In an interview, Bevmo founder and GoPuff CEO Rafael Ilishayev talks about his childhood, how he came to be involved with the marijuana industry, and how his startup company is trying to bring change to the world. His vision is to create a new kind of company that will open up the world of technology and marijuana.
GoPuff is a fast-growing on-demand delivery startup that delivers items in 30 minutes in more than 500 cities in the United States and Europe. It competes with rivals such as Instacart, Rappi, and Getir.
The company has been slow to grant new stock options. They have also cut 10% of its workforce, citing restructuring as the reason. But it is hoping to raise $300 million as a cash cushion to help it weather an economic downturn.
To get a handle on its shrinking budget, Gopuff has been closing warehouses, shedding staff, and lowering its cash burn. But it still has nearly a quarter of its original $1 billion in total capital. That’s a lot of money, especially for a startup that’s only three years old.
As it grows, the company has had to deal with the ups and downs of the venture industry. For instance, the company acquired a fleet management software platform for reported $115 million in June. Now, it’s trying to bolster its cash flow by raising a new revolving line of credit.
A recent study found that the Philadelphia-based e-commerce unicorn GoPuff made a brisk profit of around $3.9 billion. During the year, GoPuff had a whopping 6,500 employees, a smattering of tens of thousands of driver partners and a few hundred warehouses and distribution centers across the US. For that matter, the company has a customer base that spans the globe. To that end, the company has done more than its fair share of acquisitions. Among these, the most notable is the company’s acquisition of renowned West Coast retail chain BevMo. The acquisition should be a boon to the Pennsylvania based company’s already loyal customer base and its bottom line.
Growing up in entrepreneurial families
There is a lot of discussion about the merits of starting a business. In fact, a recent survey of mothers who own businesses found that 89% of them think their business inspired their children to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. As a result, a plethora of aspiring business tycoons abound.
It’s no secret that a lot of entrepreneurialism is founded on good old fashioned family collaboration. In fact, a recent study by the Technical University of Madrid showed that parents who own a business are among the most positive role models in a child’s life. This in turn, has a cascading effect on their offspring. Among other things, a family business allows for a more egalitarian approach to parenting.
The best part is that it is likely that their offspring will continue to reap the benefits long after their parents have passed on. What’s more, the business is still a family affair, thanks to a growing pool of entrepreneurs, most of whom have children of their own.
Aiming to open up the world
Gopuff CEO Rafael Ilishayev has spent a lot of time in the fast delivery industry. He was a co-founder of the company, and he’s also involved with Chabad Serving Drexel University and the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship at Drexel. A first-generation American, he grew up with an entrepreneurial family in New York. During his studies at Drexel, he met Yakir Gola, a co-founder of the company.
Now, he’s working on expanding the reach of the company. His new business plan involves adding more local stores and more goods. And that means more deliveries. This isn’t the usual way to compete in the quick-delivery market. Most competitors act as intermediaries between merchants and customers. However, Gopuff has a physical footprint and owns its own inventory.
Currently, the company operates in about 500 U.S. cities, and they have more than 250 micro-fulfillment centers across the country. It’s a distribution network that’s far ahead of its competition. They recently added suppliers for vegetables, fruits, baby products, and nut- and grain-based snacks.
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