With the recent acquisition of Cornershop, Rappi’s $200M round and Uber Eats continued expansion, Latin America’s last mile delivery market has heated up. In November, Movile’s iFood blew it out of the water by raising another $400M to continue to expand the business. In the past 10 years, over 50% of the region connected to the Internet, creating a booming market for e-commerce and other online businesses. The growth of food delivery startups, especially in Latin America’s biggest markets, has been propelled by this trend. The Brazilian market leader is iFood, with over 6 million users, 1000 employees, and 10,000 independent delivery drivers.
In this episode of Crossing Borders, I sat down with iFood CEO, Carlos Moyses, to talk to him about the delivery market opportunity, iFood’s growth through acquisitions in the early 2010s, building culture across borders, and Carlos’ personal story from finance to startups. Check out this episode to learn why some of the biggest players in Brazil’s startup ecosystem have backed this food delivery business.
Food delivery is more than just pizza
Brazilians were very quick to adopt online food delivery. Carlos says Brazilians were already used to ordering pizza, so picking up new cuisines was a small change in behavior. The hardest part of building iFood was explaining to restaurant owners and users that delivery was not the same as a daily deals company, which were growing very quickly across Latin America and might have been Brazilians only other ecommerce experience at the time.
Check out the rest of this episode to hear Carlos explain who his biggest competitor is (hint: it’s not a food delivery company!) and how food delivery is evolving in Brazil.
Tech is the only way to quickly scale a business
Carlos got his start in traditional business as a financial advisor. Like many of my previous guests, he watched as tech companies surged past traditional corporations by eschewing bureaucracy and relying on talented teams to scale at an exponential rate. Carlos’ intro to tech through daily deals sites Grupalia and Peixe Urbano launched him into the world of entrepreneurship during a time when Groupon clones across Latin America were receiving unprecedented international investment.
Find out how Carlos transitioned his entrepreneurial career from daily deals to food delivery in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Why iFood scaled outside of Brazil
Very few Brazilian startups choose to enter the Spanish-speaking Latin American market. iFood already has a presence in Mexico and Colombia, and plans to expand further. Carlos attributes this expansion to their international investors, Naspers and Movile, who have pushed iFood to become a global company. With over 1000 employees, many of whom are former entrepreneurs brought into the team via acquisitions, iFood is well-placed to continue dominating the Brazilian market.
Check out the rest of the episode to learn how Carlos builds company culture across borders to maintain unity at iFood.
Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy and also one of its most challenging markets. iFood is betting that Brazilians will be ordering more delivery over the coming decade, and they have some big names backing them. Listen to iFood CEO, Carlos Moyses, explain the potential of the Brazilian market in this episode of Crossing Borders.
[1:21] – Nathan introduces Carlos
[2:34] – Brazil’s tech ecosystem
[4:15] – How big is iFood today?
[7:02] – Where are you from originally?
[9:24] – The shift from corporations to entrepreneurship
[10:55] – Lessons learned from building a business
[13:00] – How did you make the leap to tech?
[14:53] – The Groupon Mafia in Brazil
[16:53] – The state of food delivery in Brazil in 2012
[19:24] – iFood’s acquisition spree
[22:21] – How to integrate new companies into the culture
[24:10] – The iFood inflection point
[26:30] – How did you decide to expand outside of Brazil?
[28:00] – The competitive delivery market
[29:00] – Cultural differences between the countries where iFood works
[31:02] – Are your delivery-people employees?
[32:40] – Next big challenge for iFood
[34:27] – Carlos’ advice to his younger self