How Delivery Hero became an industry leading delivery platform in less than 10 years
10 questions with Emmanuel Thomassin, Chief Financial Officer at Delivery Hero.
Emmanuel, what’s your mission as Chief Financial Officer?
My first mission at Delivery Hero was “IPO readiness,” in other words to prepare the company for a potential IPO*. This was back in late 2013 and the main task was to build professional, dedicated and hard-working teams with the relevant experience. Only then could we realistically think about a potential IPO. The preparations required patience, time and a lot of effort in order to be ready.
Today, I see my role as being a representative of the company towards investors, banks and so on, but also as a business enabler. I make sure that my teams are thinking about the legal and technical consequences of our innovations, new verticals, protecting the interests of our employees and investors, while at the same time exploring new paths.
*Delivery Hero went public on the German stock market on 30 June 2017.
How long have you been at Delivery Hero? How have you seen the industry change during this time?
I started to interact with Delivery Hero back to December 2013 and officially started in January 2014. Since then, the industry has changed dramatically in many, many ways. We’ve gone from a straightforward marketplace business to a hybrid model (including own delivery). We’ve had new entrants, new competitors, and the size of our investments and financing rounds increased significantly.
Today, Delivery Hero stands for delivering anything, for world-class logistics expertise and excellent operations – even though we started out as being “only” a marketplace in 2014.
Delivery Hero operates in over 40 countries across four continents. What opportunities and challenges does that bring from a finance and legal perspective?
Leading over 40 countries is highly complicated. You need to secure the infrastructure in terms of software solutions, performance and services. The business is ‘on’ 24/7 and the topics are endless. Our footprint has also grown dramatically. We entered emerging markets and regions that no one would have imagined back in the day.
The local, regional and central teams need to align on timeline and expectations, communicate well and be available to support each other. The complexity in terms of tax or legal topics increases with every country we enter, with new tax rules, new approaches. We need to remain open to new cultures but at the same synchronise or fulfil requirements according to international standards (like IFRS).
Delivery Hero just entered the DAX. What does that mean for the future of the company? What does it mean for you personally?
Entering DAX* is a recognition for all our Heroes. The success of our business model and platform operations are acknowledged by investors. Consequently, being listed in the highest league of German companies is important. But it has never been our main motivation to become a part of DAX.
Today, Delivery Hero stands for delivering anything, for world-class logistics expertise and excellent operationsEmmanuel Thomassin
We have the chance and the privilege to build a very unique company, to be in an extremely dynamic and innovative industry and change the daily life of millions of customers across the globe. Their satisfaction and loyalty is our main motivation, the rest will logically follow.
*In August 2020, it was announced that Delivery Hero would be entering the DAX, a blue chip stock market index consisting of the 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
From IPO to DAX within roughly three years means a steep growth curve. How can you make sure that all internal processes, compliance, governance, and so on, keep up with that pace?
The legal requirements for an MDAX or DAX listed company are the same. Our departments are working with the same degree of professionalism, no matter the listing.
DAX means more public exposure and visibility. The scrutiny of the company will likely increase, and business decisions, measures, and initiatives will potentially be examined in a more thorough way.
From a compliance or governance point of view, we should continue on the same path, accelerate some projects but essentially keep the same spirit: Building a transparent, honest and responsible company, driven by its core values – We always aim higher, We deliver solutions, and We are Heroes because we care.
There has been a lot of speculation recently around when Delivery Hero will break even. What is your take on profitability?
Our goal is building a company that brings amazing experiences to our customers, offers a great place to work for our employees, and is embracing innovation and sustainable growth. Profitability is something that will follow naturally. However, two segments are already profitable or break-even today – MENA and Europe – and we continue to grow tremendously. The path to overall profitability is clear and this remains a constant focus.
Striving for excellence at Delivery Hero is probably my main motivation. Working with our Heroes on the path to excellence is just sensational.Emmanuel Thomassin
Between roadshows and visiting local teams, you usually travel a lot for work. Has the pandemic affected this part of your work? How do you stay in close contact with both markets and investors when you can’t go to see them physically anymore?
The impact is clearly on the physical presence during the meetings. Technically, the number of contacts or calls did not suffer from COVID-19 and I think that the quality of the interactions is really good. But I am missing the physical proximity in a room, the coffee you share, the atmosphere during a meeting. I sometimes find it harder to perfectly interpret the reactions of the recipients, partners, or investors via a screen.
Being CFO and having a family surely can be challenging at times. Having gone from working out of our Berlin HQ to primarily working from home, how do you manage to keep a balance?
I am a very lucky one to not be giving a standard answer here. My family understands the commitments of such a great adventure. They know how dedicated I am to Delivery Hero, how thankful I am to be part of this journey. So they are patient with me and support me a lot. At the same time, I really try to protect my private life and search for real quality time. But selfishly, I must recognize that they probably struggle more than I do with the long hours spent at Delivery Hero.
What motivates you?
Building a company and shaping an industry from almost zero is fascinating. We are changing the way of living and eating (one of the very basic needs of the human being) across the globe. We are innovative and successful as a company but also humble. Nothing is forever and we are far from being perfect. Striving for excellence at Delivery Hero is probably my main motivation. Working with our Heroes on the path to excellence is just sensational.
From startup to IPO to DAX – what’s next? Where do you see Delivery Hero going in the future?
Becoming THE delivery platform for the daily needs of our customers must be our main goal. And keep on being a Hero, as a kind of aspiration for current and future candidates.