Finnish tech company Wolt, a last mile delivery platform, has announced the launch of two new technology hubs in Tel-Aviv and Stockholm.
It's a glimmer of hope bobbing upon the sea of job losses, and belt tightening, currently occurring in the tech sector.
“Wolt has taken a massive leap into the delivery of everything in the past couple of years, and we need more talented people to build world-class solutions and solve complex problems across business lines,” says Niilo Säämänen, Chief Technology Officer at Wolt.
“We want to keep pushing for an industry-defining experience for our over 20 million customers and hundreds of thousands partners across our 23 markets and over 300 cities,” he says.
Wolt will be hiring dozens of experts including software engineers, product managers, designers and data professionals for these hubs.
“Some of the most talented people in technology live in Stockholm and Tel-Aviv. We believe we have plenty of exciting opportunities to offer, as both hubs will play an important role in tackling the delivery of everything at scale, unlocking the potential of our newer business lines and most importantly in making the service better for our existing customers and partners. We have a very ambitious hiring plan and can’t wait to welcome our new teammates,” Säämänen says.
Wolt was founded in Helsinki in 2014. It provides an online platform for consumers, merchants and couriers. It connects people looking to order food and other goods with those selling and delivering them. As well as developing the tech it also operates Wolt Market, its own grocery stores.
It was acquired by US firm DoorDash earlier this year – Wolt’s co-founder and CEO Miki Kuusi continued in his role and also became Head of International at DoorDash after the deal was done.
Speaking last week at the Slush tech conference in Helsinki, Kuusi told Tech.eu how he’s finding the new challenge.
“People keep asking me ‘Oh, Miki, what's next?”, and I say that this is next - I'm 33 years old, I'm a management team member of a stock listed US company, I'm learning so much new things every day,” he says. “I'm learning about like the US market, the DoorDash business, the DoorDash technology and how to run this business at this scale.”
“The reality is that Wolt hasn't changed that much - we're still running Wolt relatively independently. When we announced this transaction, it was very much what we said back then, we're optimising for speed and success, we're optimising for being able to be competitive and serve customers in better ways, build better technologies, and so forth,” he says.
But what is it like to sell your company and instead of answering to investors now essentially answering to a boss?
“It’s actually in many ways, a little bit more liberating, versus talking with investors that know your business a lot more superficially – and also, by extension, we're working for the shareholders,” he explains. “At the end of the day our job is to build a successful company that is able to balance growth and profitability and the different audiences that we serve.”
With a large number of job losses in many of the global tech companies, the feelings of woe didn’t seem to be much of a factor at Slush, there was plenty of positives to take from the change tech is going through right now.
“On Slush, I love being here because this is a bright spot in the middle of a world that's pretty dark right now with the war in Europe, and inflation and economic uncertainty, and all these other things that are going on,” says Kuusi who is also co-founder and former CEO of Slush.
“I don't think like we are going to get through these kinds of difficult times just by mellowing in the badness of it all so I like the fact that there's optimism and people looking into the future and so forth.”
“I think what we're seeing now is a very healthy correction, at the end of the day, companies are being forced to run themselves more sustainably,” he says.
Despite many companies who grew rapidly during the pandemic now showing signs of a slowdown Wolt is holding steady.
“Consumer expectations are all the time going up over time. Our expectation that we set on ourselves also as a company is that we have to be able to provide more selection at a better price, with a better customer experience as time goes forward - that's kind of the default. I think the current economic situation is only, strengthening that that is the case,” Kuusi adds.