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Delivering Australia an alternative to the supermarket: Marley Spoon’s unique approach to international expansion

Launching your brand internationally is a growth strategy that follows from success. But success in one market shouldn’t be construed as a right of passage to success in another. The failure of Starbucks in their attempt to import an Americanised version of ‘coffee culture’ into Australia, a country already au fait with it’s coffee habits, couldn’t make this clearer. Dave Malcolm, CEO of recipe-kit service, Marley Spoon Australia, speaks to Dynamic Business about the importance of seeking the right market, talent and attitudes following its recent launch in Australia.

Dave Malcolm, CEO, Marley Spoon
Dave Malcolm, CEO, Marley Spoon

Co-founded by Fabian Siegel, co-CEO of online take-out ordering service, Delivery Hero, Marley Spoon was launched to increase the level of quality and service in the cook-at-home food delivery space. After launching successfully in the USA, UK, Germany and the Netherlands, Marley Spoon sought to expand its offering into the Australian market with the help of Dave Malcolm, former head of marketing at Rockstar Games AU.

Commenting on the decision to launch in Australia, Dave said “Australia makes sense as a market for this business – consumers are concerned about freshness and healthy eating, and many want to cook at home, but don’t have time to shop and cook the traditional way. Geographically there is also so much opportunity to service markets that don’t have the access to fresh food that other centres do – and Marley Spoon is a perfect solution.”

Identifying a market receptive to an idea is the foundation for any successful business, but it is equally important to seek the right skillsets and personality traits who can build on that foundation.

According to Dave the “key attributes for Marley Spoon employees were tenacity, braveness, people who are data driven, and of course who have a love of food and cooking.

“We are confident in our product and the fact that it’s a better offering and we needed people with an absolute belief in that to ensure it’s going to work.”

Flying in the face of the Starbucks example: lifting a ready made concept from one culture and implanting in another – Marley Spoon set about handpicking a team that could bring their own entrepreneurial style to the business in Australia.

Dave said “they wanted a team that would take the concept and run it as a start-up, which we have.”

Despite partial funds being allocated to the Australian start up from Series A funding secured by the international business late last year, Dave said “we really are operating as a bootstrapped start up with limited resources.”

“That method has allowed absolute ownership and engagement on the ground and I think that’s vital in a start-up environment to ensure that everyone is invested and driven to succeed.”

Led by CEO, Dave, and backed by Delivery Hero founder, Fabian Siegel, the Marley Spoon Australia team consists of some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs including Dan Jarosch and Rolf Webber of Brands Exclusive. Each bringing their different yet complimentary experiences to the Marley Spoon table.

Now composed, confident and aligned the team are ready to achieve their long term objective: to roll the service out nationally and become a real national alternative to supermarkets for people.

“We are disrupting the supply chain to provide a better customer experience,” said Dave.

“With comparative New York based company Blue Apron selling 3 million meals per month, and closing their last round of funding at a $2 billion valuation, it’s easy to see that the scope for Marley Spoon’s growth and impact is huge.”

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Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs was editor of Dynamic Business.

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