Wolt has grown in a short span of time from being a local restaurant food ordering and delivery service into an international technology company and one of the flagships of the Finnish platform economy. The Wolt service currently covers over 2,000 restaurants. Inventure has contributed to Wolt’s growth as a significant supplier of venture capital.
So far in its growth spurt, Wolt has been launched in six countries this year
Wolt’s business model promotes growth towards ever greater volumes; namely, the more orders there are, the more efficient will its delivery operations become. Wolt has been rapidly expanding its operations abroad, mainly in Europe. In 2018, six new countries joined those six countries from earlier years, and growth will continue beyond the year-end.
Wolt CFO, Henna Mäkinen, explains, “Growth has been tremendous throughout Wolt’s operating history – its revenue has been tripling from one financial year to the next. We will continue to expand into new cities and countries in the coming year. With this kind of growth, financial and business management need an agile ERP system. All our new in-country companies, in line with the existing ones, will therefore be moving to NetSuite with Staria as our localisation partner.”
We are not interested in the past – our focus is on future decisions
Mäkinen speaks positively about Wolt’s working culture. “The working environment is in many ways unique – there is plenty of energy and momentum, the hierarchy is low, and there is always the sense of getting things done. If needed, we have the ability to change direction quickly.”
The CEO of Staria, Juha Tommila, agrees. “Wolt is an exceptionally dynamic and open-minded company with an ability to move very quickly. The company has a number of its own programmes and systems in place, which will need to be connected to NetSuite. Moving into new countries will, of course, also pose challenges of its own.”
According to Staria’s reports, financial management spends up to 60-70% of its time checking the accuracy of data. Henna Mäkinen shares this view and stresses that it is of the utmost importance that financial management steer the business on the basis of figures. Time would be much better spent on planning the next moves.
“We are not all that interested in the past, because our focus is on the future and on supporting the decision-making process. As the company grows, it is very important that we not waste time on tracking down historical data, but that we always know where we stand at the moment, and that we be able to back decisions made on the go. In the past, we had different countries using different systems, so getting real-time information on financial performance was tricky and it involved lots of manual work”, explains Mäkinen.
Fast pace requires a reliable ERP system and a competent partner
Wolt was keen to find the best possible ERP system to solve these challenges for its financial management. “We compared three different systems with the main criterion being usability. Furthermore, as a cutting-edge technology company, we naturally wanted to be using a modern cloud computing service. Next to NetSuite, the other systems seemed, frankly, rather medieval,” Mäkinen explains.
It also worked in NetSuite and Staria’s favour that all countries can be brought under the same system quickly. Their impressive references for several internationally growing companies also supported the decision to choose NetSuite and Staria’s international accounting services. Staria’s customers include several internationally growing companies that have chosen NetSuite; moreover, NetSuite has already been localised in over 100 countries.
Mäkinen welcomes the improvements achieved with NetSuite: “Through a link built into our analytics tool, we get real-time data, including on costs, thus saving us time. The main advantages of NetSuite are, in fact, in the management of internal accountancy. In external accountancy, NetSuite will assist us in the consolidation of accounts as we draw up consolidated financial statements from this year onwards.”
As Wolt is expanding internationally, it wanted a partner who understands the requirements of the Finnish customer and who, on the other hand, is also able to provide local assistance in the new countries in matters such as annual accounts, payroll and taxation. “We should give Staria credit for being quick in acquiring local partners,” compliments Mäkinen.
Supplier of venture capital values financial data supporting fast growth
Inventure has contributed to Wolt’s growth record as a significant supplier of venture capital and their representative in the Wolt Board of Directors is Linus Dahg.
“Venture capitalists are, of course, interested in growth, but also in ensuring that business management can keep up with that growth – or even better, stay ahead of it. The Board of Directors supports the management team and peps it up in its decision making, so the accuracy of data plays a vital role,” Dahg underlines.
Are the information systems used in financial management something in which the Board of Directors takes an interest? “Acquiring and using an ERP system is the management team’s territory”, states Dahg. “In my opinion, however, in an internationally expanding growth company the system needs to be extraordinarily agile and quick to set up in a new country. When growth is as fast as it is at Wolt, I would be talking about weeks rather than months. In this respect NetSuite seems like a successful choice.”
2019 brings yet another year of international growth for Wolt, and so too for Staria.
“We are not all that interested in the past, because our focus is on the future and on supporting the decision-making process.”
– Henna Mäkinen, CFO, Wolt
”Venture capitalists are, of course, interested in growth, but also in ensuring that business management can keep up with that growth – or even better, stay ahead of it.”
– Linus Dahg, Investment Director, Inventure