With startups being an increasingly popular exit option for consultants – we caught up with Damien to learn about his move from BCG to Stuart App.
After working at BCG for three years, Damien Bon took the leap and jumped from the consulting world to the startup scene. With his background in solving some of the world’s toughest business problems in addition to his MBA studies, Damien decided to leverage his experience to work with Stuart, an intriguing stealth startup that raised €22M pre-launch to challenge the urban logistics status-quo.
Why did you decide to join Stuart after three years at BCG?
Whether we like it or not, we have entered the on-demand or instantaneity era, and with it our society has deeply evolved. All industries are impacted, from peer-to-peer services to education. Work and jobs have evolved and the new generation of workers is now looking for change and flexibility. A revolution is well underway.
However, one area in particular has yet to really adapt to this shift towards instant access to services and that is delivery. This likely explains why online retail sales represent no more than 10% of total sales in Europe. Stuart’s ambition is to become the leader in on-demand urban logistics, allowing shops and e-commerce sites to offer same-hour delivery. Without a doubt this will radically transform the retail space over the next couple of years and this opportunity is too big not to take part in.
What has been the biggest difference between working in a startup versus a consulting firm?
There is no safety net in a startup. In a consulting firm, the various layers of management and client stakeholders ultimately bear the responsibility for executing the strategy. In a startup, you are in the driver’s seat and on the front line, facing the end customer. This reality forces you to constantly challenge the status-quo and to review and monitor customer feedback in order to ensure an outstanding quality of service. You need to be obsessive when it comes to customer satisfaction and the perpetual pressure makes it a unique learning and exciting experience.
How do you think your consulting background and MBA helped you prepare for working in a startup?
My MBA and consulting experiences were two fantastic opportunities to learn the keys to business success. An MBA teaches you theory whilst consulting allows you to put your learnings to the test. However, success ultimately comes down to ONE factor: people.
Firstly, talent is rare, so you’d better have talented individuals in your team rather than working for competition. Secondly, the best people know how to focus and know how to do certain tasks really well. Thirdly, these people in turn recruit the best. I often say that an “A candidate” will recruit an A+ candidate because he is looking to be challenged. On the opposite, Bs will end up recruiting B- or C+ candidates in order to avoid any sort of internal competition.
Run us through a typical day at Stuart.
Part of the challenge and excitement about working here is that there is no such thing as a typical day. As I previously mentioned, our priority is to hire the best talent so I spend a significant amount of time in recruiting the architects of Stuart’s success. I put a lot of emphasis on reference checks, which I believe are an absolutely vital (and often overlooked) part of the recruitment process. I also spend a fair amount of my time with the teams in our new offices around Europe to help set up the launch roadmaps and contribute in the day-to-day execution.
Looking ahead to 2016, what are Stuart’s main plans and what role will you play in executing it?
The first half of next year will be entirely focused on expanding the offering in Europe, as we’ll shortly be launching in London, Brussels and Berlin. As for our other plans, you’ll just need to keep an eye out, though this TechCrunch article has a few hints!
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