Tag Archives: Just-Eat

The Chefs are coming – don’t cook JUST EAT

It was JUST EAT who pioneered building a “proper” consumer brand in our sector using classical media channels with a twist. We started working on the Belly & Brain concept at the end of 2008, and it has done a great job in the UK and a number of other countries, but now it is time to move on. We are taking our branding efforts to a new level, and we are now ready to introduce the chefs!

The chefs are pretty upset, because time and time again they can see that normal people are doing the cooking them selves! What a hassle! It is also dangerous! And often it doesn’t taste very well – other people have the same view (“don’t trust you oven” – slightly manipulated of course!). Cooking should be done by the professionals, the chefs – and funny enough, those guys you can access via JUST EAT.

The chefs are a determined bunch, and in order to rally all of us, they have of course like all good revolutionaries made a manifesto to make it crystal clear what they are trying to achieve:

MANIFESTO

1.  COOKING IS COBBLERS. We want people to burn their aprons and liberate themselves from the tyranny of cooking.

2.  CHEFS IS BEST. People must cease stealing our jobs. We are the professionals. We do the cooking.

3.  EATING GOOD. COOKING BAD. Eating is easy, unless you suffer from a goiter. Cooking is all choppy, choppy, messy, messy.

4.  PLAY PING PONG WITH SAUCEPANS. We want people to stop cooking and use their time more wisely.

5.  BURN ALL COOK BOOKS. This is our recipe for a better world.

6.  COOKING IS VERY DANGEROUS. People should avoid losing limbs or even death by staying out of the kitchen,

7.  SILENCE ALL CELEBRITY CHEFS. Take a cheese grater to their noses and stop them from spouting culinary views we find quite unnecessary.

8.  WAR ON WASHING UP MANUFACTURERS. We must rid the world of these evil people for inventing cooking purely to enrich themselves.

9.  DON’T COOK, JUST EAT. Sing it, Shout it, chant it, tattoo it onto your hairy chests, but don’t stop until every cooker in the country is kicked into touch.

Isn’t this getting you interest just a little bit? If you want to learn more about these charachters then check out this background video. And here is the official intro commercial.

You can also follow the Mozz, Mr Halloumi, Mr Basmati (my personal favourite) and all the others on Twitter, Facebook Youtube and all those other modern ways of communicating.

Did we have a twinkle in our eye as we developed this universe – jahh, I think so! And some of the guys went all their way to show support for the chefs (thanks Anne & Mat, you look really cool and corporate!):

photoAM

Don’t cook, JUST EAT – enjoy!

Exec Team Seminar June 2012

Once in a while the JUST EAT Exec Team (aka “ET”) goes off-site a couple of days to have enough peace and trancquility to reflect on where we are as a company. This week we met up in a summerhouse North of Copenhagen. Before we went to the summer house we had time to stop by at Rasmus’ house so the UK based guys could see how we live over here in Welfare Denmark – the picture documents it is all nice and relaxing.

ETseminarJune2012

Afterwards we did a bit of slot racing, since we always need some competition to keep the team building going. As usual we were all accusing each other of cheating, but victory in the end was just and fair -;)

Many things were on the agenda, but that is obviously a bit difficult to publish here, so instead you get a picture of the view form the summerhouse.

ETseminarSummerhouseJune2012

JUST EAT World Party 2012

The biggest event of the year in JUST EAT is without any comparison our annual World Party. The event was first tested some years ago and has since changed a lot as our company has changed, but one thing has always been at the centre of the concept: fun and socialising. And for sure, that was also at the centre stage of the World Party we had last week at a venue outside of London.

AllColleaguesWP2012

There is no need to spend a lot of words on the event, I will instead try to capture part of the atmosphere with a series of pictures, enjoy – we did. But if you only have 8 minutes available, then go straight to this heavily cut down video of traditional JUST EAT Got Talent Show, it was a lot more fun than what you can see here, but it might give some feeling for the evening: JUST EAT 2012 Got Talent Show

(NB: there are also hundreds of pictures on facebook page following the event if you can access the FB group).

Nearly 400 people from all over the World came to Berkshire, UK, ready to get started all dressed in fashionable JUST EAT t-shirts:

28May2012 005

First a presentation on what is going on overall with the company, people came to have fun, so we spend less than an hour on that, here I am showing some creative sizzle the marketing guys has dreamed up:

KNpresentWP12

We quickly moved on to the team events, we like to do competitions, so everybody were send out with their teams to solve all kinds of   missions, here some of the teams:

WP2012teamevent1

WP2012teamevent3

WP2012teamevent2

Some people (the Celts) took it all more relaxed:

28May2012 007

And others put in an effort and won:

WP2012winnerteam

Then we “nearly all” did Little Fish, Big Fish, that was pretty hilarious, but we didn’t get the World Record for most people dancing in sync because 100 people decided it was better to sit outside and enjoy the 25c with a cold beer (grrrr …):

BigFishDanceWP2012

But then our very own Mr Beat Box got the Jam back:

MrBeatBoxWP2012

We also tried to see if we could get some other official Guinness Books of World Records, and we succeeded (not sure how long those very important records will last, but we made it!). One record was in keeping as many balloons as possible flying for 1 minute:

BalloonGuiness

And one in undressing 10 t-shirts as quickly as possible, another very important and high profile sport:

Tshirtwinner

Last couple of years we have given each country a cottage, where they could serve delicacies from their home countries of both solid and liquid nature, this year we gave each country a tent, and combined with fantastic weather (25c in the UK in May is not that common!) people’s mood quickly went from great to stellar, some examples:

28May2012 010

IEtent

28May2012 011

BRtent

EStent

TechWP2012

NLtent

And then the highlight of the evening, the JUST EAT 2012 Got Talent Show (check link for video). First the intro with Ras on Sax and some big pretender:

TalentIntroWP2012

UK marketing doing Bollywood dancing:

28May2012 012

Brazilian samba:

BRsamba

Who says Finance can’t dance:

FinancedanceWP2012

UK Sales doing the Haka:

UKHageWP2012

And several others, but the winners were – the Danes singing about how they are treated as cash cows, hmm think about that for a second:

TeamCowWP2012

We also had the traditional JUST EAT Awards for best of this and that (congrats to Spain, Norway, UK, Switzerland and Sebastien), and Mr. Buttress got a kiss and a piggy bank:

PiggyWinnerWP2012

And after that no more team building or award ceremonies, JUST PARTY:

HappyESWP2012

MarketingEnthusiasmWP2012

WP2012dance2

Thanks to all JUST EAT’ers for a great World Party – see you all plus a lot more again next year.

NB: special thanks to Leah, Mike and Anne for getting everything organised so briliantly, especially the weather really impressed me.

The big C

We did it again! Went through a few months of focused effort and then suddenly the Just-Eat bank account has been filled up. The press release says we raised $64 Mio., but with the exchange rate on the day it was actually $65 Mio. – but as they say, what is a Million between friends? Officially this is called a series C funding round, because that is what logically comes after A and B funding rounds, internally known as “the big C”.

The new guys we have chosen to work with are Vitruvian Partners – also great for us to see we got full backing from our existing investors, thanks to Index, Greylock and Redpoint. For those that follow the European internet scene Vitruvian doesn’t pop up as the traditional VC, but more of a Private Equity company (“PE”), which is true. So, why are we suddenly getting money from spreadsheet driven PE’s instead of the sexy “big picture” VC’s? The answer is simple: it is difficult in Europe to raise that level of money from traditional VC’s. $65 Mio. is a lot of money, and well beyond the scope of the traditional VC model. In the US it is different, but if you want someone that has a European presence to support you then an important option to explore is the mid-cap growth focused PE guys with internet experience. Another argument for inviting PE’s on board is that they in general have another set of expertise and support infrastructure which is helpful in our situation.

We got – as usual, I am cocky enough to add – a fair amount of interest, and most of those potential investors were PE companies, typically US investors with a good European presence. Several of them we really liked, but we ended up with Vitruvian partly because they had a different feel to them. Of course Vitruvian offered the right terms, but several investors did – most of the people we talked to in the process were also really good people we got along with, but the specific Vitruvian guys on this transaction had a great rapport with us. It probably helped some of them in the past worked as VC’s, entrepreneurs or executives in high growth companies.

And what will we use the money for? Other than the usual jokes about corporate jets, there are only a few specific things on the list, and the rest is dependent on what happens in the future. We already run a tight ship, where we generate enough money in profitable countries to fund loss making countries. But there are so many growth opportunities out there in terms of new countries, consolidation/M&A opportunities, new technologies etc. so it makes a lot of sense to have a very strong balance sheet so we can move fast if the right opportunity arises.

Just-Eat is ready for the next chapter in our history, thanks to all who contributed so far! Back to running the business – money is nice, but the real deal is what you can do with those money, and that is all about satisfying restaurants and consumers.

PoundSign500px-Dollar_Sign.svgEuroSign

Professionalism in an entrepreneurial company

Yesterday, I was in Holland where I did a Q&A session with the Dutch team. Every once in a while I like to meet my colleagues locally the countries, where the local teams has the opportunity to ask all kinds of questions, and I have the opportunity to hear how they view the world and explain what direction Just-Eat is going. It is interesting for me to see what aspects are being brought up, and even though there always are some classics then there are some surprises here and there.

One of the issues we spend some time on yesterday was “professionalism”. Several people asked questions that were related to getting more structure & planning, more defined roles & responsibilities, better coaching & training, etc., i.e. all the stuff you would expect from a professional company.

Any successful, high-growth company goes through the different phases from idea/concept, early start-up, early growth, etc., and the trick is to get it right in each of the phases which are often very different from previous phases. And if a company doesn’t adjust quickly enough to a new phase (often pro-actively pushing into the next phase), then coming to the next level is only more difficult, if not impossible.

The challenge is that people also need to change. Some people are brilliant in one phase, but out of their depth (or just not motivated) in the other phases. A few can actually master many phases, extremely few work well in all phases. Nothing new here, this has been part of the technology and management literature for many decades, but the interesting thing is that it is still so difficult to get right, and the key reason for this is that “people” don’t get it. Or rather; they might understand to some extent, but they are not actually taking the full consequence.

In Just-Eat, one of the challenges we have is that we want our culture to represent both professionalism as well as entrepreneurialism. Entrepreneurialism I believe is about energy, willingness to take risks and mental flexibility. Key elements of professionalism is for me about applying the necessary levels of intelligence and structure. Some people believe the two things are not compatible. That is absolutely not true! It gets harder as a company grows, absolutely, but if you roll over and surrender to one view then it only gets worse.

Of course sometimes the two will clash, but at a closer look it happens less often than what we normally would think. Sometimes people that are out of their depths will complain about things no longer being entrepreneurial enough, and things are now “corporate and bureaucratic”. Likewise, sometimes some would say it is difficult because a situation is not handled professionally enough, “more time/analysis/structure/money” is needed, but maybe the problem is difficulty in getting on with fixing the problem, and taking a bit of calculated risks (“sometimes” is the key word here …). In many cases where I hear one of the two sides it is more excuses than real problems. Yes, it is tough sometimes to get it right, and I don’t always have the ultimate silver bullet either, but I am certain that the two sides can live together in healthy competition. When building high growth companies it is the right thing to balance the two. The right mix will change over time, but they both need to be there. Those that believe professionalism is equal to bureaucracy lose out on major opportunities.

At the personal level, I think it is important for all who loves to participate in building and growing businesses, that you do as was stated across the Apollo Temple in Delphi: “know thyself”. Understand what part of company building you are good at, and motivated by. Don’t fool your self into believing you are great in all phases. And be happy to leave the organisation the day you can see things are no longer good for you – and move on without moaning about how the company will now be destroyed and everything was better in the old days. You could of course be right, but the future progress of the company (or lack of) will typically tell the story.

Get the balance right in your culture for each phase, and I promise you have one of the most important things in place when building and growing a company. Very banal in theory, very difficult in practice.

yin-yang

Just-Eat launched on the Moon

I am so happy to announce that Just-Eat as the first internet company in the world has officially landed on the Moon. It has been a massive project to get the rocket build and all systems integrated into our API’s, and there has been a few errors and fatal casualties along the way, but we are all proud of what we now have achieved.

Here is one of the front pages covering the story – the astrounat is Rasmus. He is also the first to play the sax on the moon, but that is irrelevant for this story.

Feb2012 125

We would like to express our gratitude to our investors (yes, $4 bn is a lot of money, but how many VC’s have invested in a truly cloud penetrating company?), NASA for lending a first stage rocket (ok maybe not lending, but thanks anyway, you can get it back if you go to Latitude 2.460181, Longitude -157.500000) the Chinese for hacking into Boeing Systems and sharing with us and finally to the aliens of Planet X34Masala for transporting our slightly defunct spaceship most of the way.

What can we do with this experience, where will this take us? Mars is the obvious next frontier, but we are thinking bigger than that. There is a whole galaxy out there, Just-Eat will go universal. Come and join the first galactic internet company in our interstellar conquest. Everyone should be part of the revolution, don’t cook, just-eat is our banner.

NB: we are looking for restaurant entrepreneurs that want to set up shop on the Moon. Underlying demand right now is fairly low (the international space station is not far away, and they do like a good dim-sum), but if you are building your business for the long term, and enjoy space suits and lonely nights then this is a must. Real estate prices are low, and delivery scooters goes really-really fast.

New Chairman for the Just-Eat Group

Since I joined Just-Eat in the spring of 2008, I have been not only CEO, but also chairman. That is not the right structure for a company, and I have been wanting to change the set-up for a while, but it is not easy to find the right chairman for a company like ours. In the first couple of years it was not urgent to change, but since we did our series B round beginning of 2011, it has become an absolutely must. Luckily, after a very long search period we have finally found our new chairman!

It is with great pleasure that John Hughes going forward will take an active lead of our board (official press release of John Hughes joining Just-Eat is here). It is a relief for me, that I have a wing-man of that calibre, who will take charge of a big chunk of the overall governance of the company, which frees most of my time up to focus on running the company together with the Just-Eat the team. And it is also a great support for me, that I can lean on John’s experience when handling some of the strategic issues we constantly are dealing with in our fast paced company.

Just-Eat is constantly growing, in only a few days we can e.g. say that we have partnered with the clear leader in a major European market. All this growth is exciting, but it also adds complexity, and as we add more and more investors/owners to our company, then what is called “corporate governance” with a fine word becomes important.

John not only knows from own experience how governance works, but he also adds a lot of hands-on executive/operational experience from running mid-sized as well as really big tech companies; and he also has a great strategic mindset.

John will be an important asset for our company going forward, and it’s going to be great to team up with him as we develop our company the coming years.

Welcome on board John!