Glovo’s recently appointed CTO discusses digital transformation and growing the company’s engineering team.
Glovo is one of several on-demand delivery companies that has done exceedingly well over the past 18 months.
The restrictions brought in all over the world as a result of Covid-19 have led to a massive increase in food delivery demands.
Spanish delivery company Glovo is just one of the many brands that has seen success from this trend.
The company hit unicorn status in 2019 after raising €150m in Series E funding and, more recently, it scored a massive €450m in funding. With this funding, it plans to further invest in its ‘q-commerce’ business, a network of warehouses strategically placed across cities for quick delivery of different goods in minutes.
Narek Verdian is the company’s chief technology officer, having been appointed earlier this year.
Before taking up the role in Glovo, he spent more than a decade in senior technology roles at major companies such as American Express, Expedia and Hotels.com.
‘I’m driving the acceleration of our tech hubs in Spain, Poland and most recently Ukraine’
– NAREK VERDIAN
Describe your role and your responsibilities in driving tech strategy.
I’m chief technology officer at Glovo, one of the world’s leading multi-category delivery players. It is my responsibility to help drive our ambitious tech strategy and expand the engineering team. What I really care about is the power of technology and the meaningful impact it has on people’s lives.
When it comes to delivering an effective tech strategy at Glovo, my aim is to create a world-class engineering organisation where passionate and creative humans work together and use technology and insights to solve problems and create shared value for all participants of our marketplace. The team focuses relentlessly on operational excellence, from engineering metrics to the availability and reliability of our platforms.
As CTO, it’s also my role to keep the company’s impact at the heart of everything we do. I’ve focused on ensuring that my team has the ability to experiment, fail, learn, measure impact, reduce wasteful activities and, overall, simply assess the type of impact we can have.
This allows for the tech team to continuously focus on improving the platform that supports our business, preparing it to effectively scale, especially for a business that grows as fast as we do at Glovo.
Lastly, I’m passionate about supercharging the marketplace by operating as an innovator, always seeking to develop and launch new verticals, new areas of the businesses and ultimately new opportunities.
Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?
At the moment I’m really focusing on expanding our engineering team. I’m driving the acceleration of our tech hubs in Spain, Poland and most recently Ukraine, and thrilled to see the progress being made.
We’re working on building a truly diverse, inclusive team and I’m pleased to say that we’re on track to have more engineers by the end of 2021 to drive R&D across all of our platforms.
How big is your team?
Glovo’s team is growing rapidly and our goal is to expand our engineering team, across our tech hub in Barcelona and Warsaw, by hiring more than 200 new engineers this year. In the tech team specifically, we’re looking to have more than 500 engineers at Glovo by the end of this year.
What are your thoughts on digital transformation?
When it comes to digital transformation, I believe Glovo’s technology is in the evolution stage. We’re constantly looking at ways to innovate to ensure we’re supporting the rapid growth of the business.
At Glovo, we also face the challenge that we’re operating in a three-sided marketplace, consisting of our customers, partners and couriers. That means that a lot of our time is spent listening and adapting, to ensure we’re creating value for all participants of the marketplace.
We are very focused on experimenting and making data-informed decisions where tech can add the biggest value. Needless to say, the challenge presents an opportunity to create a unique experience for all, yet it does not always happen smoothly, and we need to be open to swift amendments, especially when some of the integrations cause delays. Our goal is to create experiences that solve problems and delight our users.
What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world?
We are living through a truly exciting time in history for technology. With the emergence of deep neural networks, brain-computer interfaces, nano-drones, organic transistors and DNA-based storage, we will soon be in a world where it’s simply impossible to predict how it will evolve.
The geek in me can’t wait to start experimenting with those technologies. At Glovo, we work across a three-sided marketplace and so we need to be mindful of the changes in latest trends, preferences and behaviour.
In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?
I think every company approaches the issue of security in the same way: we can always do better, we can always be better protected.
Despite the variety of threats and bad actors out there, companies can safeguard themselves by constantly reviewing their security practices, making sure their systems are up to date and investing in next-gen security solutions to protect their business and customers data. This is something we’re committed to at Glovo and it’s something I take very seriously.
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