Wolt makes it incredibly easy for you to discover and get what you want. Delivered to you – quickly, reliably and affordably. And by doing so, we make cities better places to live.
What is this Wolt thing anyway?
We are a Helsinki-based technology company known for our food delivery platform. We make it easy for hungry people to find great food from our restaurant partners to either pick it up themself, or have it delivered by one of our delivery partners. Today, we’re also increasingly known for enabling people to get the same Wolt delivery experience from virtually any type of grocery store, retail shop or boutique within the city.
Wolt launched in the summer of 2015 in Helsinki, Finland together with ten restaurants. In the five short years since, we’ve expanded to 23 countries and more than 100 cities, serving over 7 million customers together with 48 000 courier partners as well as 27 000 restaurant and retail partners. Behind all that growth is a lot of lessons learned and mistakes made, which have shaped us to become the company we are today.
Companies usually have a “mission and vision”. What are ours?
Wolt is – essentially – building new infrastructure. We build a connection between restaurants and retailers that want to make and sell food and other products, couriers that want to earn through delivering those products, and customers who want to free up time and effort to focus on the more important things in life. By doing this, we make our cities also better places to live. And by “better” we mean happier people: happier small enterprises that have more business and that can employ more people, happier couriers that have a flexible way to earn when they choose, happier customers who now have easy access to a great meal or anything else they need, exactly when and where they need it - and who get to save some of their precious time while they are at it.
Our vision is to build the digital world version of the shopping malls we used to frequent, this time brought to the convenience of our homes and workplaces within the half-hour or so. We started with the food court on top the floor, and have since expanded to groceries on the ground floor along with all the other shops, stores and boutiques in the middle – and we’re still only getting started.
What is this Wolt thing anyway?
Companies usually have a “mission and vision”. What are ours?
How about the journey so far, how has it been?
2014: Wolt was founded in Helsinki, Finland
- Founding team of six with five focused on product development
- Our first office was a 10-square-meter space in central Helsinki where we all worked together in one room for the first 9 months of our existence.
- We decided the name of the company and filed all the paperwork. Wolt was the final name we were all able to agree on. One of our founders, Mika, was browsing through a list of imaginary punk band names and “Volt United” ultimately turned into Wolt. (Name contenders included amazing options like Blueberry Pie, Skyliner, Zaplane and Sergei).
- Our official company name becomes Wolt Enterprises, as the Finnish trade registry didn’t accept just “Wolt Inc”. The other founders later learned that our founding CEO Miki had just seen Fifty Shades of Grey, where Grey Enterprises sets the scene, and thought it would be a good practical joke to name the company so (the other founders did not agree when they heard about it much, much later).
- This was also the year of the Sochi Olympics.
2015: Our first delivery in Helsinki!
- 14 employees by the end of September
- We moved to a bigger office in Ruoholahti, just downstairs from the Supercell office. We even had the Apple chief of the App Store visit our office just after we’ve launched, as courtesy of Supercell. We were probably the smallest app maker they’d ever visited (and they didn’t disagree).
- We raised a 2.5 million euro seed round of financing.
- This was also the year Star Wars the Force Awakens had its premier.
2016: Expansion to Sweden and Estonia
- 60 employees by end of September
- We opened an office in Stockholm, hurraa! We also expanded into our first cities outside of Helsinki – the cities of Turku and Tampere in Finland.
- We raised 10 million euros in the so-called A-round of financing. The round was led by EQT Ventures.
- This was also the year that Stranger Things premiered.
2017: Expansion to Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania
- 86 employees by end of September
- We replaced third party tools with in-house created courier apps and our own logistics backend.
- Adele won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
2018 Expansion to Croatia, Czech Republic, Norway, Hungary, Georgia, Israel and Poland
- 223 employees by end of September
- We entered hypergrowth and went from 100 to 300 people (by end-of-year) at our offices
- We raised a 27 million euro B-round of financing. The round was led by 83North.
- The premiere of the Black Panther movie.
2019 Expansion to Serbia, Greece, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Slovenia and Kazakhstan
- 569 employees by end of September
- We partnered with South Pole to compensate for the CO2 emissions from Wolt deliveries (dating all the way back to the first delivery)
- We raised 115 million euros in a so-called C-round, led by ICONIQ Capital and Highland Europe.
- Also the year of the Game of Thrones final season.
2020 Expansion to Cyprus, Malta, Japan and Germany
- 1430 employees by end of September
- We added grocery and retail into the Wolt app. We took action to keep ordering on Wolt as safe as possible, e.g. deliveries as no-contact.
- We raised €100 Million from existing investors and Goldman Sachs Growth Equity and €7.5 Million from Delivery Hero’s co-founder Lukasz Gadowski
- We became a unicorn, yey!
- The year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, we’re yet another food delivery company, right?
Actually not quite. Wolt got started on the far edge of the Scandinavian Peninsula, in the relatively small and spread out city of Helsinki. While Finland is a great country to live in, food delivery was an especially tough nut to crack in our Nordic home region:
- Low density: Helsinki has a population of about 630 000 people, who are spread out across 213,8km. That means there’s on average 2946 people on each square kilometer. (As a comparison, in Paris there’s about 20 370 people per square kilometer.) So we are a few and we are far apart. This means that we’ll never quite get the volume nor density that makes the food delivery problem much easier to solve with a high level of efficiency. Meanwhile, the smallest cities we operate in today have as few as 10 000 people living in our delivery area.
- We don’t really have a strong takeaway culture nor is delivery a very everyday thing in our Northern home region. For context, most restaurants that offer delivery themselves as a service often trade in pizza or kebab. This was not a very fruitful ground to build a completely new delivery experience on top of.
- Lowest income disparity in the world along with very high labour costs for any type of work. This combined with high price sensitivity means that our delivery fee and commission revenue are going to be relatively lower than virtually any other markets in the world compared to how much we need to be able to get to as courier earnings on an hourly basis (to cover not just the earnings but also all associated delivery cost, pensions and such).
All in all, these mean that our home market of the Nordics was one of the toughest places in the world to find a sustainable balance between our customers, restaurants and courier partners, as well as with ourselves as a company. Ultimately, this has meant that we’ve had to figure out ways how to get there differently from others:
- Technology – real-time traveling salesman optimisation with as many moving pieces, hungry customers and busy restaurants as we have is a genuinely difficult mathematical problem to solve, not even talking about how to balance real-time delivery estimates, traffic situations, order volumes and human behaviour in a way that get the customer’s order delivery as quickly and precisely as possible, while actually making it worthwhile for all the counterparties in the equation. While this is something that we still constantly work on, our average delivery time remains at 30-35 minutes, and we’re always looking to do better.
- Efficiency – our local country teams run the show in each of the markets we operate in, while we operate in relatively small countries and always with real-time customer support in local language. This means that we’ve had to become especially good in being able to productize and automate everything to the extent that it’s possible to have local teams in countries as small as one million people, and still get the numbers to work. This allows us to operate sustainably in cities as small as 10 000 people living in our delivery area.
- Customer experience – ultimately we have no license to operate if we do not serve the customer in a brilliant, affordable way end-to-end: from app design and marketing to our real-time customer service, we do our best for you to be happy with us. And if something goes wrong, we genuinely want to fix it. That’s why we have local customer support in all the countries we’re in: real humans answering customers and partners in their own language in under 1 minute on average.
What operating sustainably and finding the right balance means for us?
We are committed to make the cities we operate in better places to live. We are also committed to do the right thing towards our teammates, partners, customers, and the general public. More concretely what that means:
- Employees – We’re committed to being a great company to work for. We treat each other fairly, we promote equal opportunities and encourage diversity. We take pride in what people of Wolt do not just during their time with the company, but also the impact they will create in their future endeavours after Wolt.
- Couriers – We’re committed to being a fair and sustainable platform. We treat our courier partners with respect. We always listen to feedback and regularly survey how our couriers are doing. We take pride in trying to increase earnings, introduce safety nets and remove hindrances as we continue growing and investing into making our products and technologies better.
- Restaurants – We’re committed to being a long-term partner. Through our service, we bring restaurants more orders, and we’re always helpful and responsive. We strive to find a long-term sustainable balance between our and the restaurant’s business in each of the cities we operate in.
- Customers – We’re committed to being a great service and we will do our best to keep our customers happy. We’re available and respond to customers as quickly as possible. We own our mistakes, are committed to improving over time and pushing for the best real-time customer support in the world.
- Society – We’re committed to being a climate-conscious company. We compensate for the CO2 emissions of Wolt deliveries, and we will continue to take more action to fight climate change. We push for platform work that is a complementary and long-term sustainable model of work that makes our societies better and have higher opportunity because of what we do.
- Investors -- we build a long-term sustainable company that is able to make profit while finding the right balance with the above. This allows us to keep investing and improving as a company in how we operate, and is the only way for us to be around for the long-term for all of our customers, partners and employees.