The next edition of Cashwalk is right around the corner and to help give you some inspiration and some valuable advice, Start2 (formerly German Entrepreneurship) interviewed one of the previous Cashwalk winners. Zeynep Demirbilek is the Founder and CEO of Service Club Delivery, a Barcelona-based startup that serves as a marketplace between companies and delivery drivers. Her startup won in the Business & Enterprise category during the virtual edition of Cashwalk in September 2021. In this interview, Zeynep shares her experience pitching Service Club Delivery at Cashwalk, raising another investment round, and everything she’s learned along the way.
How are things going for Service Club Delivery?
Zeynep Demirbilek: Service Club Delivery is going from strength to strength. This year has been a landmark year as we have gone from operating in 7 countries to 12 countries. Our revenues are forecast to end the year with 4x growth year on year. Our community of delivery drivers has also grown to 200,000 people, making it the largest globally. On top of all this, we were just awarded an R&D grant from the Spanish government to further develop our AI-PEM proprietary software, representing a significant investment in our artificial intelligence technology.
Why did you decide to participate in the last edition of Cashwalk?
Zeynep: Cashwalk is renowned internationally for the quality of the startups and investors who participate, so that was certainly a decision factor. Since our startup operates in the delivery sector, we wanted the opportunity to present to the German market since many investors in the delivery sector originate from Germany.
How did attending Cashwalk help your startup?
Zeynep: Every opportunity we take to present in front of the innovation ecosystem is a fantastic opportunity to learn and to improve our visibility. We have been successful in building our reputation in this way, and we’ve collected various awards and prizes in our journey so far, including the Cashwalk Business and Enterprise category 2021, and an award from the United Nations for upskilling our delivery drivers, also in 2021. We opened our seed investment round in September 2021, so this was excellent practice for honing our pitch deck. We successfully completed our round in December 2021.
What tips can you give this year’s startups for their pitches at Cashwalk?
Zeynep: Passion for your product or service always shines through! Practice your pitch until you are perfect. Try to match your industry’s main problem with the solution you offer, together with the opportunity for investors. Demonstrating the credibility of your team is important as well – not just an afterthought. Don’t forget: Cashwalk also gives you the platform to connect with other potential partners and companies in your space.
As a female founder, what do you think is missing in the startup scene to encourage more women to start a business?
Zeynep: Funding is the obvious one. Traditionally, the investor market has been male dominated, making it less female friendly. As a result, the number of female led startups that receive funding is fewer. But times are changing. Unfortunately, many women undersell themselves, so I would say it’s critical to have more female role models and mentors. Also, networking – which seems to be so natural for men – can often elude women. We feel like we’re “selling” but this is a critical factor in business success.
What are the biggest challenges you currently face at Service Club Delivery?
Zeynep: We face the typical fast-growth challenges. Scaling the business, while retaining quality of service to our clients and drivers is paramount for us. Entering new geographic markets and building out the teams accordingly are other challenges.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are founding a business?
Zeynep: Fail fast! Too many founders try to perfect their product or service before launch. In my opinion, this is a mistake. You need the feedback from the market sooner rather than later. Network like crazy to build your support systems. Always enter as many competitions and pitch opportunities as possible to build your reputation and enhance your visibility.
Can you give us a sneak peek of the plans for the future of Service Club Delivery?
Zeynep: First, we’re about to open our next investment round. Watch this space, as we have some impressive metrics to validate our business model going forward. As mentioned earlier, we’re moving to 12 markets from our existing 7. Looking at our current pipeline, we can see the path to 30 countries in the near future. The R&D funding represents a significant investment in our technology, which will mean more economies of scale and a true 360 degrees of service for our customers and drivers.
Ready to pitch your startup to ready investors? Apply for the next Cashwalk and join this exclusive startup pitch event for entrepreneurs and investors to make prosperous connections.