#52: Eugene Lee Chief Operating Officer of GOGOVAN

#52: Eugene Lee Chief Operating Officer of GOGOVAN Featured Image

GoGoVan is Asia’s leading on-demand logistics, transportation service provider. With over 70,000 registered drivers across Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, India, and China; GoGoVan is aggressively expanding across the region, and aims to dominate this fast and growing last-mile logistics sector. The company is evaluated at over 1 billion USD and raised a total of $276.5M USD so far.

Eugene is taking care of the company’s direction and strategy, overall planning, execution and management, global expansion and development and mergers and acquisitions.

Listen to the full discussion here:

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Connect with the Guest:

Eugene Lee: Linkedin

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Eugene’s journey of 20 years and experience in the startup space.
  • How did the collaboration with Alibaba help GoGoVan implement its services in China?
  • GoGoVan and network utilization
  • Why GoGoVan is considered as the Uber for logistics?
  • Three Customer Segment of GoGoVan – how do they each operate
  • How does GoGoVan handle liabilities and unexpected events?
  • “The last thing you want, especially for a young company like us, is to hire and then fire.”
  • “We try very hard to create an environment in a company that allows people to grow, to be heard and that allows people to learn.”

Show notes:

  • [01:23] How Eugene Lee moved from HP to the advertising industry, having his own company and joining GoGoVan.
  • [02:34] How did you find GoGoVan? Or how did they find you?
  • [04:01] How did your collaboration with Alibaba helped you be where you are today?
  • [04:50] We are currently working with China and Alibaba to implement electronic trucks and vehicles into different cities.
  • [05:51] What is GoGoVan and what is the model you are using?
  • [06:00] To put it simply, GoGoVan is the Uber for Logistics. We have an app, a web app, and an API solution depending on the sectors of customers to go after.
  • [06:34] How do you ensure process consistency given that you have so many drivers and platforms?
  • [07:07] Consistency is always a challenge because you optimally don’t own the asset class that you manage.
  • [08:15] Regarding the ownership of the assets, do you own some of the vans or is it all owned by the drivers?
  • [08:49] When the push for the electric vans will come in, do you think your current arrangement with the drivers will also work?
  • [10:19] You had a recent merger with 58 Suyun, what were some of the challenges you encountered and how did you solve them?
  • [11:00] Instead of competing and creating heat in China,  which is a huge and expensive market. We thought that it would be a good decision on both sides to come together.
  • [12:33] How do you, as a group, ensure that there’s a consistency of culture and teamwork upon the merge?
  • [13:14] We spend a lot of time, effort, and money on making sure that communication is transparent and everybody’s on the same page and it’s a continued effort on the outside to make sure there’s consistency and we all are culturally aligned.
  • [14:52] Tell us one or two examples of corporate clients that use your services and how you are helping them improve their last-mile operations.
  • [16:46] If you look at people on the enterprise side, if you’re on your own trucks or vans, 60, 70% of the time, they are not utilized more depending on companies.
  • [18:12] Are considering clients like Apple and Huawei into your portfolio at the moment?
  • [19:59] I think that the whole psychology of consumerism is driving demand and growth a lot.
  • [20:28] In cases where there is a loss or damaged good, will you be the one to cover it? What would happen in that event?
  • [22:23] The first line of defense would be the driver’s liability. But if it is nobody’s fault, the platform being a good company, like us, we would cover the liability of a maximum of $200.
  • [24:12] Are there any cost-effective strategies you use in order to mitigate your cost of transportation?
  • [27:21] In terms of profitability versus achieving scale versus international expansion, what do you think of these things?
  • [30:56] What are some of the biggest challenges from an operations perspective that you have today in terms of continuing this fast-paced growth?
  • [31:42] Before we go into a particular market, we spent probably three to six months to understand the last-mile market, which is very different for each country.
  • [33:10] What are some of the differences and commonalities in terms of the markets that you operate?
  • [35:37] How do you make a decision when choosing a market?
  • [36:26] We stay focused on making sure that we do a good job in stabilizing the market of the countries we decide to go to.
  • [38:16] “70 countries tomorrow” is sometimes nice to say, but I’m not sure if it is the right thing to do.
  • [38:40] Are you looking into a cross board product or into a longer duration in between cities?
  • [39:36] To answer your question, we will stay focused on the intracity of the asset class we are managing.
  • [40:23] How do you look and think about attracting and getting the right person to move into the new city?
  • [41:00] Forr us, it’s really looking for people with passion, commitment, willingness to learn- more EQ than IQ.
  • [41:45] The last thing you want, especially for a young company like us, is to hire and then fire because it disrupts everything from people, training, culture, communication, and learning.
  • [42:44] How do you attract people like data scientists to go to GoGoVan?
  • [43:37] We try very hard to create an environment in a company that allows people to grow, to be heard and that allows people to learn.
  • [45:03] What would be some of the key values that you drive through in and out with your colleagues?
  • [45:24] What we do very hard is to “walk the talk,” meaning if you would say something, you need to do it.
  • [47:34] What would be some advice or some sharing that you can impart in terms of principles that have helped you the most?
  • [48:08] One is to be open and learn everything and secondly is to see things in a different light.

Related Episodes:

Episode #02: Charles Brewer CEO DHL e-commerce

Episode #09: Chang Wen Lai CEO at Ninja Van

Episode #51: Wolfgang Lehmacher Former Head of Supply Chain and Transport Industries, World Economic Forum

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LEX GREENSILL​

Chief Executive Officer, Greensill​

Lex is the co-founder and CEO of Greensill, and a Senior Advisor and Crown Representative to Her Majesty’s Government on Supply Chain Finance. He was awarded the CBE for Services to the British Economy in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2017 Birthday Honours.

Lex previously established the global SCF business at Morgan Stanley, and led the EMEA SCF business at Citi.

Lex holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, and is a Solicitor of the Supreme Courts of England and Wales, and Queensland.