Delivery key for Aussie retailers as Amazon comes calling

Amazon has allegedly claimed that it plans to “destroy” the Australian retail market, and with its efficient business solution, ­superb data analysis and emphasis on customer service it looks like the global player might actually do it.

We’ve already seen the impact of international brands on local retailers. While Coles and Woolworths remain giants in the grocery space, the rise of German chain Aldi in recent years has started making a dent. Woolworths’ market share has fallen over the past two years while Aldi has experienced a rise in both market share and consumer base.

Delivery is going to become the battleground for both online and bricks-and-mortar storefronts. Any Aussie retailer who does not have a competitive and ready-to-go delivery solution will be caught in the crossfire.

Last financial year Australians spent an estimated $41.3 billion online, up more than 9 per cent from the previous financial year. So with a giant like Amazon that covers everything from books to fresh food, homewares to entertainment, the real battle for Australian retail is going to be how much of that online spend they can keep in Australia. Currently, one of the biggest factors working against Australian businesses is time. Amazon will not afford businesses the ­luxury of developing, testing and deploying a suitable delivery ­solution. Instead, they will be ­acquiring their market share. Once acquired, getting that back from Amazon is a much higher hurdle to overcome.

For stores such as Coles and Woolworths, which are already offering delivery with sub­optimal results, the next few years are going to be particularly challenging.

So what can businesses actually do to stop Amazon from ­destroying both the industry and local livelihoods?

Firstly, it’s not going to be just about innovation.

The US is a particularly competitive market and one whose lessons Amazon is going to ­attempt to transfer here. Putting aside pricing and product offerings, the real problem for Aussie retailers will be finding a solution for the delivery space that can evolve as the needs of consumers change.

The solution must also be both commercially sound and sustainable for the long term. All the ­innovation in the world won’t help if you can’t deploy it, scale it, and sustain it to create operat­ional stability.

Equally important is the need for local businesses to embed flawless customer service and user experience in their offerings. Amazon does this with an unmatched passion and capability; I myself have been an enthusiastic Amazon user since 2004. Since Amazon has decided that this market warrants proper attention, its impact on Australia will be both profound and transformative. Businesses need to stop taking the status quo for granted and instead embrace the developing demands that are modern retail.

The simple “two pizza rule” that Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos mandated is a great ­example. If you’re not able to feed a meeting room with just two pizzas, you’re not going to be fast and nimble enough to take on Amazon.

The good news is that there are ways to compete against Amazon and even beat it at its own game.

Already in China and India, countries Amazon has been targeting online, e-commerce websites Taobao and Flipkart outrank Amazon in local markets. Australian retailers should take advantage of these examples by focusing on their knowledge of the local market while offering a globally sustainable ­solution to online shopping and delivery.

These types of opportunities will be available but they will not be successful unless you’re willing to adopt a profound and ­timely change at the speed the market demands, with passion and single-minded determination to actually make it work.

For those traditional retailers who are already behind the times, it may already be too late.

Bane Hunter is the executive chairman of delivery and software logistics company GetSwift.

Little Caesars hopes to overtake Australian pizza market

Ernie Koury, Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia, hopes to open 400 stores across the country.

Ernie Koury, Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia, hopes to open 400 stores across the country.

IF YOU thought the pizza market was already overcooked, think again — because a US heavyweight is hoping to take a big slice of our $3.7 billion action.

Established in 1959, American pizza chain Little Caesars has their sights set on Australia’s fast food market, and hope to become the biggest pizza franchise in the country.

Opening its first store in Casula in 2014, it’s been a slow burn for the franchise to develop across the country — with just four stores currently sitting in NSW.

But according to Australian director, Ernie Koury, the goal is to boom that number well into the hundreds over the next decade.

Ernie Koury is Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia.Source:News Corp Australia

Ernie Koury is Director and owner of Little Caesars, Australia.Source:News Corp Australia

 

“The market itself could easily sustain 400 Little Caesar franchises,” Mr Koury told news.com.au.

“But it’s important to get it right. This is not a contest of speed, and about how many stores I can build as soon as I arrive.”

Mr Koury, said his slow rollout is part of the plan to “develop the exact product required for the Australian consumer”.

“If I came to Australia and opened 20 stores at once, then realised we needed to change the format of our business to cater for local requirements — that would be much harder to do,” he said.

“That’s why we opened a single store, provided a product, and observed how it suited the marketplace.

“When you begin any venture like this, you need to make sure you have a core offering that you can watch, manage control and develop.”

Little Caesars Pizza currently has four stores in Australia, with the goal of reaching at least 400.Source:News Corp Australia

Little Caesars Pizza currently has four stores in Australia, with the goal of reaching at least 400.Source:News Corp Australia

 

Mr Koury says after Sydney, he hopes to open five more stores in Australia by the end of this year. And while he isn’t definitive on location, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and regional Queensland are all in his sights.

As the third largest pizza franchise in the US, Mr Koury says his ‘Hot-N-Ready’ offering — which allows consumers to purchase and collect a pizza within 30 seconds — is an industry gamechanger.

“There’s lots of meal time choices out there, but it’s how we service our customers — by eliminating the planning and ordering ahead — that can’t be beaten,” he said.

“You can walk in, and within 30 seconds you can have a pepperoni or cheese pizza available straight away.

“Pizza is traditionally a longer term sale process with a lot of planning involved. But with our drive-through service, it actually takes longer to receive your change than to get a pizza.

“It’s something you can’t get anywhere else in the country.”

Australian’s love their pizza, with Dominos and Pizza Hut gobbling up majority of the fast food pizza market. Picture: Jono Searle. Source:News Corp Australia

Australian’s love their pizza, with Dominos and Pizza Hut gobbling up majority of the fast food pizza market. Picture: Jono Searle. Source:News Corp Australia

 

The Australian pizza market is currently dominated by Dominos, who have around 600 stores plotted across the country. Their franchise accounts for almost half of the sector, with Pizza Hut coming in second.

Last year, Pizza Hut brought out a significant portion of the troubled Eagle Boys pizza chain after they went into administration, and begun converting some of their stores with Pizza Hut’s own branding, boosting their overall store count to more than 320.

Research by IBISWorld predicts revenue growth of 2.3% in the pizza industry from $3.5 billion in 2013-14 to $3.9 billion in 2018-2019.

In the US, Little Caesars comes in as the third biggest pizza chain — after their first store was opened in Michigan almost 60 years ago.

The company has over 4000 stores in the US alone, and according to Nation’s Restaurant News, was recording annual sales of US$3.4 billion ($4.5 billion) in the US in 2015.

In Australia, the franchise has around 120 employees across NSW in its four stores.

“My father was the first franchisee to start Little Caesars in the western states of the US, starting off in Arizona” Mr Koury told news.com.au.

Domino's Pizza currently has more than 600 stores across Australia. Picture: Jamie Hanson.Source:News Limited

Domino's Pizza currently has more than 600 stores across Australia. Picture: Jamie Hanson.Source:News Limited

 

“As a chain that was around Michigan, his store was the first Little Caesars to start the expansion across the country.

“From the age of seven, I was rolling dough with my family, where myself and my siblings worked from a very young age.

“Arizona turned into one of the best markets in the country, which is when he set his sights on Australia.”

Moving to Australia in 1986 to scout the market, Mr Koury’s father decided “the time wasn’t right” to bring the pizza franchise down under.

“My brother and I owned El Paso, Texas and a store in Southern Mexico which we sold in 2009,” he said.

“Then in 2014, I packed up my family and moved to Australia — opening a store in Casula later that year.”

Mr Koury said his business model went through some major adjustments in 2016, after feedback from consumers from his pilot store.

Initially, Little Caesars didn’t have the delivery service, and they also served a pizza “too big” for Australian consumers.

“We needed to launch a fleet of scooters because delivery is so big here,” he said.

“Customers also complained that our sizing was too big, there was waste, so we changed our pizza from 14-inches to 12-inches, and lowered our price for Pepperoni and Cheese to just $5.”

Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizza offering means consumers can get their 12-inch pizza in just 30 seconds.Source:News Corp Australia

Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizza offering means consumers can get their 12-inch pizza in just 30 seconds.Source:News Corp Australia

 

Australia has become hot property for American fast food chains looking to expand their empire.

In 2016, controversial burger chain Carl’s Jr. opened their first Australian store on the NSW Central Coast.

The chain, which is known for it’s over-the-top burgers and sides, already operates in more than 30 countries.

At the time of opening, Carl’s Jr. had the vision of setting up more than 300 restaurants over 10-15 years.

To date, the chain has just two stores in the country.

Since its inception in 1948, burger chain In-N-Out has gained a cult following all over the world for its simple but tasty burgers.

Based out of Irvine, near Los Angeles, In-N-Out outlets can be found all over California. It’s also expanded to outlets in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Oregon.

And while the chain has no intention on moving permanently to our shores, they have ‘popped-up’ in several establishments across Sydney over the years — causing burger-mania in its wake.

Just last month, the chain set up shop in Surry Hills, where obsessive burger lovers lined up hours ahead to get their hands on a burger.

From a nutrition standpoint, Australia has one of the highest obesity counts in the world — with almost two in three adults either overweight or obese.

That’s more than 10% higher than in 1995.

With consumers shifting away from fast food options, and into healthier alternatives to combat our growing waistline — Mr Koury believes his offering still has a place in the market.

“We make our dough from scratch, and never use concentrated tomatoes in our sauce,” he said.

“We are always exploring new products, and are working on a salad concept within our stores. “But from a nutrition standpoint, we take measures to make our pizza healthier — by not using oil in the pan, and having corn meal instead, and by not adding MSG to our pizzas.

“So when I look at pizza, and people say its horrible for you — we aren’t selling it as an every day option. It should be a fun food, and a treat.”

GetSwift appoints former Qantas chief information officer Jamila Gordon as its Global CIO

Fresh from its debut on the ASX last month, logistics software company GetSwift has announced the appointment of Jamila Gordon, a non-executive director, to the role of Global Chief Information Officer.

Gordon has been tasked with leading the company’s digital vision, overseeing all client integration and ensuring the stability and security of the GetSwift platform.

Bane Hunter, executive chairman of GetSwift, welcomed Gordon’s appointment, saying, “Jamila’s extensive capabilities in digital and IT transformation, plus her background working at blue-chip multinational institutions, leaves her incredibly well equipped to manage our growing IT needs and provide innovative, efficient solutions for our platform and IT environment.”

The role with GetSwift is Gordon’s first with a startup; Gordon has worked with the likes of IBM and Deloitte across Europe, returning to Australia in 2007 to join Qantas as its Group CIO, working to transform the company’s IT. She most recently worked with CIMIC Limited.

The road to working in tech was a long one for Gordon. She started an accounting degree at LaTrobe University, then picked up a software programming elective and fell in love.

“I was really good with numbers and I thought I’d enjoy it…but I was spending more time on the one elective compared to all my other subjects, and I had this amazing lecturer who said, ‘just follow your passion,’ and I thought, what do I have to lose?” Gordon said.

“I’ve always been a risk taker so I thought to myself, I’m just going to give it a go because I love it; if I don’t get a job out of it I can always go back to university.”

Gordon’s appetite for risk taking came through her upbringing in Somalia. Civil unrest began to rise when she was a teenager, leading her father to try to get her brothers and sisters out of the country; Gordon was sent to Kenya to live with relatives she had never met.

“I was basically a refugee in Kenya at 18…I realised then, I needed to get somewhere because I had no home to go back to. I then met an Australian backpacker who sponsored me to come to Australia and that’s what drove me to go to university; I wanted to be able to look after yourself,” she said.

With that experience in mind, taking a chance on a new degree was a breeze.

Gordon said, “It would never be as bad as being homeless in Kenya, so I was able to put it into perspective.”

In joining GetSwift, the smallest company she has worked for, Gordon has put its size into perspective by looking at its potential.

“Startups are where the excitement is, where the high-impact global businesses of the future are born. GetSwift is a huge disruptor in the last-mile delivery space; my prediction is that they’ll be the Facebook of that space,” she said.

“Looking at their track record, they’ve been around just 20 months, and in that time they’ve become a global organisation, working in over 50 counties around the world, and their solution solves a genuine business problem.”

The business is working with businesses in over 300 cities around the world, among them grocery delivery startup Instacart in the US, and Australian fast food company QSRH, which owns chains including Red Rooster and Oporto.

Red Rooster says home delivery a silver bullet

from news.com.au

 

IT’S the year of the Rooster, and not just for the Chinese.

Red Rooster, the ageing chicken brand founded 45 years ago in Western Australia, is undergoing its very own cultural revolution, with plans for a major expansion into NSW and Victoria as it sets its sights on Domino’s in the home delivery market.

Chief executive Chris Green, who joined two years ago after nearly three decades at McDonald’s, has kicked off a massive transformation program, refurbishing ageing stores, rolling out a fleet of 400 distinctive red delivery cars, and launching a loyalty program which has already signed up 300,000 members.

With 360 stores, Mr Green plans to open 15 to 20 new locations every year out to 2020. Red Rooster is now turning over $480 million in revenue and is on track to hit $500 million this financial year off sales growth of more than 5 per cent.

“This financial year we’re going to have the strongest growth for a long time,” he said. “The previous year was probably three to four per cent, but the last two years we’ve been outpacing the industry.”

Delivery, he said, has been the key to Red Rooster’s new-found success. Launched two years ago in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills, delivery has expanded to 240 stores and now accounts for 10 to 30 per cent of sales, the majority of which has been incremental growth.

“We refer to it as the ‘silver bullet’ internally, it’s massive,” Mr Green said.

He said while Domino’s had dominated the delivery market, “Woolworths and Coles don’t deliver roast chickens, so there’s sort of a hole in the market”.

“The growth has been amazing,” he said.

“It’s introduced new people to the brand, whereas in the past they might have driven past some of our locations, which maybe didn’t look so good on the outside. Probably a key part of it is the red delivery car. These shiny red cars are all around the neighbourhood of the franchisee providing great marketing.”

Red Rooster has invested around $1.5 million developing its own online ordering system, as well as partnering with Menulog. “People are discovering Red Rooster on Menulog, and it might be either the first time they’ve had it, or they haven’t had it for a long time,” he said.

The new store push will be focused on inner-city areas in Sydney and Melbourne, where the brand has traditionally had difficulty finding drive-through sites. Most of the prime real estate is taken up by McDonald’s.

 

A new, smaller-format store in the style of Domino’s or Subway shopfronts, will solve that problem. “In Sydney, there are actually about two million Sydneysiders that can’t access Red Rooster,” Mr Green said.

“But this new model, because it’s reliant on delivery, it opens up a lot of new areas.”

Franchisees’ capital expenditure for the small-format store is around $350,000 to $400,000, compared with costs in excess of $750,000 for a typical drive-through location. Rental costs are also much about half those of a drive-through, generally under $100,000.

“We’re targeting $20,000-plus per week in sales [at the new stores], but our first location in Goulburn has already exceeded all expectations,” Mr Green said.

Going forward, the business is aiming for a 50/50 split of drive-throughs and small-format shopfronts. Currently the business has 300 drive-throughs, 30 smaller stores and 30 stadium or airport locations.

“When we can get a drive-through that will always be an option, but in built-up areas like the northern beaches or inner-city Sydney, those locations are very difficult to source,” he said.

Mr Green said Red Rooster was taking lessons from Domino’s, even rolling out GPS tracking to more than 40 restaurants. “They’ve absolutely been the leader but I would say in the last two years we’ve almost become off the charts as a strong competitor,” he said.

“There are some things that Domino’s does that are gimmicks, we’re probably a bit more focused on the customer.”

‘FAILED TO EVOLVE’

The Red Rooster brand has “enormous opportunity” that has largely been missed over the past decade or so, Mr Green said.

“I’d always admired Red Rooster as a brand,” he said on his decision to leave McDonald’s. “It probably was at its height in the ‘80s and ‘90s and it went through a bit of a decline after that.

“They were owned by Coles in the ‘80s and ‘90s and that’s when the brand did really well. It had that parent that was able to guide it both from a brand and real estate perspective.

“But from around 2000 to really about three years ago, it failed to evolve, and mainly that was a lack of reinvestment in the restaurants, so a lot of restaurants did become rundown.

“So it was a big attraction — a well established Australian brand with lots of opportunity to capture and grow.”

Mr Green said the first thing he did when he came on board was work with franchisees to refurbish the ageing stores. In his first year the company worked with franchisees — Red Rooster only has 10 company-owned stores — to refurbish 75 restaurants, when in the previous two or three years there had been fewer than 10.

“A lot of the signage was replaced, the exteriors were painted, gardens were cleaned up, the dining rooms, floors, settings, tables and ceilings [were redone],” he said.

“So that was big. That signalled a lot of change to people that had maybe stopped visiting Red Rooster because the competitors looked better.”

Menu changes, including salads, updating the 30-year-old coleslaw recipe, and introducing new seasonings, have also had an impact, he said.

Overall, the Year of the Rooster is looking big for parent company Quick Service Restaurant Holdings, which also owns Oporto and Chicken Treat.

QSRH was bought by private equity firm Archer Capital for $450 million in 2011. Archer is mulling either a stock market float or sale of the business later year.

Mr Green said if he had to bet, he would say an IPO was more likely. “But it’s open to both,” he said. “The most important thing is we have differentiated strategies for all three brands and different target markets.”

QSRH’s three brands have a 25.4 per cent market share of the $2.9 billion takeaway chicken shop industry in Australia, according to IBISWorld, behind KFC operator Yum! Brands which has 41.6 per cent market share.

Restaurant group Collins Foods, which also operates a number of KFC restaurants in Queensland, WA and NT, has a 15.5 per cent market share, while Nando’s sits on 10.8 per cent.

“Like many fast-food providers, [QSRH] has faced increasing competition from new forms of fast food over the past five years,” IBISWorld industry analyst Andrew Ledovskikh said. “Profit has remained relatively steady despite weak revenue growth, as a focus on franchising revenue has supported profit margins.”

New York-based logistics SaaS GetSwift heading back to Melbourne to open global R&D HQ

From Startup Daily

After 18 months in New York, Australian logistics software startup GetSwift is heading back home to open its global headquarters in Melbourne ahead of an ASX listing next month.

While keeping a presence in the US to serve its North and South American clients, the startup will move its operations base and research and development hub to Melbourne, expected to grow to around 30 staff over the next few years.

Joel MacDonald, founder and CEO of GetSwift, said the startup made its way to New York last year with the simple goal of “[proving] we could match it with the best of them”.

He said, “We wanted to show a nimble Aussie company could shake it with these American titans and we found quite quickly we were onto something.”

Since evolving out of alcohol delivery startup Liquorun, the startup’s white labelled delivery optimisation platform has been picked up by clients in over 50 countries around the world, among them Instacart and JustEat, with GetSwift reporting growth of 400 percent from January to September this year.

While he said the speed at which this growth has been achieved has been somewhat of a surprise, MacDonald said he and chairman Bane Hunter always knew GetSwift had to have a presence on the east coast of America as well as in Australia.

As such, the startup had been building an R&D team in Melbourne for a while, with policies such as the federal R&D tax incentive proving attractive.

However, because the Sydney v Melbourne debate is so hot right now/always, MacDonald and Hunter said they actually spent time discussing which city to base their HQ out of, with the final push for Melbourne coming from Victorian Minister for Innovation, Philip Dalidakis.

“We met with [Dalidakis] in the US, where he delivered a pretty compelling pitch as to Melbourne should be our first choice for a move back home,” Hunter said.

Dalidakis said, “The company’s decision to stay true to their roots and expand their Asia Pacific footprint by basing their R&D operations here in Melbourne is another huge vote of confidence in Victoria as a hub for global tech talent.”

The support from Dalidakis may have pushed GetSwift over the line, but in Sydney’s defence, MacDonald admitted the Melbourne roots mattered: “I’m born in Melbourne, we started out in Richmond at Inspire9, and we had built the R&D team already in Melbourne.

“We assessed several regions and had a lot of conversations, but we just connected on a different level with Dalidakis and it just confirmed a lot of our thinking. We already had a footprint in Melbourne and then him throwing his support behind us made it an easy decision at the end of the day.”

As well as the ASX listing, GetSwift will be focusing more attention on Europe over the coming months, with new deals in the pipeline.

Image: Bane Hunter and Joel MacDonald. Source: Supplied.

We're Hiring (Digital Operations Internship) + (Fulfillment Exec Role)

We're Hiring!

GetSwift is an early stage, fast growing, complex online logistics/delivery tracking and management software that enables business owners around the world to completely re-imagine the way they deliver and delight their end user.

We're looking for like-minded people who want to change the way deliveries are managed, executed and tracked by businesses and consumers on a global scale. Please reach out and introduce yourself, even if you don't see a opportunity below that completely fits your expertise, as in some cases - work ethic, drive & discipline we believe is just if not important than skills

Careers

Connect Menulog, Eatnow, Grubhub, Eat24 orders to your GetSwift account

Step 1.

Go to your settings > Advanced Options and enter the email address you will send Grubhub or Menulog orders to import@getswift.co

 

Step 2.

Go to your templates section and create a new template with the pick up address of your restaurant and make sure you name the template with exactly the same spelling as it is listed on your Menulog or Grubhub order emaill that you will be forwarding to GetSwift

e.g. The Grubhub restaurant is called Joe's Pizza then make sure you save the template as Joe's Pizza

 

 

Step 3.

Now go to your email inbox and forward the menulog, grubhub, eatnow, Eat24 order email to import@getswift.co

 

Step 4.

The order will be created within 30 seconds on your account and you will see it appear in your map!

GetSwift expands R&D HQ in Melbourne, Australia

From the Australian (David Swan)

November 22nd, 2016

 

Australian delivery software start-up GetSwift will move its global headquarters from New York to Melbourne as it gears up to list on the Australian Securities Exchange next month.

The firm, led by former AFL player Joel Macdonald, uses algorithms to optimise the delivery service for enterprise firms and has had a 400 per cent growth in transactions in the past six months. The service is used in 51 countries and Mr Macdonald said he expected to employ about 30 staff in the firm’s new Melbourne HQ during the next few years.

“We were always keen to come back,” he said. “I grew up in Melbourne and we started the company towards the end of my football career working from the Inspire9 co-working space.

“There was a lot of volatility with my football career, and I stuck it out for 11 years, but my passion has always been technology. Over time I realised I’m better at business than football, especially playing at Melbourne Demons where we were getting destroyed every week.”

Before GetSwift was a delivery management firm, it was a liquor delivery business called Liquorrun, ferrying drinks between bottle shops and thirsty customers. “It took off pretty quickly but we were running a logistics business on very primitive, clunky systems across texts, emails, calls,” Mr Macdonald said.

GetSwift chairman Bane Hunter, a former Viacom and Foxtel executive, said the pair recently met Victorian Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis in the US where he delivered a “pretty compelling pitch” about why Melbourne should be the company’s first choice for a move back home.

“It’s no wonder Melbourne is now home to some of the world’s fastest growing tech firms and we’re glad to be joining their ranks,” Mr Hunter said.

Mr Dalidakis said the firm’s decision to move to Melbourne represented “another huge vote of confidence in Victoria as a hub for global tech talent”.

Mr Macdonald said GetSwift was on track to list early next month and complete a $5.5 million capital raising that was four times oversubscribed.

“We’re experiencing a really intense and aggressive growth curve right now,” he said. “Our future will be continuing to expand our global footprint and making sure nothing holds us back. The capitalisation is just about fulfilling some of the current contracts in our pipeline and scaling the accelerated rate to capture that market share.”

We're Hiring!!! (Senior Software Developers)

We're Hiring!

GetSwift is an early stage, fast growing, complex online logistics/delivery tracking and management software that enables business owners around the world to completely re-imagine the way they deliver and delight their end user.

We're looking for like-minded people who want to change the way deliveries are managed, executed and tracked by businesses and consumers on a global scale. Please reach out and introduce yourself, even if you don't see a opportunity below that completely fits your expertise, as in some cases - work ethic, drive & discipline we believe is just if not important than skills

Careers

Logistics management software company GetSwift opens IPO

GetSwift, an Australian-founded New York-based fleet management software company, is looking to list on the Australian Securities Exchange by Christmas.

From Zdnet (Tas Bindi)

 

GetSwift Ltd, the holding company that owns Australian-founded startup GetSwift, has opened up its initial public offering (IPO), according to a prospectus lodged with ASIC on October 26.

According to the prospectus, 25 million shares are being issued at AU$0.20, bringing the total amount to be raised to AU$5 million.

Currently headquartered in New York, GetSwift was founded in 2015 by three Australian footballers Joel Macdonald, Rohan Bail, and James Strauss. Prior to GetSwift, the trio had founded a liquor delivery service called Liquorun, but decided to abandon the front end of the service and focus on the logistics management platform behind it. The logistics management platform then became the standalone entity GetSwift.

Today, GetSwift is a last-mile logistics management platform that allows businesses to manage delivery fulfilment. The platform is being used in over 300 cities across 55 countries around the world.

According to the prospectus, GetSwift experienced 20 percent month-on-month growth this year in terms of number of transactions; and reports a total growth of over 400 percent from January to September.

Executive chairman Bane Hunter told ZDNet that there are four reasons why GetSwift is choosing to become a publicly-listed company. The first is to provide full transparency to existing and prospective customers.

He said one of the advantages of being public is that it allows companies to instantly gain credibility and respect. Prospective clients, especially large ones like government departments and large enterprises, give more credence to suppliers of products and services when they're public companies.

"What has always held us back to some extent was the due diligence process when interacting with large enterprises, especially as a startup. They do due diligence on companies, products, and people," Hunter told ZDNet.

"We thought the easiest way to provide full transparency is by being a public company. Any questions [prospects] have in regards to viability will be answered."

The second reason, Hunter explained, was the underlying sense across Australia's startup ecosystem that local companies cannot use local funding to roll out on a global scale. He said there are some local VCs and financiers who don't want their money going overseas.

Hunter pointed out, however, that there is a significant difference in market size between Australia and the US, and that emerging startups should be encouraged to think globally.

Thirdly, reflecting on the company's previous experiences with raising equity investment, Hunter said going public was a more sound choice for GetSwift.

"We had plenty of offers from VCs in the US. But the costliest lesson that any startup can actually learn is to be very careful with what comes attached with the capital [they raise], and what kind of partners they're going to get on the cap table. We've learned a number of lessons," Hunter said.

Lastly, Hunter and Macdonald both said going public will allow the company to contract the time it takes to scale.

Macdonald highlighted that the company doesn't necessarily need capital; it operates in a "very lean" manner with less than 10 staff globally.

Currently, GetSwift operates on a pay-as-you-go model, charging on a per transaction basis -- there are no setup or ongoing maintenance costs, or contracts. The prices are tiered/discounted based on the volume or enterprise level of the company.

GetSwift has also been growing across industry verticals. As of September, it's been used in over 40 verticals including food delivery and medical cannabis distribution in the US. Hunter also said 100 percent of enterprise prospects that were presented with proofs-of-concept had converted to clients.

"It was important for us to be agnostic in terms of verticals. We see a lot of competitors that tend to focus on specific verticals ... to reach the maximum amount of people across the maximum number of verticals, we would need our product to be agnostic," Hunter said.

"A lot of companies come to us saying that their support reps are getting up to 50 calls per day, for example, from milk bar owners wondering where their drinks are. The field rep might take up to 25 minutes to locate the driver if he picks up the phone and then another five minutes to relay that message back to the milk bar. What companies are keen to do is consolidate that overhead," said Macdonald.

While they're proud of the progress they've made, Hunter and Macdonald are adamant about staying grounded, appreciating that they're an Australian-founded company, and not making unrealistic claims about the future.

"We don't believe in hype. We believe in facts. We believe in data. Aside from technology being in the cloud, we do not believe in having our heads in the cloud," Hunter said.

While they did not reveal GetSwift's product roadmap, Hunter and Macdonald said they're always keeping a close eye on, and evaluating opportunities to use, emergent technologies like drones and autonomous vehicles.

"From a startup perspective, it's not enough to be incrementally better. You're going to go up against some behemoths out there that are better funded than you, have much larger teams, and quite frankly have more expertise in terms of how the market operates. You have to be quantifiably better," Hunter said.

"For us, it's not about coming out with fancy new product features or product enhancements. It's about understanding our customers, their constraints, their business objectives, and the timeframe they have to achieve those objectives. That allows us to go back and tailor the product. That's how we're maintaining growth."

GetSwift to raise $5m and list start-up GetSwift on ASX

From Financial Review (Yolanda Redrup)

Former Melbourne AFL footballer Joel MacDonald will take his logistics management platform, GetSwift, public via an ASX listing to raise $5 million.

Unlike most early stage businesses that go to the public markets as a source of capital, though, GetSwift does not need the cash.

GetSwift chairman, former media executive and Blue Chilli president Bane Hunter, said the capital raising was aimed at proving the long-term viability of the business to prospective customers, who expressed concerns about its cash levels when doing due diligence.

"So the primary reason for listing, for us, is the issue of visibility and governance. Then, heart on hand, we wanted to show that you can use Australian institutions to leverage your global penetration," Mr Hunter said.

Joel MacDonald in 2012 during an AFL match, a game that taught him to get back up after a knockdown and do it for your team. Sebastian Costanzo

The start-up has constructed a series of algorithms which let businesses optimise delivery routes, streamline their dispatching and task assignment, send branded alerts automatically to customers about their orders, and capture digital proof of delivery via photos or signatures.

Mr MacDonald founded GetSwift off the back of his experiences running the delivery start-up Liquorun.

"As it continued to grow and expand around Australia we ran into the same challenges: where is the driver; who to dispatch jobs to; and how to optimise the most efficient route," he said.

"Technology can solve all of these problems, but when we looked at it from a 30-foot overview, we realised it was a much larger problem on a global scale. But unless you have the budget of an Uber or a Domino's, most companies can't solve these problem profitably."

While GetSwift started off as a product to help manage Liquorun's logistics, it quickly emerged as a stronger business in its own right and won the interest of major US business Whole Foods, who invited the company to the US.

In the past 16 months the business has grown from nothing, to being used in more than 50 countries by companies such as Instacart, Lion Nathan and Shopwings.

In the last financial year it banked $348,404 in revenue, and through the listing it will be valued at just over $25 million.

Listing rules

The company is tracking towards a December listing. Also in December, the ASX is considering introducing tighter listing rules, meaning companies with less than $5 million in net tangible assets and also valued at less than $20 million would be blocked from the exchange.

GetSwift clears these hurdles.

"We've reviewed these requirements and we pass both tests, so for us, we think it is a positive outcome for the whole ecosystem," Mr Macdonald said.

GetSwift has an issue price of 20¢ a share and Cygnet Capital has been managing the raise.

The company also completed a pre-IPO capital raise of $1.5 million earlier this year, which was reported by Street Talk.

While the company has just filed its prospectus, it has already completed its roadshow and Mr Hunter said there was a high degree of interest.

"We met with a number of institutions, private wealth funds and also brokers, and universally we were well received," he said. "I've been on a number of roadshows from the other sides, and it could not have gone better."

Mr MacDonald said he was aware of the challenges young companies faced in going public, such as investor scrutiny when the business model is still being finalised, but he was prepared to tackle them head on.

"It comes down to our communication. What you see and what we say is what you get. Every change we make will be raw, honest and directly communicated with the public. That's how you build trust and transparency with shareholders," he said.

"I was an average footballer. But moving into this game that we call business, you get knocked ... and it's not just for two hours, it's 24 hours a day. I built the ability to take those knockdowns and get back up and do it for your team, your fans and even Australia.

Trading Valley for Alley: an Aussie founder’s guide to moving to New York

So, you want to move your startup to the US? Well, you have a choice.

You can head on over to the typical place to base your company: Silicon Valley, or you can follow our route and head to the Big Apple, the undisputed epicentre of business in the US.

There are distinct advantages to going east instead of west. Dubbed Silicon Alley, New York’s startup scene has blossomed over the past couple of years on the back of it being a hub for collaboration between startups and America’s largest companies.

For instance, by moving to New York as opposed to Silicon Valley, we were able to secure multiple deals not just with US companies but also European, South American and emerging markets to grow our global delivery logistics platform.

But it’s not an easy move. The sitcom Silicon Valley details – with some degree of accuracy – the tropes and tribulations of the Valley. But there’s very little out there on New York’s startup sector, and how you balance living and working in one of the world’s busiest cities

So, off the back of our experiences, here are our most practical top tips for cracking the scene and giving your business the best chance to succeed in New York and the East Coast of the US.

Before you move, jump on the Australians in New York Facebook page – it will help you find an affordable place to live

What’s the hardest part about moving to New York? It’s not finding contacts or talent for your company. It’s finding an affordable place to live.

Whatever way you slice it, living in New York is expensive. And it’s tough to find a bargain apartment from a distance ‘in a neighborhood you would want to live’ – unless you are willing to pay an agent up to $7000 to find one for you. So consider jumping on this Australians in New York Facebook page straight away. One of its main functions is connecting Australians with affordable living arrangements.

Also, consider where you want to live in New York. Its transport systems – both public transport and ridesharing networks – are excellent. Living a mere 15 minutes further away from where you are working could save you thousands and land you a more spacious pad.

Finding a place to work? Consider these hubs and coworking spaces

Unless you already have some cash behind you and have already arranged an office, you’re going to want to find a good cafe or public space to work from when you first arrive.

This WorkFrom community site provides a really good map of WiFi cafes across the city. Below are a few of our personal favourites:

  • Freehold in Williamsburg
  • Hotel Lobby of Marlton Hotel
  • Soho House Meatpacking & Ludlow
  • Standard East Hotel
  • Cafe Orlin in East Village
  • New York Public Library

The last one is easily a favourite spot. But beware, you can’t take phone calls.

If you are looking for a coworking space try The FarmNeueHouse, and New Work City. They can fit you out with a casual spot for a price.

Network, network, network

You’ll find plenty of like-minded entrepreneurs in New York, but it’s a big city, so the trick is all about finding them.

Coworking spaces are a great place to start, so while you may not want to pay for a desk, you do get the added benefit of networking if you invest in one.

There are a few other key meetups, however, that you should consider. One of the best – and free – is DUNY or the Down Under New York Tech Meetup. It’s growing in influence. Financial Services minister Kelly O’Dwyer and Victorian Small Business and Innovation minister Philip Dalidakis have addressed this group in the past six months.

If you are looking to move further up the chain and network with like-minded professionals, then consider a membership at the SOHO House. It’s exclusive on the basis that it looks for people with unique backgrounds rather than high net worth. It’s also global, so there’s that added benefit.

Keep in mind that in New York, you may have hundreds of acquaintances but only one or two might be true mates. It’s a big city, but it can be lonely.

Timezones are a killer, be ready to work late – and don’t move over early in the year

Get ready to put in some long days if you are still doing business back in Australia. Just as your New York business day comes to end, Australia starts waking up.

Conference calls and Skype meetings between your 6pm to midnight become a very normal routine for an Aussie techie living in New York.

Managing your New York day routine and schedule is the key to making this work. It’s true that New York never sleeps, so you’ll never be without a place to eat or something to do afterwards if you do burn the midnight oil. Business in New York does not stop on weekends so don’t be surprised if you get emails on a Sunday, with a response expected the same day.

Speaking of timezones: do yourself a favour and don’t make a New Years resolution to move your office to New York at the start of 2017. It’s freezing in February. The best time to move and acclimatise is March through October.

Trade coffee meeting for phone calls – and when you do meet, leave the right impression

Australians love to get things done over a coffee. In New York, the best you’ll likely wrangle initially is a 20 minute phone call.

Typically, the New York lifestyle is based around trying to cram as much into each day as possible. Phone calls play well into this dynamic. In New York, business relationships get built over time and are mostly based on success.

If you do finally meet in person, keep your appearance in mind. Execs and New Yorkers alike tend to gauge your status by looking at, in no particular order, your shoes, your watch, and your grooming. You don’t have to dress like a fashion model. Just be mindful that there is a larger focus on appearance and expertise in New York than in other cities.

If you don’t do anything else: get a local involved with your company before you move

One way to avoid a lot of grief and cultural shell-shock when you move over to the US is to partner with a New Yorker, or at least a US citizen.

Thanks to having our current chairman, Bane Hunter on board before I moved, I learned the easy way not navigate the complexities of the US market including minor details, like which public holidays Americans are willing to talk shop on. On some holidays, like Thanksgiving, they prefer not to be disturbed.

But his help extended beyond understanding cultural pleasantries. We landed our first enterprise deal on the back of Bane’s relationships in New York.

Adapting to New York is always going to be a challenge, but a familiar face and some grassroots knowledge can give you the edge you need to succeed.

Image: Joel MacDonald. Source: Supplied.

GetSwift closes $1.5M pre-IPO raise

 

From Financial Review (Anthony Macdonald)

Chinese real-estate portal Juwai, which has completed a $10 million pre-initial public offering raising, is targeting a local float late this year.

This column understands the latest raising was supported by local and Hong Kong-based institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Juwai, which connects Chinese property buyers with sellers in other parts of the world, is aiming to raise about $30 million for its run at the ASX.  

Brokers Baillieu Holst and Evans & Partners managed the pre-IPO raising of convertible notes to investors, as revealed by Street Talk last month.  The notes convert into shares at the time of listing.

Despite a clampdown in Australia in some areas of foreign lending, the Juwai business continues to grow in its key markets.

 

Elsewhere, boutique corporate advisory firm Cygnet Capital is finalising a pre-IPO funding round of $1.5 million for GetSwift, a smart delivery platform that facilitates the management of drivers, dispatch tasks and track goods delivery in real-time.

The funding round to a select group of investors, is said to have been well received, and the company is targeting an ASX listing to raise at least $5 million.

From Melbourne Alcohol Delivery Start-Up Emerges a Bigger Apple Company. GetSwift is kicking goals!

Swift chief executive and co-founder Joel MacDonald in Sydney. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Swift chief executive and co-founder Joel MacDonald in Sydney. Photo: Kate Geraghty

From SMH and The Age

Just two years ago Joel MacDonald was in Melbourne playing in the AFL.

Now he's living in New York playing a very different game, as chief executive and co-founder of a thriving logistics software start-up called Swift.

Logistics is a lot less sexy than footy, or the alcohol delivery start-up Liquorun, which MacDonald previously founded with two other Melbourne Football Club Players, James Strauss and Rohan Bail.

But as Liquorun grew, it became clear to MacDonald and his team where the greater prize lay.

"We started out delivering beer on scooters in inner Melbourne and it got to a stage where we were getting more orders, and I and our co-founders couldn't handle the dispatching anymore so we built Swift," MacDonald told Fairfax Media, visiting Sydney this week.

"When we introduced Swift to Liquorun some really incredible things started happening: customers just stopped complaining. Or at least, stopped calling up and saying, 'Hey, where's my order?

The Swift mobile app and demand analytics page in action. Photo: Swif

The Swift mobile app and demand analytics page in action. Photo: Swif

 

"We basically slashed about five jobs in our call centre."

The software, whose pitch is "Dispatch like Uber, track like Dominos, set routes like UPS", was refined over two years of hands-on testing with Liquorun. But when an offer from a US company to trial Swift's software in a three-month pilot arose, the team made a crucial decision to move to the US and put Liquorun on the backburner.

Fairfax Media can confirm for the first time the partner company is Instacart, as speculated in previous media reports. Swift has signed a "multimillion-dollar deal" with the online grocery delivery company, MacDonald said, though he could not disclose exact figures.

In a few short months Swift has clocked up paid and free trial sign-ups in "around 70 different regions around the world".

"[We've got] people doing dry cleaning on-demand in Dubai; marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles; flower delivery companies in South Africa; and we're dealing with a whole heap of transport companies in India, so every day is pretty exciting," MacDonald said.

"Today we had our first translator on a call with a Portuguese company – that's when it kind of sank in we're distributing to the world."

Alcohol delivery companies including ones in the US that MacDonald read up on before launching Liquorun – are now looking at Swift.

"I got a demo request this morning from probably the biggest alcohol delivery company in the US right now," MacDonald said. "It gave me a few heart palpitations."

In August, Bluechilli and Black Chip Capital, which also backed Liquorun, led an angel round of $US675,000 ($940,000) in funding for Swift. MacDonald said Swift was now about to go back to the market.

The company still has its feet firmly in Australia, too. MacDonald said Swift was currently running "five or six" pilots with Australian companies, which were going "extremely well", and that Swift was "very close" to closing in "some large national clients in Australia that are in the food delivery space". (He was unable to give more detail other than to say they weren't Dominos, Coles nor Woollies.)

Meanwhile, Liquorun's website states the service is "currently closed while we make improvements" but the truth is MacDonald is in negotiation with "about five different parties" to buy it, with an announcement likely by year's end.

MacDonald isn't the first Australian start-up entrepreneur Fairfax Media has interviewed to have pursued a logistics company off the back of another start-up. We recently profiled Sendle's James Chin Moody, who built his Uber-style parcel delivery company to service a previous project, TuShare. (Incidentally, both went to Brisbane Grammar –must be something in the water.)

IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick said although logistics had "all the charm and appeal of high-level chartered accountancy", it was "absolutely essential" and the modern world would fall apart without it. Companies could either invest "substantial" amounts in R&D to streamline their logistics, or, they could increase efficiency straight away by implementing easy-to-use software that has already done the work.

"It should pay for itself," Mr Cranswick said.

However he warned that the barriers to entering the logistics software market were "very, very low" and expected there would be some consolidation in the sector.

MacDonald hopes Swift can mark out its point of difference with a fun user interface, borrowing from the book of US darling Slack, which has become the internal communications platform of choice for countless organisations the world over.

"There's a tonne of them [logistics companies like Swift], just like there were a tonne of online internal office chat clients; and then Slack came along and basically just kicked everyone's arse with a really fun user experience," MacDonald said.

Attracting and keeping customers with good user experience was about "the little things", he said: "After you click a button how does the loading icon look? When you're transitioning between pages you've got an opportunity to make someone smile rather than just looking at a dead computer screen all day."

 

www.getswift.co