Ivan graduated in Physics Engineering and Electronics Engineering at Politecnico di Torino (with exchange programs at Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and University of California), and received an MBA from Collège des Ingénieurs.
Q: You were working at Innogest Capital, one of the leading and historic venture capital funds in Italy, but then in 2018 you decided to quit your job launch Deliveristo together with Luca Calia and Gabriele Angeleri. Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? What opportunity did you spot on the market?
Ivan: I worked at Innogest Capital for 4 years, and I learned a lot in that period. Every year we analysed more than 800 potential deals just in the digital sector, and I had the chance to work with the best entrepreneurs in Italy and in Europe. Therefore, among other things, I learned what are the most common mistakes that are normally made in the launch and development of a new venture, and how to try to avoid them.
I decided to become an entrepreneur because you get the urge by seeing so many motivated entrepreneurs and feeling the adrenaline that only the start-up industry transmits. I wanted to move to the other side of the fence.
In Innogest Capital we analysed opportunities in 4 key digital industries: foodtech, fashiontech, fintech, digital health. With Luca Calia we spot a great opportunity in the foodtech industry.
Over the last years, we experienced an evolution in the B2C food delivery (from restaurateurs to final consumers), but a digital player was still missing in the upstream part of the supply chain (from producers and distributors to restaurateurs).
We noticed that in many other countries (such as China, India and USA) there were players starting to digitalise the B2B food delivery, but in Europe there wasn’t a relevant digital player yet. So, we decided to create Deliveristo to serve the B2B food delivery segment, and connect restaurateurs and suppliers.
Q: Deliveristo is an online B2B delivery platform to simplify the Ho.Re.Ca. (Hôtellerie – Restaurant – Café) industry, allowing digital ordering and purchasing directly from producers and distributors. Can you better explain the Deliveristo business model? What are the distinctive elements of Deliveristo compared to its competitors?
Ivan: Currently, there are operators who are trying to approach the B2B food delivery market in two ways.
The first way is by creating advanced distributors, such as Meicai, Ninjacart, Cheetah, Procsea, Soplaya. These companies own warehouses from where they manage the deliveries, take care of the supply chain through own trucks and are usually focused on just one/few sector (e.g. Meicai and Ninjacart on fruits & vegetables, Procsea on fish).
The second way is the creation of pure software operators, such as Choco and Rekki. These are essentially messaging companies that allow restaurateurs to communicate more quickly with their suppliers.
With Deliveristo, we tried to create something unique, that is a pure software marketplace. We adopt a drop-shipping approach that doesn’t entail warehouse dynamics and costs, allowing a flexible and cost-effective logistics management. Our cloud-based platform allows even to manage and simplify the administrative aspects of the orders (e.g., payments and billing), for both restaurateurs and suppliers.
The service is totally free for restaurateurs, we retain a little commission from the supplier on its listed products, as we manage the order fulfillment part on its behalf. We are also able to manage shipments, if necessary, thanks to the integration with logistics operators.
The restaurateurs have the possibility to use a simple ordering service and find every types of products with a potentially infinite catalog. The platform allows them to store products online, replicate orders, access to constantly updated prices, which are exactly the same whether they buy from us or directly from the suppliers.
Furthermore, both restaurateurs and supplier can benefit form a single point of billing.
Our aim is a market where restaurateurs can find everything they need and order in the simplest and fastest possible way.
Q: What are the results achieved so far? What are the future developments of Deliveristo?
Ivan: We launched the company in late 2018, and last year we validated the business model in the city of Milan.
Today, our platform counts more than 300 suppliers, more than 20,000 registered products and more than 400 restaurateurs who have purchased on the platform. Thanks to the variety of products available, Deliveristo can reach both modern and traditional restaurants and it works also with stores and dark kitchens, which are particularly prone to the digitisation of food services.
Our next goal is to scale the model in other Italian cities, and then go abroad. We have already launched the service in two new cities, and we are going to serve 3 more cities by the end of 2021.
Q: You have just closed a € 4.5 million Series A investment round led by United Ventures. How was the fundraising process?
Ivan: In 2019, we raised € 1 million in a seed round from business angels with the aim of building the platform and validating the model in the city of Milan.
Last year our goal was to raise a Series A round. In July 2020, a pool of investors, including IAG, Gellify, Doorway, Seven – Angelomario Moratti, Metrica – Michele Novelli, subscribed a convertible instrument. The equity investment of United Ventures completed the round in December 2020.
The relationship with United Venture has been exceptional so far, and we are very happy to have them on board. They are all great professionals and we have been aligned on the vision in every meeting from day one.
Q: What do you think of Italian foodtech industry? What developments do you see for the foodtech industry in Italy?
Ivan: Food represents one of our country’s market pillars, Italians should focus on this industry, we cannot afford to be left behind.
Italy is experiencing an important boost in the foodtech space: just think about all the new verticalized incubators and accelerator programs, the recent fundraising rounds of Italian food start-ups and the acquisitions of start-ups by big corporates (e.g., just in the last few weeks: the significant Cortilia’s round, Campari’s participation in Tannico, trade sale of Pasta Evangelists by Barilla, etc.).
There are many food sectors with great opportunities. B2B foodtech in Italy and Europe is one of those, the game is still to be played and I believe there are the conditions of doing well.
Q: One last question: what do you think about the Italian start-up ecosystem?
The Italian start-up ecosystem is evolving.
When I was in Innogest Capital, during the last period I started to see an improvement in the quality of start-ups and entrepreneurs (compared with other countries that were light years ahead).
Now we see the first significant rounds, the first acquisitions, corporates which are paying more and more attention on innovation, which lead foreign investors to look at our country with greater interest and talents to stay. I firmly believe the virtuous circle has just started.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCALEUPITALY NEWSLETTER
For more info on Deliveristo, visit: https://www.deliveristo.com/