Pandas Sleep, Eat, And Deliver
August Man SG|Issue 171
Foodpanda’s CEO Jakob Angele shares his fascination with q-commerce and how, despite the numbers aspect of it, it’s all about the heart
Alfieyah Abdullah

The roads have been alive with colour recently. Specifically in the familiar nuances of pink, turquoise and green. Food delivery companies have been working around the clock to bring us our morning coffees, quick lunches and lazy dinners, forming a nascent industry growingly referred to as Quick Commerce or q-commerce. For seven years, Jakob Angele helmed the leading food and grocery delivery platform, Foodpanda, and saw the business evolve from restaurant deliveries to include q-commerce: superfast delivery of anything to our doorstep.

Prior to entering the food delivery industry, Angele was a project manager at McKinsey Company, where he focused on management strategy. He joined foodpanda in 2014 and moved to Singapore the year after to oversee operations in the Asian markets. When Foodpanda was acquired by Delivery Hero, he found himself kneedeep in organisational changes and restructuring. It was a new chapter in the business. Since his first days, Foodpanda has grown from 300 orders a day in Malaysia to more than 2 million orders a day across 12 markets.

At a time of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, Angele saw an opportunity for Foodpanda to help the local communities by providing reliable and safe access to fresh food through home deliveries. foodpanda led a new era of e-commerce in Asia, growing to 450 per cent year on year in the q-commerce verticals. Today, Foodpanda has Asia’s largest network of cloud grocery stores and micro warehouses providing consumers with on-demand access to over 4,000 grocery and household products, deliveried within 25 minutes.

Aside from restaurant and grocery partners, Foodpanda’s ecosystem includes more than 8,500 home-based businesses across four countries. Assistance has been rendered through a number of initiatives to support its eco-system of community and consumers, riders, restaurant, and grocery partners from the start of Covid-19 through till today. In other words, Foodpanda is more than just about convenience, it’s also about the people.

Explain your fascination with q-commerce.

The need for speed is the new norm. Our service is focused on swiftness, accessibility and variety. Customers can click and receive deliveries on-demand.

Across the region, we saw the number of first-time customers ordering groceries more than double between the first and second half of 2020, including the older demographic. This is a trend we believe will continue to grow in 2021. Q-commerce is not only here to stay, but will only become more relevant as the world becomes even more digitally connected.

When was the eureka moment in your life where you knew you wanted to explore e-commerce?

I studied physics in university, so I love science by nature. But when I started consulting at McKinsey and working at Foodpanda, I realised that my true passion is solving complex problems, which to be honest, I do daily now. From operational challenges to people management and industry relationship building, the sheer variety of things I get to work on daily keeps me going, and fulfilled.

Upon entering the market, what were the first few things you observed that prompted you to adopt new technologies and adapt the service accordingly?

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