The Hot Seat: Tamas Tuske
“In this series, we put our guests in the hot seat. We fire away questions about the hard things about hard things and make room for vulnerability in entrepreneurship.”
How uncertainty fueled the future of ViddL
When Tamas and his co-founders started ViddL 2 years ago they delivered 5 packages through ‘crowd-shipping’ a day. Today they reach over 1,000 packages a day in Budapest alone and have delivered over 100,000 packages in total of which they haven’t lost a single one!
Three days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed, they had changed their processes to assure contactless delivery and one month later they had developed and launched a new service buying and delivering goods in 4 cities in Hungary.
Sustainability and people are at the heart of the company. By delivering solely through bikes and electrical scooters they are not only saving tons of CO2, they also raised a fund to deliver goods for free to seniors during these unseen times and they consider their team as their biggest asset.
Please tell us a bit more about how ViddL got started?
ViddL is a delivery startup using crowd-shipping to solve the last mile challenge, we mobilize standalone couriers and provide our customers with an innovative online platform. Our agile service and platform connect online stores and logistics companies with independent, non-professional couriers for the purpose of package delivery within a city.
As for many startups, our journey started in an incubator. We were selected for the Startit @kbc incubator in Budapest and it was truly stimulating to be in an environment with so many likeminded people. We also participated in several startup competitions and won quite a few such as a Pitch, please! Forbes competition, our founder, Dora Kratochvill was named ‘Best female entrepreneur of the year’ at the Regional Startup and Innovation Award in 2018 and we also got the third prize at the EIT InnoEnergy challenge PowerUp in 2018. These were great opportunities to validate our idea and to get in touch with potential partners and investors. However, there comes a time in every startup’s life when they have to take a leap of faith and step into the real world. Being in the startup ecosystem I often see that startups don’t dare to take this step and they get stuck in the warmth and convenience of an incubator and rather than focusing on real business development in the actual market, they go from one startup competition to the next.
What has been the hardest decision you’ve had to make as an entrepreneur?
When you start developing a project from scratch, you need to find people who perfectly fit your company’s vision. You motivate them, you go through hell with them, you work with them day and night and then there might come a point when you need to let them go. Why? Because of lack of funding or a change in the business plan or your product is ready and you need to focus on sales rather than development. Letting people go has been my toughest decision to make yet.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve done to increase the impact of your business?
A year ago we decided to fully focus on sustainability. Since then we only deliver with bikes or electric scooters. As a result, we save the city from tons of CO2. Furthermore, in response to the COVID19, we came up with a new idea called “HozdL” (literally translates as “Bring it”). Using our app, you can basically order anything you want and our couriers will go shop for you and deliver any items right to your doorstep. The former idea came from one of our couriers who started working with us only a month before that. We truly value everyone’s ideas. We wanted to make sure those who need help the most would get it as well, so the founders put together a small fund to cover the shipping costs of seniors.
What makes you proud of your company’s culture?
I’m proud of our open company culture where we always welcome new ideas and we promote new initiatives. Since we value people bringing new ideas to the table, we embedded design thinking methods in our process. When someone comes up with a new idea, we schedule a 1h design thinking workshop to which everyone participates and gets to build on the initial idea. Afterward, we summarise the findings and assign tasks and deadlines. With this method, we can quickly react to any change. For example, when the pandemic started, we developed the “contactless delivery” method only 3 days after the first Hungarian patient was confirmed.
We’re committed to full transparency in the way we work and value our employees. Every second week we have a team meeting where we discuss every happening in the life of the company e.g. potential deals, achievements, goals, failures. We hold 1:1 meetings with each of our team members every second week. This is the time when we give feedback and discuss future personal growth.
The best thing about working at ViddL is that it doesn’t feel like working. We do quite a few team-building activities outside of the office, like board game nights or BBQ parties, and once a year we take the whole team to a bigger trip which lasts several days. Last year we were in Romania and we had an absolute blast. It’s been a year but those memories are still very much alive during lunch-breaks.
What is something you have learned and would like to pass on?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to high up experts or CEO’s! This is some of the most valuable advice I can give to anyone. You think you can’t talk to the CEO of Uber or the National Post Office. That’s simply not true. It only takes some research, a 180-character LinkedIn introduction and you are set to schedule a meeting with them. We were never afraid to reach out to anyone. This way we saved months of work just because we dared to ask questions to experts.
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