Food Tech Disruptor Leo Dovbenko Shares 5 Strong Business Lessons in His Podcast with TekRevol
In the latest episode of Technology for a Change, Season 3, TekRevol’s Principal Product Strategist, Hady Shaikh, interviewed Yalla!Market’s founder, Leo Dovbenko. Leo shared valuable business insights right from one of the fastest-growing tech hubs of the world – Dubai.
For reference, Technology for a Change is TekRevol’s official podcast series where we invite technopreneurs, thought leaders, and opportunists who want to make an impact while leveraging emerging technologies. It is a platform to discuss world-changing ideas, leadership frameworks and practices, the evolving dynamics of the global business ecosystem, and breakthroughs in the digital world and much more.
Who is Leo Dovbenko?
Leo Dovbenko is a serial entrepreneur in the food tech industry. He is an angel investor, has a deep interest in restaurant automation, and has extensive experience in launching restaurant management systems.
Leo started out as a waiter, became a manager, and then CEO of several food businesses. During his tenure as a worker, he experienced the pulse of this industry and figured out how technology could disrupt the domain. He rightly did so with consulting businesses about restaurant automation, where RMS (Restaurant Management Systems) would play an instrumental role.
During this time, he also launched a café, which started around 2006 and took off in 2007.
He kept exploring the fusion of tech with the food industry and finally penetrated the Middle East in 2018. Fast forward four years, his app is one of the toughest competitors to names like Talabat and Careem.
One of Leo’s legendary digital products is Yalla!Market, an app that delivers groceries in 15 minutes! While being a grocery delivery service app, Yalla!Market is an inspiring business model and proof of business agility because Leo created it in just 47 days. Yes, that’s even faster than launching a digital MVP.
Yalla!Market has stores and warehouses scattered in the busy infrastructure of Dubai. These store presences enable Yalla!Market drivers to deliver as promised – within stipulated time – a USP Leo has been capitalizing on really well.
According to him, Yalla!Market is making a difference to Dubai because of its inherent domain – food and beverages. Firstly, food is important. But more than that, food helps treat your loved ones in those quick, short moments that people rejoice together.
Yalla!Market has also started breakfast delivery and strongly caters to confectionery and bakery items like croissants, doughnuts, and bread.
The Food and Beverage Industry
Food industrialists and entrepreneurs have the edge over other industries – they have a chance to attract and acquire customers 5 to 7 times every day. This also means these food businesses have 5 to 7 chances every day to acquire new customers, provide them with unbeatable customer service, and retain them.
Key Takeaways from Yalla!Market x TekRevol Podcast
· When in Dubai, focus!
Dubai is a hotspot of growth opportunities. This is a place where investors, opportunities, developers, and idea contributors meet and take risks. Every day, more and more entrepreneurs are contributing to the overall economic and technical infrastructure of Dubai. Compare Dubai to other developed and developing business lands in the world. It has cultural diversity, easier entry to the market, a strategic location, a welcoming corporate ecosystem, and limitless opportunities. According to Leo, if you want to achieve something in Dubai, you have to focus!
· Stay humble.
In answer to a logistics-related question, Leo advises, “Deliver yourself in the beginning!” You need to have humble beginnings for an extraordinary future. Mentioning Leo’s experiences, his first serious job was as a waiter in a luxury hotel. As he identified his interest in the food industry, he kept digging deeper and found his way up the ladder. He served as a manager, then CEO of different food brands.
· Saturdays are important.
Another important entrepreneurial lesson from the podcast is that utilizing Saturdays is integral to any venture. If you consider, Saturdays make up four crucial days of any month. And when you are hustling, you need to commit to something that’s bigger than yourself. In such times, you need to come out of your comfort zone and dedicate valuable time to building the masterpiece you want it to be – be it a Friday or a Saturday, or a Monday!
· Competition is healthy.
Competition empowers you and your mission. It fuels your purpose and compels you to build extraordinary products that provide a high-end user experience. According to Leo, competition is healthy, and if you believe in your product, no business rival can leave you behind. Strengthen your USP and aim to disrupt; the rest will be history!
· Responsibility towards environment
When aspiring entrepreneurs are building a product or service, they get so focused on the solution that they often forget the other important things. Here, think of the environment, logistics, fuel, and the overall ecosystem where your solution will function and have a large impact.
If you want to be proud of your solution, do consider responsibility for more important things in the world. As an entrepreneur, whether you are a small brand or an established name, realize your corporate social responsibility and create an impact whenever you can, wherever you are. As an example, Leo Dovbenko shared his plans for creating furniture in the future and recycling plastic bottles.
For anybody who wishes to break the clutter: come out of their comfort zone and build something revolutionary. Do what you love! If you love something, you can pass through any existing or potential issues on your way. Resilience and patience are key partners throughout the entrepreneurial journey. Belief is important; back it with robust research and strong customer service, and success will be inevitable.
Hitting the market big isn’t the only ideal. Sometimes, starting your venture, no matter the circumstances, is the best thing to do. Also, for any technical venture, there are two factors that play a critical role in success: your idea and an A-team for the right execution.
Experience is good but not a must-have. Entrepreneurship is a bumpy road, yet you can pass it with constant learning and a vision to make things better.
- Planning to disrupt your industry?
- TekRevol is your route to ready! Take your next step here with TekRevol’s experienced business strategists and developers.
Author : Saba Sohail
Saba is all about strategic leadership and tech-led transformation. She comprehends, incubates, and iterates the idea of integrating tech-powered solutions and converts her knowledge into simple, valuable, and actionable blogs for tech leaders and businesses, much like TekRevol does with their products and solutions.
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