Our Founders Interview this month is with one of 360hyper’s co-founders, Filipe Nery.
360hyper is a premier groceries marketplace that offers a unique shopping experience focused on convenience and speed. The team also offers an all-in-one advanced supply chain management software in their cutting-edge SaaS platform, empowering businesses of all sizes to streamline their operations, from order management to delivery tracking.
*This interview has been slightly edited for reading ease.
First, can you tell us about your professional background and the path that led you to 360hyper?
First of all thank you for having us. My name is Filipe Nery, one of the co-founders and CCO at 360hyper, and I have a degree from Católica University in media studies. From a young age I didn’t know what to do, because I wanted to do everything. I have however always had a bit of a sales in my DNA. My father and my grandfather, they are all salespeople, but I didn’t want to be a salesperson. Instead, I wanted to do other things, but when I finished my degree, I entered A Vida É Bela, where I understood that my ability for sales was so strong that I needed to be doing it. I was the one that started convincing our partners to back us while I was there, and five years later they were a huge success. Further along, 5 years ago, I joined Bizay — 360imprimir — and actually 360hyper was a spinoff of Bizay. What happened was that during the pandemic we saw that we needed to do something to help the Portuguese community. There were huge lines to buy food online from Continente, from Auchan, and so we decided that it would be good to do something in food, supermarket related, because we were very good at digital marketing. We had an online printer, so why not an online supermarket? Within the first three months, it was huge. We quickly realized that we needed to have technology to better understand and to better solve the problems of our customers. So that’s what we did, we built that technology. Fast forward to today, we are a company that wants to move from a marketplace of supermarkets into a SaaS player. What we want is to give our technology to our retail partners for them to use. We are like a vitamin for the retailers we serve, we help them be more agile, be more swift. That’s why in April of this year we created a new brand called SwiftSO, Swift Solutions. Optimization our first focal point, we can track in real time exactly where our couriers are, and what time they will pick up and drop off each order. The second one is transparency for our clients, we know exactly what products are being collected, the price of the invoice, how much money a customer will receive back from replaced goods, and so on. We aim to be as transparent as possible. Imagine that tomorrow you can have a Continente or an Auchan or an El Corte Ingles that can simply introduce our SwiftSO API, and they can use our platform and our technology. They can instantly improve their operations with more optimized routes, internally or externally, and also offer full transparency to their clients. An example of the improvements achievable is that instead of a supermarket saying that you’ll probably receive your order tomorrow between two and four, they can tell you that your order will be delivered tomorrow from 2:20 to 2:30. With that more specific margin, people no longer need to be at home for those four hours, they can instead go for a walk, go to the gym, or simply move along with their lives normally. Now we are talking about supermarkets only but imagine that tomorrow you are receiving a DPD or a DHL, all you are told is that it will be there tomorrow, you don’t know when. With SwiftSO, you can be told that your order will be there during a specific 20-minute time window. This is the transparency and comfort we want to provide.
What was the most crucial point in time for 360hyper / SwiftSO?
I think it was our third day! In our first day at 360hyper we got eighty orders, on the second day as well, but on the third day we launched a press release and, on that day, we got400 orders. We didn’t have the technology we have today back then, and that obliged us to better understand our clients, starting with their supply chain. That’s one reason why 360imprimir invited Nuno Serradas Duarte, our CEO, because he was analyzing that behavior in supply chains. In general, however, I think that third day was the main reason that we are the company we are today. We faced that huge problem on our third day, and we needed to understand how technology could help us be more optimized. It’s also important to say that Makro was challenging us when they saw that we were delivering in four hours and they were delivering only in the next one or two days. They were impressed with our technology and asked if we could provide it to their own clients, as a white label. We said yes, and one of the big reasons why we are doing so well today is because Makro challenged us to provide this white label service.
Do you have any tips or advice for someone who just started a startup?
It’s not easy because I’m a so-called invited entrepreneur. Of course, you can be invited and not have the power or the motivation to do that, but in our case, we are a bit different. As I say to my friends, we are like rock band that was put together by some manager which said, “Okay, this guy can sing, this guy can play the drums, this guy can play the guitar, now you all get together and play music”. That’s really how it happened because at the time I didn’t really know Nuno or Diogo. Diogo was the founder of 360imprimir, so of course I knew who he was, but he was in another department, so I’d say hi to him, but I didn’t really know him. This being said, I think that the most important thing you need to have is a good set of founders to play your music. In our case it was random because I didn’t choose them and they didn’t choose me, but it was good also, because in the end we gelled well together. So, you need to have a good core team of founders and then you need to have a vision. You have to know where you want to go. Your vision might change a thousand times, that’s normal, but you have to know where you want to go, because the things you are doing now are meant to lead you to that point. However, if you are sailing on the way to your end goal and you see an iceberg straight ahead, you better make the call to turn left or you will be destroyed. This brings me to my third point, which is to be very conscious about what we are doing in every moment and to take action. Don’t say “I don’t know, maybe tomorrow I will decide if yes or no”. It’s much better to make a wrong decision than to make no decision.
If you could go back in time, is there anything you’d do differently?
No. I think all the errors that we made lead us to this point, just like all of our successes also led us to this point, so no.
What has been the role of Indico on 360hyper’s journey?
Indico is a partner for us, not just an investor. We already said this a lot of times, Indico is not only an investor, because there are investors that put money and say “okay, now you can do what you want”. Indico no, they are engaging, getting involved, giving their opinion. They are very, very focused on the founders, on the business, and how to help us grow, because they know, of course, that if they can help us in the future the business will grow, and they will also benefit from that.
Lastly, what has been the most challenging part of growing a startup? And the most fun part?
This isn’t the only challenging part, but I think one of the main things is the people you are surrounded by. One year and a half ago we were nine people, today we are almost 30, until the end of this year we predict we’ll be 35, and next year 50. HR is very important because if you hire someone that is not the right fit for your culture or that leaves within two months, you have to start all over again. For us, it’s very important to have the right people. We now have a Head of People and Culture, as we call them, because we think it’s very important to understand how our people are committed to the company and what their problems are. It’s different if I ask or if Nuno asks, then if it’s a person that is beside them asks, it allows them to be more sincere. For me, it’s a big challenge to get the right people and then also for them to be happy, it’s not easy. We work in a hybrid system, it’s not fully remote and its not fully in-office, and that’s also a challenge. How can our employees be integrated into our culture if they don’t go to the office, or if they go only once per month? That’s another challenge we face.
In terms of fun, I think for me these things are fun as well, in the sense that difficulties are fun. Actually, I think this is interesting to say, I said this to my team the other day as well. You should treat this as a game. I see a lot of adults, not only 20-year-olds, people that are 30, 40, people my age, that play games where every day they have to go click on their phone to collect coins or grow their farm or whatever. Instead of doing that, think that the work you are doing is your game. If you do that, you will see that it’s fun. Of course, there are people that don’t like their jobs, and if they don’t like it, it’s not fun for them. But if you like what you are doing, I recommend that you see it as a game. It’s very interesting to see how you improve from month to month, or from year to year. In my case because I’m the part of growth and sales, that is what I like, to see the growth, to see the metrics. I treat this as a game, it’s very fun for me. Some people spend one hour or more every day clicking buttons on a game. If you treat the work you are doing as a game, you will pay attention to your achievements and the milestones you are hitting, and it will make your work more fun. That is some advice that I’d certainly like to give to those that are thinking about running their own startup, also considering it as a game.