Why the Head of Innovation at HelloFresh nearly got arrested (and other lessons learned)

Why the Head of Innovation at HelloFresh nearly got arrested (and other lessons learned)
29 March 2017

HelloFresh is a meal-delivery service that delivers 8m meals per month to 740,000 subscribers. I had the good fortune of being able to listen to Luke Grob, their Head of Innovation. He talked about his devotion to customers and how that has helped grow the business.

  1. When HelloFresh had just 5 staff, Luke had no qualms about dressing up as a carrot and standing in Waterloo Station to talk to strangers about his product. As he described it: “To build a business, you have to be able to talk to thousands of people in a short time and make at least some of them do things that they really didn’t want to do until 5 minutes ago”. (He nearly got arrested several times but that didn’t stop him)
  2. What looks like a meal delivery service on the outside became so successful because they are a data gathering operation. Each week, the company collects feedback on 500,000 recipes. This feedback is machine-read, and following two years of refining an automated system of understanding and categorizing the data the company now gets actionable advice out of its customer feedback in a way unlike any other such delivery service.
  3. HelloFresh sees the future as being all about hyper-personalisation. They break each single recipe into 60-100 variables that are measurable. Based on their client feedback, they want to offer the ultimate curated service to their customers. Which will set them apart from supermarkets and other “basic” food delivery services.
  4. Very important, find ways how to measure to what degree your existing customers are willing to recommend you to other potential new customers. It’s the cheapest form of client acquisition.
  5. Equally important, spend lots of time working on understanding those potential customers that your company is not yet addressing. What are you doing wrong, why are you not reaching them yet?
  6. You can’t build a successful company without establishing a culture where staff are happy. HelloFresh spends lots of time on creating an environment that employees enjoy. Equally, they set some rules that you either have to accept or leave. E.g., no one eats at their desks, instead everyone has to have lunch at one of their communal tables each day.

HelloFresh was set up in 2011. It raised $350m in funding over several stages and now has become a company reportedly valued at $2bn. So presumably they must be doing something right.

You can’t build a successful company without establishing a culture where staff are happy

This dinner was a semi-public affair and the dinner presenter did not object to me sharing notes with my readers. Everyone loved Luke poking fun about the fact that he looks like a 23 year old university graduate. A good time was had by all, and if someone on the world wide web finds these notes useful, then all the better!

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