How Thor Angelo’s approach made a good case great!
OrderYOYO set out to disrupt the already disrupted takeaway-business, but that was not the idea to begin with. As he did with Languagewire, The CEO, Thor Angelo, is once again proving how his unique ability to work in a constant “trial and error” mode can pivot very simple ideas into successful businesses. That is exactly the ability we are eager to allow new founders and future entrepreneurs to explore at PreSeed Academy March 8th.
Running a lean startup has in some sense become a truism by now. Without ever really joining the lean cheer squad much, Thor Angelo has absolutely walked the talk. According to another of Denmark’s successful serial entrepreneurs and Business Angels, Nicolaj Højer Nielsen, that is exactly what has made Thor capable of going such a long, long way:
“Of all the entrepreneurs I have ever met Thor is amongst those who live and breathe the Lean Startup principals to the fullest — and that is without ever having read any of the books. The way Thor approaches new projects by instantly testing the most crucial assumptions, for example about the market or costumers, is in my opinion the main reason to Thor’s success building growth companies like Languagewire and most recently OrderYOYO.”
Pivoting into OrderYOYO
It was not exactly written in the stars that Thor and his partner, Thomas Poulsen, should create the most popular white label takeaway system in Europe.
Originally, they had a company called iWaiter, but Thor and Thomas noticed something in the Danish takeaway business in Denmark, that made them pivot into OrderYOYO.
More than 85% of customers were ordering their takeaway from the same spot every week. Some were even ordering the same dish every time. To the majority of customers, the endless possibilities of Just Eat and Hungry were just clutter. Clutter that was taking money out of the restaurants’ pockets.
Discovering this, Thor and Thomas started to wonder how to create an alternative to the existing takeaway ordering services. They imagined a platform that could deliver a customized website with an online ordering system along with a custom app allowing restaurants to take ownership of their local customers for a fraction of the price charged by other services.
Those are the insights Thor and his team harvested and turned into OrderYOYO.
Someone with that sort of inherent talent makes prospective cases more attractive. Helle Uth, Investment Director at PreSeed Ventures, who saw the potential of investing in OrderYOYO early on, explains:
”When, investing in a startup the most important thing we look at is the team. A great idea is nothing without a great team to execute it, and Thor is definitely an executer. We sometimes refer to it, as teams who “get shit done”, meaning that when they have an idea to optimize a part of the business or a new concept to test, they don’t wait around — they get it done today. Sometimes it’s a success and sometimes they fail fast, but they move forward just as fast. How teams execute in the early stages has a big impact on our decision to invest further.”
To Thor himself it was a landmark experience when he realised that as an entrepreneur you learn fast and fail equally fast. Every single move you make will give you new pieces of knowledge. Outcomes can be positive or negative, either way, the learnings are vital moving forward.
You should always look to explore and expand your business, but you should also be ready to re-evaluate and transform accordingly — as he did with iWaiter.
The hardest part for OrderYOYO was to get the first 100 customers. Fortunately, that is where Thor’s executor-gene and sense of urgency came in handy. When you reach 100, you know what you are doing is right. Then you can start to grow.
And OrderYOYO did. Very fast. In two years, they went from just two to 65 employees.
It is crucial to constantly have the right people in your organization during those stages of rapid growth because the organization is under constant change. OrderYOYO had to be constantly attentive to the agility of their organization. It was necessary to frequently take a step back and re-evaluate the configuration of employees and not be afraid to change it. As you might have noticed agility and adaptability was naturally integrated with the development of OrderYOYO. Out of the same DNA grew a solution to the organizational expansion called “the intern hack”. They hired interns not only because they are low in cost but also because most of them evolve with the organization, which tends to be very valuable down the road.
It is impossible to single out that one action, decision or step along the way that made OrderYOYO so successful but what stands out, also in view of Languagewire’s journey, is Thor’s special ability to test, fail, learn and then pivot accordingly when building businesses.