Ordering food online is pretty much the norm these days and one of the biggest players in the Danish market is Hungry.dk, a takeaway portal with hundreds of home delivery restaurants across the country. Founded in late 2012 to challenge Just-Eat's market dominance, Hungy.dk has expanded to more than 800 restaurants in Denmark within 16 months.
The Local caught up with Hungry’s founder, Morten Larsen, who since 2011 has also been the group CEO of Miinto Group, an online retailer working with more than 1,200 independent fashion shops.
How did you come up with this business idea?
I was the managing director at Just-Eat for six years and a year after stepping down, I decided to start my own takeaway portal. I had a lot of knowledge in this area and knew the main market drivers in the business. I used to wonder why nobody had challenged Just-Eat's dominant position by entering the market. Home delivery by restaurants is a huge opportunity and I wanted to challenge the big daddy of this segment at the national level. I realized the right time was now.
What were the initial challenges? How did you overcome them?
With many years of experience in the startup space, and another startup behind me in Just-Eat, the most important thing for us was speed rather than how to run the business.
The overall challenge, which is always the most important one in a startup, was to raise money and find the right team. My belief is that if you have proven your mettle, you can raise capital easier than when you are a newbie. I raised money entirely through my network without taking help from a single venture capitalist. As for my team, the management team from Just-Eat were ready to join me at Hungry.dk
How has the journey been so far?
It has been a focused and very successful journey. We are up against the strongest takeaway player in the world but are growing faster than any other takeaway startup. In a time span of only 16 months, we connected 820 restaurants, a majority of them being from Just-Eat's network, and the company is profitable.
We focus on data services for the restaurants and offer very low prices for them to come on board. They also know we have the experience. We treat our relationship with restaurants as a partnership instead of dictating terms to them.
As a first in Denmark, Hungry.dk introduced a digital stamp card where customers earn bonuses every time they order. Once they have ten stamps with one restaurant, they get a completely free bonus order. It's an advantage to be hungry.
How has becoming an entrepreneur changed you personally?
It's a lifestyle. I love to take calculated risks and start up something new. You have to trade your current life for a better one – the one in which you can create your own day, rules, routine, etc. Most importantly, follow your own dream by focusing on what you love to do instead of following somebody else's dream.
Any other personal reflections and/ or message to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t think too long, focus on the right team and just do it. It's not hard to build a company if you are surrounded with the right people. To create your own company is a big pleasure but always do it with people you like to be with. Don't focus on doing 100 percent of the work yourself; instead, share ownership with the right people.