Here’s the story of Mymenu, which is growing and innovating, focusing on senior and business customers, in a global food delivery industry that is still far from break-even and that represents an open bet for venture capital.
Mymenu is not just the largest Italian company in food delivery, it is above all a start-up company that has chosen to move in a different direction from its competitors, doing better than the market average. “Our strategy has been to focus on a medium-high customer segment, selecting restaurants that target a senior clientele, while all the others are moving towards a democratization of their service. So, if the average receipt is around 20 euros, ours is around 38 euros. This translates into greater marginality and therefore greater sustainability“, says Giovanni Cavallo, 30 years old, who has founded one of the three groups around which the company has developed.
It all began six years ago in Bologna, where Cavallo, together with his partner Lorenzo Lelli, gave life to Sgnam. More or less at the same time the various Foodora, Glovo, Deliveroo and JustEat were born. And more or less at the same time, in Padova, Edoardo Tribuzio founded his Mymenu. Complementary start-ups whose founders met in February 2017 and decided to join forces, completing everything at the beginning of 2018 with a merger and deciding to keep Mymenu in the medium term as the main brand. A few months later, they acquired their Milanese competitor Bacchetteforchette. This operation allowed them to enter the most important Italian food delivery market. This extraordinary operation was completed just a few weeks ago, integrating brand, team and technology. In the new group, Lelli is CTO, responsible for the development of the technological platform; while Cavallo and Tribuzio are respectively President and CEO.
This is the beginning of what would become a successful story in an industry that for European venture capital funds still represents quite a risky gamble today. Because no food delivery company has yet reached its break-even point, as they have to face very high costs, in particular that of personnel. With the help of P101, Mymenu, which started from scratch and advanced through a series of trials and errors, has managed to stand out: since the three young entrepreneurs’ first encounter, indeed, the path has continued in the sign of growth.
“In 2018 we have transacted 5 million euros and have had an important growth compared to 2017. Currently, we have a team of about 15 employees and a network of more than 600 drivers and 500 super selected restaurants,” says Cavallo.
Their business is based on certain precise cornerstones. The first is the selection of drivers, who are chosen “one by one and have a higher salary than the Italian average. It is by no coincidence that we are sitting at the government table to find the right contract formula for these workers. In our case, at the basis of the employment relationship is an adequate remuneration.” Mymenu was the first signatory of the Bologna Papers for the rights of delivery men (and women). The papers are a cutting-edge agreement in Europe that was designed to guarantee minimum pay, transparent contracts and insurance.
Their second pillar is the quality of the restaurant proposal. “The restaurants that are part of our network represent the two passions that lay at the basis of the company’s foundation: food and travel. Quality catering from all over the world. We want to tell a different story from our competitors who aim to expand: we have a niche and we want to focus on that,” explains Cavallo.
Third pillar: B2B clients. “So far we have dedicated our service to the B2C segment, where there are complex issues of customer acquisition and we are confronted with international giants. With the acquisition of Bacchetteforchette we have entered the B2B segment, which has a greater frequency of monthly orders and a higher average receipt: these elements are key to greater differentiation and sustainability.”
Fourth pillar is geographical expansion, in order to get to cover as many Italian cities as possible. Today Mymenu operates in Milan, Bologna, Padua, Modena, Verona and Brescia. The highest average receipt is in Milan with 51 euros and 62 euros for business customers. The model is very simple: affiliated restaurants pay a percentage fee on each order and the final customer pays delivery. “Before arriving at this formula we have changed many others, and we are always evolving – says Cavallo. – With Sgnam we connected customers and restaurants that had their own delivery, but that did not work. There were too many costs that made us constantly lose money. So we took a step back to make ten forward. Experiment, fail, learn and repeat: we have joined the Silicon Valley mantra and are trying to apply it to each of our processes.”
In this context, P101 was not just a financial source, “but it helped us structure the whole organization and actively supported our work – concludes Cavallo – and it helped us achieve our objectives, guiding us in the understanding of what consumers want, starting from an analysis of behavioural data, to the consequent development of a platform that could best meet his/her needs.” In short, venture capital has contributed to the success of Mymenu bringing “human” finance into the business.