Food ordering and delivery apps have come and gone over the years, but Hey You has been a mainstay across Sydney cafes.
It’s a veteran of the local startup scene; born out of a merger between Beat the Q and Posse, the service officially launched with the Hey You name in 2015, raising funding from the likes of Reinventure and Silicon Valley angels.
As the competition keeps coming and the way we buy and consume food shifts, the startup is gearing up to expand into new markets and verticals with a new CEO at the helm.
Having started his career with the likes of KPMG and Cisco, Uzair Moosa then found himself working for a Saudi Arabian airline before taking on the role of general manager at ride hailing startup Careem, which operates across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.
Moosa eventually decided to move to Australia, he said, because it was a country he admired – particularly from a sports perspective.
“Australia is a very small country in terms of population but produces so many world class athletes who outperform the rest. Sports brings a lot of self discipline into your life, because you have to be so focused on your training and over-prepare, because every single millisecond counts, so you start optimising your behaviour,” he explained.
“I think that’s really important in the business world as well; you always have to be on top of your game and you can’t be predictable. You constantly have to respond to market dynamics and adapt to new things.”
Having moved to Australia without a job in mind, Moosa said he spent a few months at home getting used to the Australian lifestyle and enjoying the nice weather before getting bored and reaching out to a few companies.
Hey You stood out, he said, because he liked its story and its mission.
“Hey You is about bringing customers back to the restaurant; it’s not about delivery, but about convenience. It’s allowing smaller merchants to embrace technology, and at the same time develop a stronger relationship with their customers,” Moosa explained.
While the food market has become increasingly crowded, with a number of well-funded competitors in the space, Moosa still saw significant opportunities for Hey You to grow.
“The biggest opportunity is that there is already really good product/market fit. On average, a customer transacts nine times a month, and spends around $50 a month,” he explained.
“However, the business hadn’t scaled much outside Sydney, so I was excited about how to expand across Australia, into every capital city and into smaller cities and towns as well.”
The startup now has merchants listed across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, with further expansion planned for 2019.
Another big opportunity Moosa saw was an expansion beyond coffee into food, which required a rethink of the app.
“When people order a coffee on the app, they’re very specific in terms of what they want, whether it’s an extra shot or the size of the coffee, but lunch is a different ballgame,” Moosa said.
“Lunch is more about discovery, so you need pictures and descriptions. Lunch is also a social thing, so we launched the Party It feature, allowing multiple people consolidate their order to order together, with the app taking care of the payment side.”
Beyond Ubereats and Deliveroo, a handful of players have emerged of late targeting eat-in and takeaway lunch. From Ritual to Liven, Eat Club, Mealpal and more, there is seemingly a service catering to every type of eater.
However, Moosa is excited about the competition and what it means for Hey You and the local startup ecosystem.
“The more competition there is, the better it is for the ecosystem. From our perspective, we believe we have to have our own roadmap and understanding of our position and our offering to customers, but we also can’t ignore the market environment. We have to respond,” he said.
“Competition can give you a reality check and help you move faster.”