Catching Up with Steve Fanale, CEO of DriveYello
DriveYello is revolutionising how food is being delivered. Franchises, cafes, restaurants, and pizza joints are posting delivery jobs and need reliable drivers and riders to deliver their food.
Gen caught up with Steve Fanale, CEO of DriveYello, to talk about his journey, where DriveYello is headed, and how to retain top talent.
Watch the video here or look below to read the transcript:
S: Steve Fanale
G: Gen George
G: Hi gang, Gen George again from tamme! Today I'm live with Steve from DriveYello!
S: I’m a digital entrepreneur and have been around in the game now for just on 20 odd years. I started in the digital agency space [and] built a digital marketing platform called Traction out of that and we took that global with offices in New York and London. I sold that business the successful exit along with the Traction businesses well back in 2010 and had been in the startup space of a sense doing lots of mentoring at accelerators like nerdy and so in my own app incubator called the app village which I went for a year and a half and tool I decided that it was time to focus on a on a single product and service and that's when drive yellow came about and I've been running that in-house for actually coming up to our third birthday of the idea it was he was a cross franchisee and got a call that night to say that few drivers are cool see ya so and my instrument sponsor surely there's an app you can go on and play sort of that and it wasn't and this is pretty literary breeze through a whole bunch of what any other popular ordering platforms and we've been in the game since then is not only just that I Drive a management platform, but as logistics overall, but also just automatic so there's a big brands because we're b2b business who called them the b2c so we know let's run the ticket and the mic so so so it's a combination of the two and they don't necessarily see it so the consumer doesn't necessarily know her name but people at McDonald's and people at worse and the WS and and big brands in the local Apple Keynote down in Victoria, for example, they're all users a mini log is we were a partner with mini log so these are all brands who need assistance in providing last month delivery to their customers and that's what we do
G: That's fantastic! So, getting started in a two-sided marketplace is always difficult. So, how have you moved from, you know, I take that comforter than growing that to so much clicks?
S: Well, as soon as I started together so we all because in Australia what back then there wasn't many driver rider marketplaces so yeah so we had to create our own and we did that pretty easily a lot easily easier than we thought it was going to be actually, to be honest, but you know it's actually getting a little bit harder in ensuring you have a good it's one thing establishing it, but then you obviously have to ensure they're educated they're trained they're the right people for the job and so that's been the process of learning for us is that you know finding out exactly the process in the education required which they do the job that they need to do it is a marketplace so we don't employ them all in the connectors, but we are do still hold a level of responsibility if you like out the service we provide and we do that through the technology as well as, you know, drivers and riders have managed through the technology but also the consumer gets to track them and and that's a great offering that their brains that we work with one offer the consumer just
G: Fantastic. So, you've seen a lot of startups in your time [and] I'm sure will come and go from a marketplace point of view. What do you see the biggest challenges for startups to scale?
S: It's funny. You say the difficulty is scaling it. It's not so much. It's the requirement in Moscow [that] is probably the most challenging thing. You know, so you know some things just don't work at a small level so, therefore, you almost need a level of funding to get you to that level that actually makes the marketplace work, you know. Credibility as an early startup was hard even though we were very lucky in getting exposure from brands like McDonald's and big brands like many log with Tetra early in the piece and that helped one side of the marketplace's should say but speed of growth is probably what's required and just keeping that balance between the two is probably the most challenging thing and you know they were for example right now we've got probably more drivers than we need and that makes it hard to keep them engaged because you know if there's no work then they looking elsewhere so you know we have to start ramping that up and we are got some pretty big things happening in the next three or four months which you say it is and customer loyalty in sync with what's become a saturated market and with even customers per driver.
G: What do you do as a brand to surely keep them engaged?
S: That's a good question. Twelve volt is an interesting one we well is it is it even required is that your estimate right so you know do they do they need what I want to mean by voice your mother the oil to your brand.
G: Do they need to be exclusive?
S: That's a different thing you know, in a marketplace, so I guess and I think they need to be loyal they just need to see you as a an opportunity that is worth pursuing that is at least equal or near enough to be other players and in the mic like so obviously we're competing on a driver perspective with Uber riders, but we find that there are plenty of our couriers, yeah, who just work for all of us and they find that Sun shears or some opportunities work for all four through DriveYello and other work better through the other brands, you know, so I don't think I actually think it's been good having multi-players because they've helped grow the market and educate on how to do things and also just engaged people on long ago, but given the opportunity over time, you know, we may not really have the opportunity for them to be a full-time driver, but the combination of the three of us or four of us, then the consumer outcome will even think so all the more experiences will write you know. So, you know, it's like taxi drivers and British taxi drivers possibly the best because I know the geography and mapping service off my slider back to their their hand, but you know, we know for example, when a driver or riders worked a lot with in east rubbers or particulars a few suburbs they deliver faster. They know where the streets are without having to look them up on the map…but just know where it is…Definitely the opportunity that this multifaceted bill multi-drive a marketplace and from a leader or relationship point of view and we use hitting with companies working scale or…
G: I don't know [how] you guys…How do you manage your team to make sure they're on the same page and create a company culture?
S: Look that's difficult. I mean, I have built bigger teams than what we currently have in the person and what that is it can be quite complex and I suppose you get reminded of when you're not doing it right, to be honest, from time to time. But, you know, it is quite complex to keep people engaged and understand where the companies at the company and the way we try and do it is by communicating fairly regularly with our team. I mean, at this stage it's relatively easy because we know where at least. We're 14 in Australia at the moment, which is a decent size, but you know, as the team gets bigger, it's harder to do. That personal touch in the room…communication. So right now it's not too bad. We have weekly get-togethers or just catch-ups where we go, “This is what's happening and what's going in your space,” you know, put forward opportunities if we feel like the strategy's not quite working. We discussed that look at pivots, you know, that's what's happened more recently where we you know we were very focused on the sort of curacao space and we still have a very strong presence, but we're already looking at other verticals that can help us grow faster and complement to our space, you know. Our quick service restaurant is, you know, very heavy as far as lunchtime and dinner. The demand is very high, you know. But between those times, it can be quite sparse. So from that perspective, you know, if we find verticals that can fill those gaps, then all of a sudden the marketplace is busy 24/7.
G: So how do you think you've evolved yourself as a leader to keep learning? To keep making sure that you're ahead of the game?
S: Talk about people who are entrepreneurs, I mean, that's probably the main one for me, yeah. I mean, obviously, I attend a lot of events and presentations of fellow entrepreneurs and ones who have done it before. I suppose a lot of experience from people who are outside of my industry, you know, the podcast I listened to recently was around a guy who just expanded his gym – their work –and was all back on the basis of gym gear. Guys, you know, and the way he was an ex-vet who, you know, just happened to be…He was out there, you know on Iran, and needed something to keep him strong. He came up with this idea and now he's a multi-billion dollar company, you know, so just those are the things really inspire me: really simple products people who not necessarily have had a regular experience in in this sort of entrepreneur space you might hear some absolutely cool. And he started you know he's not a very light as willies means 50s when he when he chose well for this first time. It is, you know, first time that that definitely was inspire to someone rate to go and take that risk at that late age.
G: Yeah, and what kind of tools do they need? You guys use things really especially trying to scale with ease/
S: Yeah, look, this and the only sort of things is obviously very, very important to us. We probably don't leverage it as much as we should to be really honest. They, you know, every tool is only as good as what you use it for. We're looking at some sort of marketing automation tools which we think will be quite, quite beneficial going forward. Obviously our CRM side of things the customer success is really where what's important to us, you know, things like intercom. We're looking at platforms like me and commerce should say and the other things I think that will help us scale globally and enable us to service the customers and provide reduce the churn which is which is the key.
G: Yeah, how do you keep monitoring your comments? You do this daily and weekly?
S: Have your own business forever. We don't on't want to do it well enough we have data that's presented with some reports on a regular basis, but probably what we'd like to do is have that up on a board somewhere and so we see it every day, you know. Something that we're finding is we capturing lots and lots of data and we're currently talking about how we can visualize that they look much better than what we currently are yeah we have it in some sort of rudimentary reports, but that's something that needs to improve dramatically as far as I'm concerned. And that's what I think...That’s what will draw the success, you know, draw the importance of things. You don't realize how important some of these things are particularly. I think it's really just literally came out of a couple of meetings where I'm talking to Sal saying to customers existing detecting and they have all have their own perspective on what they think is important and this is where having those stats available to everyone and the understanding across the board which ones are important for the business perspective then all of a sudden a key feature which a technology person might think I don't really important to that I mean it's my supporting world why would you say, yeah, that's the challenge. You know, a company like ours where you have very different focuses and in some cases mindset you know so and try to blend them together to make more think about my style that's probably old school it's a combination of steam some boundaries but means it's it is challenging this is the hardest thing, actually. I think that it's important to try a stand business is wanting you know the individuals try as well as being part of a team. I mean my sports persons background I really enjoy in the motivation side of things, you know, trying to get people on board and that's what I think I've been able to doing all physicist recruit and engage them, but I haven't been perfect all the time. That’s the challenge - trying to keep the motivation going; trying to get everyone seen from the same…I think, yeah, that’s really what we would not even say the challenges and you work with a lot of cool words and you get a lot of questions from startups about hearing that's what your person how happy with you to babysit incumbent.
G: Yeah. What's your recommendations on how to handle the size of the corporate changes that the approach a little bit so obviously big multinational or even just large national orbits?
S: It is about being professional and you'll follow up in your presentation in your shoes and culture, but you know like a rock opera t-shirt until we release head swing me. No, seriously, you'll be somebody corporate - they're relatively casual these days as well. You don't see many cars at all, you know, the environment, also from that perspective.
G: You just got to try and match the level of formality, but what's more important is giving them confidence that you can do the job regardless of how big you are.
S: Yeah, we have meetings with McDonald's before we have in her product and they were we believe we sold the vision of what we wanted to be enough for them to engage us though and for a major corporation to do. That I think is a testament to our ability to sell the vision, but also I think it helps to have had lots of experience in doing…you know, like coming from an agency background, I learned a lot from working with in advertising companies and some really, really great salespeople and creative people selling and communicating to the CEOs of major corporations. So having that exposure meant that I was able to learn how to communicate what you say and what not to say and even just the way you should position your brand, your product, and everything else. And most important thing is that you have a story, you know, you create a story around one of these you're doing and try and get them to come along right and that's what I try and do. Whenever I do a pitch it's all about giving not just talking about features and functionality, you know, selling the benefits…but more importantly, making sure they're engaged in the whole process.
G: Yeah I've seen. You're good. It's hard to say what is the most important lesson.
S: Yeah, because if you're not learning on a regular basis, and you may want to go and work for someone else, to be honest. I think someone who's out there to not only enjoy - not only build a business - and ideally make a good living out of it. If not a good answer, but you've got to enjoy the ride and if for me the only way you can really enjoy it is if you're getting something out of it personally on the way and I do that on a weekly/monthly basis, you know. I'm learning all the time whether it be how to manage people. I mean it is challenging because like I've been managing people they offered you know 20 odd years and my management style has changed yet come back.
G: You changed, yes, sir.
S: Because it all depends like you're sitting on the other side of the table, right, you know so personality traits of the people you're managing also being taken which is how will you manage. Here, I often give this analogy again coming from a sporting background, you know a sporting coach can be you look at the coaches - here oatmealy for example - you know, you have Bellamy down in but who you can see screaming through his window and then you have a Wayne benefit sitting back and not saying work.
G: Right, yeah.
S: So yet they're both very successful so you can't say well that guy's going to be successful he said well they just applied the way in which they do things to an environment that's actually worked so I think that it comes down to who's who who's your team members and who was attracted to you and your personal so you starts up to raise capital in do what they say these corporate etc. trips for that person?
G: How do you manage your time from start-up when you make sure you don't lose focus from business?
S: Obviously keep the doors open.
G: Hmm, and then how do you approach the fundraising side of things?
S: Yeah, there are times in the business where you have to focus 100% on fundraising and there are times where you've got to do the reverse obviously a nice blend is good ideally you're not spending any time on fundraising at some stage yeah because you've raised enough funds and or you haven't needed to raise funds so it is a fine line. Sometimes I find that I just intuitively feel of where the business is at you know if I feel that the products slash business development needs my attention and it will spend more time in doing that and less time away from raising funds and learning the reverse as well, you know. So obviously there are deadlines sometimes is that or there's a really urgent meeting with a VC or a major client and that's a priority but it is it is sometimes just a little bit of intuition that drives you one way or the other because at the end of the day you've got to feel what you've got a prioritized based on what you think is going to be the most effective result for the business so managing I'm obviously the stress around that startup getting up and running the team etc mental Health's a huge part of payment being your best as a leader.
G: How do you manage mental health in your head space?
S: Yeah, it's a good question and have been I said before, I think it's a challenge one because a challenging one because I go through different phases of what I would focus on for that perspective. You know, exercise is a massive thing for me so I find that if I'm exercising regularly it sleep better. I'm less stressed - so I think that's number one for me. You know, I’ve gone through phases of yoga and meditation and things like that I'd like to see you concentrate three minutes. You know, I think the very valuable thing I just find that challenging when I feel like I've got a list of a hundred things to do in the way.
G: Yeah, but most importantly, you've just got to remain healthy, you know? Whatever it is that makes you healthy, whether that be relaxation, whether it be training, whether you know the mind space and you know all of that works together to making sure that you're more effective at work, right? Something I mean and the start-up ecosystem in Australia you know a lot of people this is a lot of support the community has accelerated a lot of the last five years. What are your thoughts?
S: Look, it has evolved a lot, you know. I think also in the last seven years.
G: That's right.
S: And you know, I was I was young enough to be around when the Internet boom that was the start-up space creation where you know we used to go to meetups with investors and okay, you know, I remember where the first meet ups were t-shirts and, you know, long hair taking and then all of a sudden happened there were lots of suits and it was a massive change, but it didn't change what I think is the most critical point and I still don't think it's quite there.
G: Yeah, I think we're doing really well in education. I think we're doing really well in support, you know, with all the pitch burners and mirror dudes, etc. in the world that we weren't even…I think we're doing well in that work. Where I think we're still behind the eight ball is in education to investors and just more people who've had successful start-ups who are willing to come back in the game
S: Yeah, I think that that's when things will take over as much as there is money here people are raising money there's lots of funds and all these sort of things. I still think the challenge is that with investors are still judging Australian companies as being Australian companies and the value in them as Australian companies and not viewing them as global companies all the potential to be a global company and that's where I think it really we struggle because I found up it's very hard for a family to be motivated if they lose 50 percent of their business on a three million dollar race, right? You know, it's just so…anyway things like accelerators there was I mean there's no to take investment sorry equity investments as well as none of that I know you've been through accelerators for the party that plays in the community accelerators believe in equity investment all this accelerators whether they do or don't take a crowd.
G: I'm sorry, do you think they should be?
S: I think there there's some, yeah. It's an interesting question, like, I think I that there are some accelerators or some programs - not all of them are accelerators -to some programs that I think you've used it a little bit…you know, without naming names…but there are others that are faded.
G: Yeah, you know they are adding and in some cases you want them on your books anywhere. You want them on your register, you know, so from that perspective I think corporate investment is critical in Australia whilst we don't have the VC's in the private equity guys who are willing to invest at a higher valuation the corporates gonna be willing to that I think they're more likely to.
S: Yeah in my opinion.
G: Yeah, and I think…I don't know if I'm not saying that as being a greedy. I don't know that I'm saying that isn't what I think it is…He said they've got certain budgets that they will have and you know their primary goal could be about the complementary business they might be assisting to help them with their own business value they get out is more than just the investment side.
S: Yeah, so therefore they might be willing to evaluate particularly when they can contribute to that growth.
G: Now there are counter arguments that which is you know they because they contributed the graphic or they discounted.
S: Yeah, right, but if we really want startups to grow, we really want school involvement in that you've got I think got to come to the table with that sort of attitude and some of the corporates have that we've been dealing with around that subject matter have been really good.
G: Yeah, they've really taken a more I would say favored over time.
S: Yeah, yeah and they understand that the startup and the way that people involved in the are there and want to be engaged because they want to engage that's successful for everybody and a lot of them struggle with innovation, so you know, outsourcing innovation or lists for one of a better description is actually really good for their business.
G: Yeah, definitely. And do you think there's more money in the market or level two stars compared to there was seven years ago?
S: Just so you know, percent smaller than valuation in it I think there is more money, yeah, and I think there's definitely more funds. You have vegetable clubs the innovation boom with Malcolm Turnbull's campaign has had an impact on maybe he was at least it was hitting some you know it's better than previous prime ministers who didn't even give it a name mentioned right, but it's still not making any major way so I don't think you know.
G: I can't remember the exact article that I read recently, but you know they were talking about the doom and gloom of our industries and there was no mention of the of the potential and positivity around technology, but yeah.
S: Yeah, you know, so that that still shows that is probably you know a little bit to go from a government perspective, but I think is definitely funding around I just think that like I said to you like I think we haven't had the major successes and therefore the investors that are here are ones that are fairly conservative as it potentially may make money off of fairly conservative type businesses technology world is a risky business but it came with risk can be great rewards and I think that it's a different mindset among investors.
G: Awesome, and this is back to your business - they're waiting to me in three to five years. We’ll definitely have international prisons from a software perspective technology perspective that is there. I mean, I would say that within three to five years I would say with either being taken out by a competitor or try and sell a subform.
S: Well it's not written that interestingly enough like with a company in the state school and for us they have exactly the same vision as we do and it's probably the first company that we saw that has really got exactly what we want of course not although they have raised 65 million so they raise I think they raise 520k and 45k. Okay so and they're identical justified right, but at the same time, you can see that even if there are early stages the funding difference you know 4c versus series a because it's just talking cheese.
S: Yeah, so you know if you get five million bottles as a CFO I see grass we can do a hell of a lot of that right you know you can grow faster you can build a team - you can you can make things happen. You get 300k there's not a little you can you can be doing.
G: A really good website I just find that the opportunity you're asked what's more important is we have to go overseas to get a sense of oppression yeah so if we're gonna get a sense of the traction, we need the money more the American class to actually get that level of traction yet. We're homeless right, sir, so from that perspective that’s where the challenges of restraint is. This operating from Australia and so really well you have this is what if like so many that go over to the U.S. and do what they do we use any of the landing pad initiatives?
S: Yeah, well, that's what we're currently considering for that expected I'm a beak-like I before going over there I want someone who's working with us who's local and as much as I know you, am I to just take the whole team over there from our space?
G: It's something.
S: Yeah, I suppose it is relatively competitive or seen as competitive, but although as an example of what can be done. I think that that's just proven invalidated that there is a there is a model that works within this space that isn't enumerates deliverable, etc.
G: Yeah, would you consider and this is a huge fascination with going to the States from Australia? I can considered another market, or is there a reason why you’ve chosen to say no we have considered other markets and we're still considering those.
S: Singapore is actually one market currently considering the UK is potentially one, but even Europe in general - but that has its own set of challenges around that. So we're at this stage open to we're going to do some tests basically so we're going to once we've dispatched to launch our SAS subscription models and as soon as we do that we're gonna test and learn in different markets and then we'll put that sort of …you know, we can leverage existing relationships that we have you know we have some several international clients. So from that I think we would be tapping into those that are present.
G: Whether the U.S., right?
S: That's right, yeah. Never works.
G: I ask this to everyone: “What is your - if you could have a superpower, what would it be?
S: Ah, it's funny. there was something on Facebook the other day and there was free options he was a go back in time…
G: Yeah, invisibility…
S: Yeah, and the third one I can't remember off the top of my head, but I said go back in time or try and travel.
G: Yeah, because then you could always go back and choose a different one.
S: Yeah, in all seriousness, Tom Carroll would be because you'd learn a lot from history real history and obviously learned tremendous about what's coming, what's coming futures.
G: It’s amazing, every single entrepreneur ever spoken to you says something that time a really regaining time going back and changing things or just it's always time-based.
S: Yeah, that's interesting.
G: Yeah, but is so precious. The month is almost over like that.
S: Yeah, he's flustered. You know, it's like it's feeling well.
G: Thank you so much, really appreciate it. Check out the site.
S: Yeah, the main way which people can support us is what we're doing a couple things so we obviously fundraising so from that perspective, if there's any interest in investing in an organization like us who are scaling very quickly and looking to go international, then we love to hear from him or introduce this into to someone who could help us - not just with any cash, but be part of the team. And from an employment perspective, we are hiring tech team at the moment, so we're looking to grow our team as well as our mobile team. So if your people work there and from a business development perspective anyone who's looking any company that's looking for last mile delivery that wants to compete against Amazon who are just about to get out Shores, then we are the company should work. Trust me. Thank you.
G: Thanks guys, and we'll see you next time!