to have an experience Google banned in Singapore, uh, to have that kind of advocation of bio consumers, uh, and our customers on an ongoing basis.
Speaker 1:
32:47
And let's talk a little bit about different markets cause that that's a, you know, you nailed, uh, uh, you nailed it on the hand in some way, in many ways. And I think many companies coming to Asia face the same reality check, um, in terms of different markets have different needs and different ways of, of, of going about it. So how, maybe tell us a little bit in terms of the different markets that you operate, how are some, or what are some of the differences and maybe what are some of the commonalities?
Speaker 2:
33:15
Well, the common manatees first, which is the easier one, uh, you'll find that, um, up drivers generally want to do a good job. Um, the drivers that are in the logistics space, uh, decent people, most of them do this for a full time. Um, I, I wouldn't say that's true for the ride sharing space. Most of them, most of the drivers in the ride sharing space are, uh, in between jobs, um, part-time doing it. And the logistics, the commonality across the regions are, uh, a job. Drivers in general want to do a good job because it's their job, uh, that dusty or rice bowl. Right. Um, and the differences, I think it's, as I said to you earlier, a reduced, it's just customer expectation, um, is a dollar door. Um, this is labor included. Uh, do you come up the stairs that you come up with a staircase, right?
Speaker 2:
34:10
Uh, can you loan a one ton truck with a three time load? Right? Is it legal or not? Um, so those are the challenges I think for us and [inaudible] developing a technology, a platform and an app that they really tailored to that, uh, we tweak our app. If you, if we are in Hong Kong or in Singapore, you realize our app is a bit different. Uh, just because we have to accustomize or tweak our platform with the right feature to meet the local expectation. Right? So those are the challenges. Uh, but generally I think once we get that set up nicely, um, really operating with real processes, consistency is the other one. Um, and, and as you mentioned earlier, the other question was how do you provide, how do you ensure, um, the drivers consistently do the work, uh, or deliver the right customer satisfaction? Um, that's always a challenge in a crowd crowdsourcing platform. Um, we don't own them. Um, and again, educating, communicating feedback loop is important for us, uh, for, as we, you know, the whole education and making sure that we have a dialogue with our asset class. Uh, that's, that's the other thing that I think we spend a lot of money and time on.
Speaker 1:
35:25
MMM. And how do you kind of designed, or how have you decided, uh, in the past and in the future as well? And you don't need to name obviously the markets that you would expand further, that that's obviously gonna be gone potentially. But how do you make a decision, okay, let's go into this market versus this market. Um, you know, uh, Vietnam you just met, said you just, you just launched Vietnam. We actually had a question from [inaudible] and I'm, when are you coming to Vietnam? So he hasn't yet seen you in the streets, but I'm sure in a, in very quick course. So yeah. How do you make this decisions based on, you know, based on, on what would be your key criteria?
Speaker 2:
35:59
So, yeah, I think logistic, it's a factor of, uh, size, uh, the country and, uh, people, uh, of the number of people in the country. So the big markets are, uh, your China, your India, which where we are in, uh, of course I think economies like Indonesia is interesting for us and so forth. Right. And even Japan is an interesting one, but I think well versus trying to be everywhere at one time. We, we stay focused on making sure in the countries we decide to go in that we, we do a good job, stabilize it. Uh, we certainly some path to profitability, insight. Um, yeah, so we're not, we're not expanding, um, like a mushroom everywhere. Uh, we tend to be from that standpoint at this moment rather conservative, we are still in seven countries, uh, 300 over cities across the region. Uh, again, for us it's really making sure that in the countries we operate today, it stable, it's growing.
Speaker 2:
37:01
Um, and there's a like in the tunnel, uh, in terms of profitability for the countries who are in, uh, before we mush them everywhere. We get requests from, from all countries all over the world to, to, to want to want to bring us to that country from Europe to the Americas. Uh, again, we have sort of said no, or at least wait. Um, so, so as a company we are, um, quite conservative in that standpoint. Um, we really watched on and, and make sure that whatever countries that we're in, uh, the customers are happy we grow at as growth in the country. Before we go onto the next one. Cause I think like any, uh, uh, I think a lot of startups have the challenges of trying to chew on a two bike to put on too much. They can chew on, uh, to, you know, to, to really, uh, grow too fast.
Speaker 2:
37:51
And I think this has been, uh, the, the, the pitfalls for many, uh, aggressive startups, uh, really trying to be everywhere to everybody. Uh, we, we tend to be a little bit more conservative and best start. And from that standpoint, I think it's proven to be good for us. Uh, most of the customers and countries we are in, uh, we do a good job and, uh, from, from different end users, SMEs and enterprises, uh, seem to like us. Uh, which I think is important. And then just saying, I mean 70 countries, you know, tomorrow, which I think is sometimes, uh, nice to say, but I'm not sure it's the right thing to do.
Speaker 1:
38:26
And somebody was actually asking also about, um, about products. It's a different type of a product, which is the cross board. The one, and I ask you the question than I though I'm pretty much guessed the answer just based on what you just shared. But the question was, you know, are you looking also into across board the product or into a longer duration in between maybe between cities? Cause right now you're doing in the city itself a type of a business as well or not really.
Speaker 2:
38:52
We continue to expound and deliberate, you know, how do we go out the value chain, how you, you know, go and do this across different asset class. Um, I think that the thought right now Radu is to stay focused on intracity. Uh, in asset class. We do two do cross bother for the, what a different asset class. We're talking about 16 wheelers, 18 wheelers. Um, we're talking about business that's very different in processes. Uh, even the customers are different. So, um, we could do it, but I'm not sure we want to do it because I think, uh, I say going back to the whole expansion thing, the last thing you want us to be, you know, everything to everybody and, and no go to anybody. So to answer your question, we will near term at least a stay focus in intracity in asset class we manage.
Speaker 1:
39:44
Hmm. And I'll also, I would want to bring now the discussion towards the human capital side of the business. And you mentioned that that's a challenge and pretty much everybody that I had on the podcast from this perspective of hyper scaling a start up has said the same thing. And actually I would argue that everybody on this board, this has answered what's your biggest challenge in some way, shape or form with people as, as one of the answers, not the only one, but one of the biggest one. So how do you address that? And particularly when you expand, you expand it to Vietnam, right? I mean the key part is also finding that right city launcher, right? Or City launch squad to do it. So how do you look and think about attracting and getting the right person to, to move into the new city
Speaker 2:
40:30
he is? Yeah. And any company startup. Otherwise, I think the human capital is quite essential to, to any business growth and expansion. And especially for a startup because you are competing with people with either deeper pockets, bigger names. Uh, you know, you mentioned about launcher. If your technical people, you're competing with the likes of, you know, the listed companies that are expanding in this region. So for us, it's really looking for people with passion. People with commitment. People were willingness to learn, um, more, more equal than IQ. You know, when I say that, because I think, you know, let's just stick. This is a business. Uh, I was never in a logistic business til I came to Gogo van. So you can pick up those hard skills. I don't think it's a problem. You're right. Processes are not that Einstein, you're not flying a rocket to the moon.
Speaker 2:
41:20
But I think people were the right attitude. So, so we take our time to hire, uh, we take our time to look for the right people. So a one of those, I think there's a mantra to hiring is sort of a slow high and quick to fire. I would rather take my time to hire the right launch or the right country manager, city manager. Um, and, and if you don't find one, it's okay. We'll take our time. The last thing you want, especially for a young company like us is to, to hire and then fire. It just disrupts everything from people, training, culture, communication, learning, you know, just going back one-on-one. So for us, it's really looking for the right people. We will take our time doing that. Uh, and we, we do deliberate. Uh, we do have multiple rounds of interviews before we decide on hiring someone in, in a countries.
Speaker 1:
42:13
Uh, moreover there's the part with the fight. So the CT launcher is one thing, but there's a big, big fight on the tech side, which you are already in the space of. You know, you basically have to fight with your googles and Facebooks and otherwise, um, all the people sitting in Shenzen, I guess, uh, there's the Silicon Valley of China more and more. Um, how do you and your data scientists, and you know, we spoke about potentially batching things and that's basically in the realm of, you know, how do do algorithms and, and uh, and smart the processes. How do you attract those people to, to go then, because also the big, big challenges that logistics and supply chain has not been seen as currently. Also in the process of trying to get, you know, sexier in terms of appeal to job secrets.
Speaker 2:
42:59
So we can compete to the names that you, you know, you talked about terms of compensation we can out pay them. Uh, this is impossible, right? What we provide as a company is an environment where you make a difference. Um, that's one. Yeah, your voice is hurt. All right. Um, and also very importantly maybe, uh, thirdly would be a, uh, an opportunity to do cross functional work. Right? You know, you don't just, it'd be a launcher. If you're doing a good job, you could be a marketer a couple of years in. We do a good job. We don't mind taking you into product management. So I think we try very hard to create an environment in a company that allows people to grow, uh, there allows people to be hurt that allows people to learn. Um, so I think many of us are doing it. I mean, even the, the likes of Google are doing it, but I think we try and do it in a, as much a fun way as possible.
Speaker 2:
43:57
Uh, we have no hierarchy. Uh, and when I say that hierarchy, you can, anybody in the company can talk to me or our CEO. Uh, we still don't have rooms. Uh, so I think we, we have to create an environment's important. Um, and if anything else that maybe another area we spend a lot of time is, is listening. Uh, you know, we spent a lot of time making sure that our employees are heard irrespective of rank and file, uh, that we, we hear, we hear what they say. Um, and we try our best to, to improve on areas that they're concerned with. Yeah. Is it a battle and says yes. Um, because I think as a young startup you especially talent, good talent, technical, otherwise it's hard to find. Um, uh, I think from a retention standpoint, in most of the countries that do a decent job, uh, we do monitor that as well, uh, to make sure that our retention rate as a staff turnover is relatively low. Uh, and we, we actively make sure we manage that.
Speaker 1:
44:53
Are there certain things about, you know, you being a c level executives in, in, in logo. Then obviously you are part of the shaper of the culture of the organization. What would you say that, what would be some of the key values that you drive through in and out with your colleagues? From the CEO to the CFO to the leadership team of global and to make sure that this is, you know, consistent culture, Google. Then it's about these things
Speaker 2:
45:21
magical. No more magical one on that. I think if one thing we tried to do and do very hard is to walk the talk, it would say something. And you say to be transparent, if you're saying you need to be customer focus, you know, you need to do it and walk the talk and not just put it on a plug or on a PowerPoint slide. Um, when you want to create a environment of friendliness and openness unit to talk as well, you can't be shutting yourself in the meeting room 20 off 20 hours a day and don't talk to anybody. So it all starts from walking the talk. Um, um, that's important because I think many managing millennials these days, it's about walking the talk. You know, you don't, I think gone are the days where you say, my values are, um, this, this and this. It sitting on a plaque on a wall. Um, I think the new paradigm of management is really engage employees. Uh, we say something minute, uh, and, and been been, been candid and honest. I think that's, that's important. Uh, people see two things. If you don't, uh, if even you're not candid, honest, uh, two to yourself and your staff.
Speaker 1:
46:24
Absolutely. I mean, if there's anything, if there's anything that I've also observed from where we sit as, as consultants, as headhunters is whatever. I mean, even if it's just let's, let's take Linkedin, right? Does the biggest social media platform, I think for B to B, I think it's quite obvious that people are shifting and the mindset is shifting more towards, okay, how can I know this person better? Whether I'm working for him or her, whether I'm in the same company or whether I'm external to the company applying, I want to see what's, what's the authentic a part of this, of these people, of their culture, of, of what they stand for, their values and is becoming more and more important than you have. Then Glassdoor where you can have access to information about the truth in terms of the company. So it's really not no more that type of fake it till you make it up, put it up, put up a persona, put up a persona, and then, you know, people won't figure it out because they will, um, or eventually maybe that, you know, it takes a little bit of time. You can, you can fake it for a while, but ultimately the truth would prevail. Right. Um, so I think that's, that's a wonderful point that you made. I wanted to kind of, uh, bringing the discussion towards an end. I wanted to ask you from your long experience, what would be some advice or some sharing that you can impart, um, in terms of principles that have helped you the most? Looking, looking back, uh, in terms of your, your thoughts.
Speaker 2:
47:48
Oh, you know, I've been in, as I said earlier at the beginning of discussion, a roadway had been an entrepreneur for 20 years. Um, I, if anything else, um, uh, and as an entrepreneur now probably belonged to the, uh, the, the, the, the, the most senior crowd. Um, maybe two things. One, um, continue to be open and learn, um, about everything. Right. Uh, I think that's, that's one thing. Um, uh, having an open mind is important. And secondly, I think, um, be able to see things in different lenses, different lights. Um, sometimes a adversities view differently can be an opportunity, right? So I think those things are, uh, interesting, uh, as a philosophy of, of, of, of, of managing company and growing a company. Um, so, so yeah, I have no magical one again, and that that's, uh, again, uh, my personal philosophy would be really a, a learning to grow, um, grocery learn, uh, be open, um, to, to differences. Uh, they'll be open to different mindsets and different solutions, uh, that they are constantly coming, uh, in the horizon in all aspects of, of work and life.
Speaker 1:
49:08
Thank you. Eugene has been great having you. Thanks for all the sharing and the case that is and we want to wish you a and Google than a continued successful story and a for sure we will be uh, trying to use you guys and uh, and I'll, I'll pass the feedback if uh, if uh, no matter positive or or otherwise I'll tell you and you'll be the first to call [inaudible]. Thank you very much. Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to go to www.ellicotglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview. Also subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates. First, if you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher, we would appreciate the kind of review five-star works best to keep us going and our production team happy and of course share it with your friends. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me. And if you have any suggestions on what what to do and who to invite next, don't hesitate to drop me a note. And if you're looking to hire top executives in supply chain or transform your business, of course, contact us as well to find out how we can help.