How quick commerce is changing the delivery landscape

1 Oct 2021

Christian Hardenberg. Image: Delivery Hero

Delivery Hero’s CTO discusses the growth of quick commerce and how the delivery sector is expanding beyond food.

Germany-based Delivery Hero is one of several delivery companies that has been benefiting from the shift in consumer behaviour since the beginning of the pandemic. Last month, the company announced plans to roll out its food and grocery delivery services in more German cities and it also took a 5.09pc stake in rival Deliveroo.

Its chief technology officer, Christian Hardenberg, has been with the company since June 2016 and is responsible for all technology and engineering at Delivery Hero.

Before joining, he spent five years as the CTO at Rocket Internet, where he helped launch more than 50 internet companies. Prior to that, he was CTO and later chief executive officer of Metaversum, a Berlin-based start-up that builds 3D virtual worlds based on real cities.

‘The delivery landscape is undergoing an immense technology transformation right now and the pandemic has magnified the importance of tech in our daily lives’

How do you drive the tech strategy at Delivery Hero?

Delivery Hero is a tech company, building the next generation of quick commerce. We deliver everything you love, faster than ever before. Within the tech department, we are solving big complex tech challenges such as real-time logistics, data and integration, and localisation.

My job as the chief technology officer is to ensure that our tech team has the resources to do their job. This includes scaling our team, hiring the best people, remaining agile and continuing to ship new releases every day. I drive the strategy forwards, liaising with local CTOs and teams to make sure that everything we do runs seamlessly across the globe.

Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

Delivery Hero always aims to be at the forefront of tech and innovation. In particular, we just announced the launch of our new Delivery Hero Tech Academy to promote diversity in the technology industry.

The 9.5-month-long programme equips students with the knowledge of the Java and Python coding languages and has been developed in partnership with the Digital Career Institute.

We also just announced the opening of our new tech hub in Istanbul to promote global and local innovation. From a tech perspective, we also continue to pioneer quick commerce, the next generation of e-commerce, aiming to bring groceries and household goods to customers in 15 minutes.

How big is your team?

At Delivery Hero, we currently have more than 2,500 engineers working across the globe and this number continues to grow as we open up more tech centres in cities such as Berlin, Istanbul, Taipei and Singapore.

We prefer doing things in-house. Sometimes we use external agencies to speed up projects, but always aim to replace externals over time with our own team.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation?

At Delivery Hero, we are building the future of quick commerce, aiming to ‘deliver anything’. We believe that digital transformation can help merge the online and offline world.

Through our technology, we can connect all parts of the delivery ecosystem through advanced logistics to deliver all items customers need at record speed.

We believe that mastering technology and making it a core competence of our company has been a key to success to be able to shape digital transformation.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

The delivery landscape is undergoing an immense technology transformation right now and the pandemic has magnified the importance of technology in our daily lives.

Overall, we have seen a shift in consumer preferences and an increased demand for quick commerce. We believe that quick commerce and the ability to deliver everything our customers love, faster than ever before, is key.

Coming from food delivery (where we are used to delivering fast, as food gets cold quickly), we are leveraging our real-time logistics capability to expand into all kinds of other local commerce. We see that customers really value getting their needs solved within minutes.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

As a global company, we obtain, process and safeguard a huge amount of data. Protection of data has many aspects.

From minimising access and making sure our servers are properly secured, to following best practices in secure application development as well as monitoring and incident management. We continuously invest in building out our security team, improving our tooling and training people.

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