EP 179 – Jakob Angele – CEO APAC at foodpanda – It’s Such a Complicated Optimization Problem

by | Feb 16, 2022

The Asia Tech Podcast really appreciated the conversation we had with Jakob Angele, the CEO APAC at foodpanda.  Jakob has been with foodpanda since its earliest days and his insights reflect a deeply embedded knowledge of the company.  You can tell in his voice that he really cares about this company and its mission.
Some of the topics Jakob discussed:
  • Studying physics at university
  • Working at McKinsey & Company and what it taught him about management
  • Decision Making, Stakeholder Management, Conceptual Frameworks, Perfectionism, and Clean Communication
  • The pros and cons of moving to a startup from a consulting company
  • Joining foodpanda during its earliest days (when no investor wanted to invest)
  • How the foodpanda business model is very technology-intensive
  • Business growth was slow at the beginning as consumers and restaurants did not see the value
  • Getting purchased by DeliveryHero in 2016
  • Managing through hyper-growth
  • Southeast Asia’s regional diversity and market inconsistencies
  • Hyper-localization in Asia and hyper-decentralized management
Other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. It’s Like a Very Fragile System
  2. The First Thing You Always Do Is Prioritize
  3. You Have a Fire In the Opposite Corner of the Room
  4. We Can Still Run Lightning Fast
  5. The Willingness To Make Decisions Fast
  6. How Can We Help Develop the Ecosystem?
  7. Everybody Consumes Food 120 Times Per Month

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:00
Okay, we’re on. Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Jakob Angele, the CEO of foodpanda. Jakob, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s great to have you here. How are you doing, by the way?

Jakob Angele 0:15
Thanks for having me. Yeah, very good. Very good. So far, so good. Good.

Michael Waitze 0:20
Yeah, exactly. Before we get into the main part of this conversation, I’d love to get some of your background for context. I don’t know that much about you. Right.

Jakob Angele 0:30
I mean, happy to give you a quick, quick rundown. Yeah, I’ve been with foodpanda, since I think seven to eight years. So really, kind of from the from the early beginnings, when you know, foodpanda was to, you know, a very, very tiny company. And, you know, nobody knew us and no investor was interested to invest in us also, because nobody was, was actually excited about food delivery. So kind of seven to eight years, six plus years of that in Asia, based in Singapore. And then before I did quite some years in management consulting, then actually before that I studied at university physics. We are coming from a science background originally, but I love it. But yeah, never never worked as a scientist or anything like that.

Michael Waitze 1:17
Why do McKinsey guys and gals Why do people that come out of consulting makes such great business builders? Seriously?

Jakob Angele 1:27
Yeah, it’s an interesting question. So I think there’s actually pros and cons to that. So I think what those you know, management consulting companies, like the BCGs, McKinsey’s, I think what they do really, really well is they bring, you know, like, if you look at management skill set, you could probably identify, like, I don’t know, five dimension dimensions, what’s important for a manager, right, like, I don’t know, you know, decision making stakeholder management, I don’t know what couple others, right? And I think what, what management consulting does really well, they bring everybody to kind of like a slightly above average level on all of those dimensions. After I think, consulting, you don’t really have any weaknesses. But I think then, frankly, where consiting actually fears a little bit is, if you’re really good at something, they are not so good in developing once strength. Yeah. So I think it’s, it’s actually really important for, for, like, you know, the young business professional, to Yeah, it’s not a bad idea to do some years of consulting. But then at one point, you also should get out of it, and go to the real world and focus more on developing your strengths and what you’re really good at.

Michael Waitze 2:33
I never thought about it that way. It’s so interesting, right? Yeah, you get this sort of broad range of skills. But if you were super great at x, whatever x was, that’s not accelerated. So maybe later, you have to go out and not fix it, but then go back to that and go a little bit deeper. That’s kind of an interesting concept. And no one said that to me before, by the way, so that’s really interesting. You also said something in passing, which I hadn’t thought about, right? Remember, I’ve been in Asia for the entire time that foodpanda and Rocket Internet and all these other companies have been around, right. And from the outside, it just looked. And I always put things in relative terms, it always looked easy. Like if rocket head adventure, it just raised money. Simple. But was it really hard for the food delivery thing? Was it hard to explain to people why that mattered at the beginning?

Jakob Angele 3:16
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, foodpanda is around the company itself is around since pretty much 10 years. Yeah, yep. So that’s, that’s, that’s quite some time, right. And I would say, for the first five years or so, the business model didn’t really, you know, grow grow very fast. until like, 2016 ish. 2007, starting in 2017. It really picked up and back in the days. I mean, I think it was a combination of two things. It was a consumers and also like restaurant chains, for example, they just didn’t really see the value, right? I mean, you’re talking to a McDonald’s and they say, Look, I have my own delivery. Why? Why should I work with this platform. And you know, all my orders are a call center orders, and they call me and they tell me exactly what they want, and so on. It’s much easier for everybody. And people want to call actually, in all of those things. And then the other element was that it’s actually an industry or business model, sorry, events business model, which is very technology intensive. You need on the one side, you need, you know, this whole consumer facing technology, you need an app, you need smart technology on showing the right restaurant, the right customer, you need SEM, CRM, online marketing, all of those things like a full fledged tech business needs. But then the biggest problem in the beginning is actually all the technology on the rider auditor technology on the restaurant. So it took a very long time until that business model actually could prove its creating value because it just took very long to kind of get the technology into place.

Michael Waitze 4:52
I want to share a story with you that feels slightly equivalent, if you don’t mind. Yeah, sure. So go ahead. When I was at Goldman Sachs Right. There was this impression from the outside that it was this like well oiled machine. They just like whatever came in went through this insane process with the most brilliant people. And it just came out the other end perfectly. And at one point somebody at the firm asked somebody inside to draw a picture of their impression of what Goldman Sachs was just like a visual representation, the front part of it, and this was from an American perspective, right? If it was in Europe, it would have been different. But the front part was like a brand new Cadillac Eldorado. And the back part was like a horse carriage with one of the wheels off. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, yeah. So at the beginning, before you build all your technology, from what people see from the outside, and what’s happening on the inside are two completely different things. You know what I mean? We’re like, people just running around doing all these manual processes. Do you think that what changed in 2016 and 17 Was that the tech actually came into place? So it was easier to onboard, not just new restaurants, but new clients, and also new drivers. Does that make sense?

Jakob Angele 6:04
It’s like, it’s like a very fragile system, right? You have, you need to convince the customer at the same time, you need to convince the restaurant and at the same time, you don’t have to have, for example, the technology to make the right side work, right. Yeah. And all three things need to come at the same time, if one of them is missing, the two others don’t really, you know, want one to move kind of thing. So yeah, it’s tough to get this all to work. And I think, frankly, what happened in and I’m very transparent here, right? What happened in 2006? So foodpanda, as a company, who kind of was still an individual, independent company back then. And pretty much we ran out of money, right? Oh, yeah, the technology just took so much money to build, right wasn’t, it wasn’t properly built, a lot of money had been already burned, right. And so. So it became very, very difficult. And then eventually, end of 2016, as a company, we switched to delivery hero, which is now our 100%, owning, you know, parent company, right? And then I think we AV got more, you know, funding stability and planning, stability, I think after that. And then also with joining a conglomerate of food delivery companies somehow who also share some technology aspects. Yeah, I think we could make it work. And then, since then, starting 2017, we have been seeing growth rates, you know, four times a year, five times a year, and so on. So it all happened pretty quickly. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 7:34
I’m just gonna repeat what you said, right? And if I get it wrong, please tell me I’m wrong. But like your 2015, you’re growing 16, you’re still convincing people you realize, wait a second, we may run out of money here. And you have those problems of trying to manage through those issues. Right, which is scary. I mean, anybody who’s been in a business where it looks like it may not continue? Just it’s it’s nerve racking. Yeah. Yeah. But then when you merge with another company, now you introduce all these different issues, right? If now, taking somebody else’s technology, integrating like new best practices, dealing with management in another country, and in another time zone, but then also four times growth with which from a startup founder sounds like awesome, you’re growing four times a year. But yeah, it’s like, how do you juggle 17 balls when you’re only juggling three to begin with? Right? Like, how do you manage through that kind of growth in that kind of transition?

Jakob Angele 8:21
Yeah, I don’t know. I also don’t have a clear answer to that, I think, what do you always do as in a hyper growth environment? I think the first thing you always do is you you prioritize, right? Yeah, you, you see you have 50 problems to fix. All of them are actually important, right? And then you will know you have only you know, time for five for resources for five. And so So you make a very conscious decision. So what are the right five? And it sounds easy in theory,

Michael Waitze 8:52
right? No, it doesn’t. But yeah, go ahead.

Jakob Angele 8:54
The example I always use for that is like those other 45 problems, right? They are not minor. It’s kind of like sitting in a room and you, you know, you have a fire in the opposite corner of the room. And you see it burning and it slowly creeps up and you tell yourself, yeah, that’s actually fine. So I’ll get to that couple of hours until the fire reaches my desk, right. So as of now, I’m totally cool with that. And then a couple of hours, I get some water, and maybe I pull it out. Right. Yeah. So that’s a bit that’s a bit how it feels, I think. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 9:28
Do you feel like you were able to lean on that training, or that experience you got at McKinsey, you know, all those sort of organizational things that you learned when you were there to manage through that hyper growth period?

Jakob Angele 9:40
I think possibly, yes. I think where I have been, I think very, very fortunate is that. I mean, if you’re thinking about kind of management skills, right? There’s different aspects to it. And I feel like where I’ve been very fortunate is at McKinsey, you really learn one type of management skill set, which is like The very structured aspects of management, um, conceptual frameworks, highly intelligent decision making stakeholder management, perfectionism, way, you know, clean communication, all of those things. And those are always important. But then when I entered foodpanda, as one of the senior guys back then, but still a very, very small company, of course, and also foodpanda back then being a Rocket Internet company, you know, which Rocket Internet back then always pride themselves, it’s scrappy, and fast decision making processes, speed, speed, above anything, and so on. So I got I got very quickly exposed to this whole other aspect of management, which is somewhat I always see that a little bit selected the opposite of the spectrum. Yeah, of course, then, when I when I entered foodpanda, was, was a very interesting and rough start, so to say, right, because everything I learned, you know, at consulting was kind of somewhat useless from day one to the other, and I need to kind of shifted gears completely. But then there’s other part of skills that I think I was able to hopefully pick up quickly, and, and also learned. And so I think nowadays, what, what I really appreciate is that I feel like I can kind of, you know, switch between the two. Yeah, yeah. And so, you know, if we are interacting with our global holding company, which deliver here, which, of course, you know, overseas, which portfolio, we are, of course, much more, you know, organized structure and clean cut. Whereas if we if you need to get stuff done in Cambodia, right, we can still run lightning fast kind of thing. That’s a bit how I think about it.

Michael Waitze 11:36
Yeah. Sometimes in the United States. So I know, it’s a little bit provincial of me to mention this, right. We talked about the difference between playing college football, great athletes, and playing professional football. And one of the things that surprises the guys that come out of college into the pros is just the speed of the game. Were you surprised by the speed change when you joined foodpanda? I mean,

Jakob Angele 11:59
it’s a long time ago. I know you came back. Yeah. But no, but definitely. And I think the speed of doing things, like I think this willingness to make decisions fast, yeah, right. And then kind of compromise also on decision making quality, because making a decision early creates value by itself, right. Whereas of course, everybody knows that right? At consulting, you do exactly the opposite. You boil the ocean, you’re the fifth Excel model, which is even more beautiful than before before. But they, they prove it prove the same point and so on. It’s definitely was definitely a very different approach.

Michael Waitze 12:39
So you mentioned this difference between, you know, dealing with corporate and it’s very organized and stuff, but then also moving into countries like Cambodia. So right now foodpanda is in what? 12? Countries? 300 cities?

Jakob Angele 12:53
Yeah, 12 countries? Many, many cities. Yeah, don’t really, we don’t really, at least on the regional level, we don’t really count the number of cities. Yeah. Fair

Michael Waitze 13:02
enough. How do you start like, where do you stop counting?

Jakob Angele 13:05
And then you also funny enough, you run into this whole problem of what defines the city, right? Yeah, for sure. Yeah. in hundreds of cities.

Michael Waitze 13:14
And one of the things we talked about just sort of from a high level on the Asia tech podcast is this idea of localization and hyper localization. And the reason why it’s interesting to me is because people that never leave their home country or leave their hometown or even leave their home region don’t understand. Right? Like, if you look at the European market as a thing, you know, that Italy is different than Germany, you know that Germany is different than France and that France is different from Spain, just know that because culturally, I heard about it your whole life. But when people look at Southeast Asia, they just think monolithic 670 million people big market, one shot get it, but how do you handle this? hyperlocal said because Cambodia definitely is not Indonesia,

Jakob Angele 13:53
picking up on your point on Europe, you know, European say I you know, Spain is so different to France or Germany, actually, compared to Asia, it’s a bit the opposite, right? If you think about Europe, and I can say this European, right? It’s actually a very homogeneous group. Right? Okay. You know, everything that countries are democracy, they all have, you know, dominant religions, Christianity, etc, etc, kind of similar GDP brackets, and so on. So actually, Europe is quite a consistent, consistent region. And if you compare that to Asia, I believe that that’s completely different, right? Like, look at the country portfolio, we have a footprint via can operating in Bangladesh and Pakistan, then I’m sitting, I’m sitting here in Singapore, but then we also operate in you know, Taiwan, and Philippines. And all those countries. I mean, they they couldn’t be further apart. Right. Right. And so so the the interesting thing is when we kind of start kind of structuring the region Asia a bit better. The first thing we realize, of course, was exactly that, that the region is incredible. diverse and somewhat inconsistent. And at the same time, we also operate a hyper localized business model. Right. Yeah. And so and what we did back then, and I think that’s still very much part of the of the foodpanda. DNA is, we decided very early on, that we, we run the countries, those very different countries, very autonomous, autonomously and very empowered. And so if today, for example, you look at, like the business strategy we have in Bangladesh, right? And also the priorities we have in Bangladesh, it’s nothing, you know, myself or somebody in the regional team here in Singapore was cooking up. Yeah, yeah, we wouldn’t know that. Right. We don’t wake up every morning and Bangladesh and understand how the market feels and works. And so this is really something you know, very much created by the Bangladesh team. Same for all other countries. And so this hyper decentralized setup, I think, it’s one of the reasons I believe, at least why you know, foodpanda has been very successful in Bangladesh, but at the same time very successful in Taiwan.

Michael Waitze 16:04
Bangladesh is such an interesting country, because again, the rest of the world knows nothing about it. It’s like India’s little cousin, right, but it’s got 170 million people in in, and DACA is the most densely populated city in the world. So what does that do? And again, you don’t have to get into the nitty gritty details. But I’m just curious, from your perspective, as a CEO, like what does that do from a logistics standpoint? How does it change the way you think about like even something like delivery optimization, which is hard in and of itself, but when it’s so concentrated? You don’t? I mean,

Jakob Angele 16:36
I would say the biggest complexities come for us really, on the consumer side, and the restaurant ecosystem side, go ahead. I mean, consumers are just just very, very different, right? They’re very, very different things. They have different, you know, purchasing behaviors, different motivations, and so on. And then Bangladesh is a good example, on the restaurant side. It’s also very different because, frankly, our biggest problems in Bangladesh, for example, is that as of today, the restaurant ecosystem is just way, early stage. Yep. And so our biggest problem is kind of in that country, finding restaurants who are able to cook all that food we want to deliver to customers, because it’s just like, there’s just not so many out there. And then, and then that leads them to local strategies, right? Where we involve ourselves in working with restaurant does existing with restaurant groups and understand, okay, how can we provide funding and cash flow to make them open more outlets and things like that? Just can we help kind of develop the ecosystem? Which is something like in a Singapore? Of course, we wouldn’t do right now. Because Singapore, like you have five restaurants at every street corner, and then they are in the in the most vicious competition with each other you can imagine. Right? So so very different challenges and problems there.

Michael Waitze 17:58
So this is also really interesting. You mentioned, you know, back 10 years ago, when the company was being founded, it was hard to convince restaurants Why was okay, consumers were kind of on board building, the tech was hard. But back then, like, nobody really was so concerned about delivery times, they were just like, as a consumer, you’re just like, it’s raining and I don’t have to go out to get my food bonus for me. And once the restaurants figured out, it was okay. But now everybody wants stuff delivered yesterday. And hot.

Jakob Angele 18:26
You know what I mean? Yeah, absolutely. So

Michael Waitze 18:29
it was funny because like Louie CK made this joke once years ago, when he was like, on some talk show, he was like, you see people on the on an airplane complaining, the internet is so slow, and it’s like you’re flying in. So how do you manage through that? Like, I want my food in 15 minute thing?

Jakob Angele 18:48
Yeah. You mean? You mean? How do we do it? Yeah, cuz you got

Michael Waitze 18:52
to go back around and start all over again. Right? So customer expectations now changed drastically where before, like an hour was okay, like, it just didn’t matter. I’ll order it seven. I’ll eat it, who cares. But now people are starving when they order. So the consumers wanted faster. And before the restaurants were like, we’ll just make it the same speed we used to make it and now they’re thinking wait a second, we have to make the same quality but much faster, and deliver it much more efficiently manage through that process and even just like change the mindset of all of those ecosystem partners.

Jakob Angele 19:19
Yeah. Yeah. It’s it’s, it’s it’s super, super complicated. I agree with that. And that’s also one of the reasons why I you know, love this business model so much, because it’s such a, such a complicated optimization problem and very and right, where you have this restaurant locations, you know, some of them are super reliable and very customer centric. Some of them you know, they don’t really care so much, etc. And sometimes they cook sometimes they don’t, you know, so all of that and then the rider in between the customer with the customer location and so on. So it’s super, super complicated. I think it’s really honestly, the work of those many years we put into into this into to this business model, and it’s not like one big technological innovation, I would say, it’s really literally, you know, 1000s of, of, you know, very, very small things, right? Yeah. Like, I give you an example. Right. But it’s one of those smaller things, right, of course, one big problem we have is in some countries, you know, the restaurant has a menu. But then at one point, they they run out of items, right? And that’s a problem, because then, of course, they can update our website and so on. But then their kitchen is busy, why should they update and so on. And so you order five items, and only four available, right? And so just this one operational piece, the amount of work we put into to optimize that is actually it’s quite incredible. It’s gonna

Michael Waitze 20:44
be amazing. And like, so if I’m correct, there’s this thing on this on the app or on the website that says, If this is not available, don’t deliver it or give me this other thing, which to a user seems very trivial. It’s like, Yeah, sure. It’s like the waiter asking me sorry, we’re out of the soul. Would you rather have the card? But it’s not that easy. Yeah.

Jakob Angele 21:02
Yeah, I know exactly. And then, and then of course, that’s already kind of when the when the problem happened. So what we have costed, the first line of defense is we try to avoid it in the first place, right? So so for our food, so for example, for some restaurants now, I get three o’clock, or at four o’clock, we sent them a message, hey, often you run out of those five items, can you please confirm, those five items are still available, right? And then it works. And in some restaurants, we send it at three, some at five, some at six, and so on. So you become more granular and granular restore things. And everything you do all those small iterations give you some micro incremental improvement in customer experience. And that’s just an example. Right? There’s literally like, No 1000s of things like that.

Michael Waitze 21:46
Yeah, but that particular example actually brings up a really important point for me. So foodpanda, along with DeliveryHero, and its other partners, right globally have now been in business for 10 years, let’s just talk about food panda itself, just in Southeast Asia, you gathering all this data, you can see the things not just at a 35,000 foot level, but on an individual restaurant level, somebody’s always ordering the pepperoni pizza. And at 745, on average, the pepperoni is always gone. Yeah, is there and as you look at new products and new ways to use the data, we can talk about panda Martin a bit because I also think that that’s interesting, because it falls into kind of the same category. But is there a supplier business that then you can build around all of the data that food PanDa has where you say, we’re going to build another two sided marketplace that then connects all the suppliers, electronically, so that the ordering for, I’m just going to use the pizza analogy, because we already used it right? can just order automatically so that as they see these trends happening, they know to order more, because they can have confidence that as 745 rolls around, they’re going to need more, and I’m just going to use pepperoni as the example. You know what I mean? So that you can build this then supplier connectivity business that then connects all of your restaurant partners, to their suppliers in a way that makes the ordering process data driven. As opposed to I think on Thursdays we need more tomatoes.

Jakob Angele 23:17
Of course, we work with restaurants, right with kinda kind of somewhat reliable, also tech interests that in our restaurant partners and kinda, we tell them look in this area, right, like, we don’t have good assortment for fried chicken, right? Yep. And then we can tell them why not, you know, you open couple of outlets there are so on. Right. So so on that level on that level, we do that also we do you know, some in house things and so around that. Yep. So we do try try to shape the assortment, right, which we offer to the customer at what point in time, but of course, that remains one of the of the big challenges and like, take Singapore, you know, late night or like, two o’clock at night. I mean, I was COVID It’s a bit it’s a bit less but before COVID We actually did quite some decent amount of orders very late at night. Right? But because I mean Singapore, you know, it’s also a little bit of a city which can never sleeps and so on. Right? To some extent. But the challenge is just assortment, you know, shrinks obviously to you know, 3% and then you have many, many cuisine gaps and so on. It’s not so easy to kind of, you know, really Bertus assortment we need at any given point in time and then you go to go to countries like like Bangladesh, where you go to a second tier city and that’s like, Okay, in this whole city, unfortunately, we don’t have a single premium price point, pizza vendor, and so on. So So that’s for sure a lot of caps total for

Michael Waitze 24:49
understood understood. This business again, from the outside looks really simple. You got a driver, you got a restaurant, you got some money, I want my food like it seems really simple, but obviously we’ve established That’s not true. It’s just so complicated. And I always feel like you said you studied physics, right? So as a mathematician, as a physics guy, you must love this, right? Because it’s just massive problem solving at scale. And optimization is really just a mathematics applied to problems. Yeah. Yeah. So for you, it’s got to be awesome. But why does everybody else want to get into this business? Do you know what I mean? Because it’s so hard and like delivering a cell phone, which doesn’t go bad, it doesn’t get cold. Do you know what I mean? It doesn’t. It’s the same cell phone if you get it now, or an hour and a half later, but food is so much more complicated because of the time element. Why does everybody else want to get into this business?

Jakob Angele 25:38
Yeah, I think that’s interesting question. I mean, I think there’s various reasons for it. I think for once, I think on the surface, it’s quite clear. It’s, it’s a good business model. Right? Everybody? Everybody here, I mean, now interacts and consumes food 120 times per month. Right, right. Online food delivery is one, one great avenue into that, that whole whole food space, right. And I think many companies, and also investors can realize that. So it’s a great space to play, I think and, and what we’re doing at the moment is also just, you know, the entry point, right? For us also, always one of the big questions is, okay, now we do you know, average customer orders, maybe, let’s say 10 times a month with food, Panda. But then there’s still 110 times of food consumption, where he’s not interacting with us, and so on. So that’s, I think the one part so it’s just I think it’s a great business model, at least I’m excited about it. The other part is, maybe it’s a little bit what you said, right? That that’s from the outside, it kind of looks like it’s not that hard. Maybe like, how hard can it be to you know, deliver pizza from A to B? thing? Yeah. So that’s maybe one of those aspects. And therefore, we see, you know, a couple of very serious players coming in couple of less serious players coming in, and so on. I guess for us, we always see that as a bit of, like, if new competitors enter our markets a bit kind of reconfirming actually, the business model, and that we are kind of doing the right thing. Like, I kind of would be worried if we, if we operate the business, and then nobody wants to compete with us, because then probably, we are missing something compared to any everybody else. Yeah, I think it’s kind of Yeah, the reality of it.

Michael Waitze 27:20
Is there a premium product to be developed here. Do you know what I mean? Where instead of just a standard delivery process, not only doesn’t happen, you know, on faster guaranteed on time, but you know, the, it’s just premium in some way where like, you know what, I mean? I don’t even know what that product looks like. But you get from a fancy restaurant, maybe you get better plates, better utensils. I don’t know what that looks like, but where you can charge more for it and have higher margins and stuff like that. It’s hard, but I’m curious.

Jakob Angele 27:50
Yeah, I mean, cover thoughts on on that? I mean, I think already kind of as the assortment right I mean, if you want you know, you can you can go to foodpanda and order Michelin star food, right? If you so choose. So right. If you also want, you can order, you know, very cheap, you know, Hawker food, and so on. So, so kind of the assortment is kind of there. And also, frankly, in the industry, they are kind of niche players who focus much, much more on premium. A little bit to how I think about it. It’s a little bit with, you know, like a Facebook and Amazon. Yeah, it’s a premium Facebook. Not really, right. I think they used to be some like us back and stuff. And everybody was very hyped about it. But then it died. No, this just didn’t connect Oh, God. And then like, is there like a premium Amazon where you can only buy the expensive stuff yachts and fancy cars or something? Also not right? Because everything, even if you’re a premium customer, everything you want, you also get on Amazon kind of thing. And so I think pure premium play. I think that’s very tough, right? Because very quickly, you run into the problem that you’re you’re missing, missing the economies of scale, a huge optimization problem. But I think it’s a fair question is kind of like, like how a company like foodpanda can kind of cater even better to premium customers. And to more price sensitive customers. I think here, there’s definitely still a lot of homework to do. I would I would say, yeah, just a thought that I had. Yeah, for sure.

Michael Waitze 29:21
I like to say that no one succeeds alone. Right? For sure. Whether it’s a company founder or even just a business, you need partners, you need great partnerships. I guess from a food panda perspective, what is like the ideal partnership look like? And do they help you grow? Like loyalty? You know what I mean? Like if you partner with a drink company, or a snack company that’s already existing, and you can feature their products along with the products that you’re already doing. Like do you do that stuff as well?

Jakob Angele 29:50
I think the most somewhat complex and most involve partnerships. We always have those bigger restaurant groups, right? Like in The KFC is the pizza hearts, the Domino’s and so on? Those are actually quite complicated partnerships, right? Because on the one hand, we do provide them a lot of benefits a lot of revenues simply put, right. But at the same time, of course, with our marketing efforts with, you know, paying the writer at the same time, of course, we are we asking quite quite a fair share out of all of their, their wallet somewhat. Right. And so those those partnerships are way way complicated, but of course, super important for us, right? Because without those restaurants and without restaurants in general, I mean, obviously, we have an empty empty app, which, you know, wouldn’t be too interesting. Because in cooking and cooking food, you’re not really that great.

Michael Waitze 30:44
So that brings up this other point, though, right? Like a lot of companies are starting this, this idea of like, ghost kitchens, like just kitchen, three square in Taiwan, all these companies, right, are opening up these little places, but they also need delivery. Now, some of them are doing it themselves, but they can’t do it without other providers. At not at scale. Right. So how do you work with them? And, you know, you mentioned before, Bangladesh is an example where, you know, you’re dealing with two things. The startup ecosystem is still kind of nascent, but also the restaurant ecosystem is also nascent as well, right? I mean, it’s a GDP per capita problem, per se, in the sense that, if your GDP per capita is below a certain rate, the likelihood they’re going to be eating out is lower. But as you get wealthier, and all countries will get wealthier than restaurants just become more of a viable option. Where do you see these ghost kitchens fitting into food pandas plans are just their, their view on that ecosystem of food?

Jakob Angele 31:35
Yeah, I mean, that’s more my kind of personal opinion, I would say, Yep. But but somewhat, I mean, ghost kitchens, to some extent, will be a natural evolution of what we’re seeing right now. Yeah, I think there will be always delivery food cooked in, in kind of traditional restaurants. Right, that will always be the case, because somewhat, it’s very synergetic. Right, you do have to kitchen anyways, kind of thing. But then increasingly, there will be a shift. And we see it already now, to some extent, to really kitchens, which are just just focused and optimized and are sort of, like set up for for for delivery. And I think that’s a that’s a very exciting, exciting journey. Right? And so from from the food panda side, it’s really, I guess, our strategy is more like, a portfolio strategy for lack of better words, right, where we, we, of course, you know, away excited to partner with, you know, local startups, also bigger groups who venture into this space. And sometimes we also form very, you know, deep and complex partnerships and so on. Then, also at the same time, you know, we are always happy to invest and, and help fund and so on. And then, of course, last but not least, we are doing a little bit kind of also in house where we are, we are kind of operating somewhat kitchen spaces and so on. Yeah. And I think it’s really kind of the combination of all those approaches. Because, I mean, we’re really talking over the next five to 10 years, you know, hundreds of 1000s of such, you know, ghost kitchens, I think will be created, right? I agree. So for us, it’s just like the question, how can we somehow be part of it, and also somehow facilitate for this to happen maybe even faster? That’s perfect question.

Michael Waitze 33:19
Look, I feel like I’ve taken up way too much of your time today. I really appreciate it. Jakob Angele, the CEO of foodpanda, and see I messed up your last name, but it was great to have you here. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Jakob Angele 33:31
Thanks for having me. Awesome.


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