Most startups tend to focus on a problem that affects end consumers. However, there are plenty more that have sprung into existence to fulfil the needs of businesses. Deliverect is one such startup that aims at fixing a simple yet crucial problem for restaurants, which is, by helping them manage multiple delivery services via one unified platform. Now, the company has raised €3 million in funding from Newion Investments and SmartFin for its future endeavours.
Deliverect is a swiftly growing Software as a Service (SaaS) startup that aims to simplify the online delivery process for restaurants. The Ghent-based company was co-founded by Zhong Xu and Jan Hollez in April 2018 and has also bagged two accolades in a short span of time. The first is the innovation award at Horeca Expo 2018 that was held in Belgium and the second one for being the overall winner at Horecava (the Netherlands), in January 2019.
We had a chat with Zhong Xu to understand more about how the startup functions, what it offers, and what’s next on its agenda after securing fresh funding.
“Long time ago, my father founded a traditional point of sale (POS) company and till today more than 90% percent of the Asian restaurants in Belgium are his customers. He did amazing things, back then!”
“As I’m a software engineer, in 2012, along with Jan Hollez, we created the first iPad point of sale in Europe, which we named as ‘posios’.”
They sold the hospitality application to the Canadian Lightspeed and then eventually launched Deliverect, a software application that integrates the many meal delivery apps into one well-organised whole for restaurant operators and connects them to their POS system.
Those who are in the hospitality sector know how crucial it is to make use of the numerous online food ordering services available online, in order to expand their business. However, multiple problems arise when signing up for many such third-party services like Handling multiple devices, manual re-entry of orders, multiple reports for each platform, out of sync stock and more.
Xu explains that Deliverect solves all of the aforementioned problems for a restaurant, and then some more. “Today, restaurant operators often have one tablet per service and they have to retype each order in the cash register system. That integrates Deliverect into one package, which means enormous time savings.”
The company directly connects a restaurant’s POS system with almost all the major online third-party food delivery platforms like UberEats, Takeaway, Foodpanda, Deliveroo, among others. This is because the company has set up API relationship with all these platforms.
“For a restuarant, almost 20 to 30 percent of total revenue comes just from delivery services. So, it’s very important to, of course, manage these services. So that’s what we do. We get orders from the delivery channel to your POS,” Xu explains.
Fiddling with a restaurant POS leans on the hardware side of things. However, services rendered by Deliverect are completely cloud-based and fully implemented as Software as a Service (SaaS). Because of being a Saas, Xu says that one will have to invest comparatively less to avail the company’s services, which start at 39 euros. The reason for such low pricing is also said to be a large market where almost every small and large restaurant makes use of a delivery service.
“Basically, we integrate delivery channels, and on the other side, we work with a lot of POS companies. We partner with POS companies so that they can manage their deliveries.” Xu says enthusiastically, “You can call us, the ‘Adyen of delivery services.”
How will the company utilise the latest investments?
Most startups focus solely on expansion of their services when they receive fresh funds. However, Deliverect has a two-fold approach to make use of fresh funds. The first one being, pouring more money into research and development to come up with even better solutions. The second one is to grow the company’s various teams that handle incoming requests, which the company is said to be receiving every day.
Xu is also confident that the company has a strong product platform that it has created, thanks to the multiple requests to use the company’s system. This means that the organisation needs to scale up its team. While there are now 16 people in the company, it aims to up the count to about 40-45 by the end of this year.
What’s the company’s business model?
As mentioned earlier, Deliverect’s offering is SaaS and it sells its service starting at 39 euros per month. This pricing increases depending on the number of channels a business has and how many setups it works upon. Currently, the company’s customers are from across Europe and it works mostly with larger restaurant chains. Additionally, Xu says that “the fresh funds will actually help the company grow internationally.”
What challenges did Deliverect face, or is facing?
Unlike other startups that conventionally face stiff competition or need additional funding, Deliverect faced a different kind of challenge. Xu says that finding talent to recruit is one of the major challenges it has faced. While the idea of the company is simple, Xu says it is difficult to recruit talented people who can handle the incoming requests for the company’s services. It, in fact, is looking for people who can join and contribute to the company.
Additionally, Xu talks about a secondary challenge for the company, which is said to be somewhat of a personal difficulty for the startup. The startup follows a complete flatline structure instead of the traditional top-down hierarchical approach. Xu says that “It’s really about creating a full stack to use that is self-managed, so that teams can make their own decision and feel empowered to do things. A team that can make their own decisions, really work well with its own teams and grow their own goals. That’s a personal ambition that we want to try.”
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