Deliveroo – The “Disruptor Disruptor” Ushering in “Digital Economy v3.0”

We were privileged to host a dinner last week with our partners Bridgepoint and Will Shu, the co-founder and CEO of Deliveroo, a company who, in just five years, has revolutionised the way the world eats.

In sharing the Deliveroo story, around a table of exceptional CEOs from established and emerging businesses, Will left us in no doubt that we are entering the next phase of the Technological Age: what he called “version 3.0”.

In fewer than 30 years, the world has shifted almost wholly online. High-speed internet access is almost ubiquitous, internet devices are in every pocket and people of all ages have attained tech fluency.

Throughout this total societal overhaul, so-called “disruptor” companies have completely changed the way we shop, communicate, work and play, with their v2.0 businesses – think high-street retailers vs Amazon, private hire cab firms vs Uber.

And, until now, the successful “disruptors” have tended to dominate the market their innovation has transformed.

Deliveroo’s rise breaks that mould. They were convinced v2.0 could immediately be improved upon –  that they could “disrupt the disruptors”.

The home-delivered food model had already been revolutionised, shifting from v1.0 (customers phoning their local takeaway) to v2.0 (using mobile apps like Hungry House and Just Eat who provided choice and online payment).

Deliveroo’s v3.0 offering was an online and offline experience that has turned every restaurant – from greasy spoon to silver spoon – into a premium home dining experience.

Now operating in 12 countries, Deliveroo is still pushing into new, groundbreaking spaces.

“Rooboxes”, strategically-located industrial kitchens dropped in open spaces,  complete with bikers ready and waiting to dispatch, enable Deliveroo-registered restaurants to expand their delivery radius beyond their high street location.

That is, assuming they have any presence on the street at all. As part of the ecosystem Deliveroo is generating, from restaurateurs to riders to diners, a new phenomenon is appearing – the “no-restaurant restaurant”. Why cover the expense of a venue, or chain of venues, when you can tap into a massive network of foodies, coupled with a ready-made army of delivery bikers to get their meal to them?

In a world of constant innovation, Deliveroo has benefited from the advances created by the equally-disruptive home entertainment sector.

Just think about how far entertainment products like Netflix and Amazon Prime have come over the past five years. With virtual reality and 3-D TV inevitable, as well as increasingly affordable high-quality screens and speakers, just imagine where they’ll be in five years time.

Add a restaurant-standard food option to the cinema-standard environment you’ve created in your home, and that’s a very compelling night in.

But Will goes out of his way to stress that this success isn’t purely down to nicer living rooms, an ever-expanding fleet of bikers and a range of restaurants spanning independent street food chains to giants like Wagamama and Pizza Express. The secret is a room of around 20 data scientists pulling everything together.

And that speaks to the final core element of a v3.0 business – the efficient use of customer data.

Technology today provides more business intelligence and customer insight than ever before. 1.0 and 2.0 companies are quickly understanding the necessity for board-level Chief Data Officers; business-savvy data scientists who can turn data points into profit-driving business strategies. It’s the gold dust many companies are currently omitting to glean.

But, as Deliveroo highlights, truly v3.0 companies do more than delve into data. They build their entire business around it.

It’s a revolution that is already producing exciting v3.0 “disruptor disruptors”. Aron Gelbard, also a dinner guest and CEO of Bloom & Wild, took on the £1.5bn UK floristry business. In a sector whose v1.0 – the high street florist, has been established for hundreds of years, v2.0 phone and app-based ordering disrupted the market long ago. Bloom & Wild’s insight that flower delivery necessitates the recipient being home led to them creating “the original letter box flower company,” a v3.0 idea backed by the level of online experience and tech ingenuity we as consumers will still expect from every company we engage with.

So next time you answer the door to your Deliveroo dinner, or return to your Bloom & Wild letterbox bouquet, do so knowing you’re part of the future.

And regardless of whether you’re a v1.0 or v2.0 business, v3.0 companies demonstrate not only the power of a great idea and the exceptional manipulation of data, but also that any company can combat the threat of disruptive new kids on the block.

They just have to disrupt them. | @SteRosenthal | @TheMBSGroup