Max Avtukhov set up Yango Deli Tech last year with a strong belief that technology is the key to staying ahead of the curve.
The UAE-based tech company supports traditional retailers with expertise and tools to help them transform from brick-and-mortar to online trade, a trend accelerated in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The e-grocery market has seen significant growth in recent years, with more and more consumers turning to online platforms to shop for groceries. We provide proprietary technologies and expertise for retailers and e/q-commerce,” says Mr Avtukhov, the 32-year-old co-founder and chief executive of the company.
“Whether our clients have an existing store, store-in-store (grey store), or a dedicated dark store [a retail distribution centre that caters exclusively to online shopping], Yango Deli Tech has solutions for e-grocery to improve and simplify operational processes.”
The software as a service (SaaS) company has clients in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and is currently focused on capitalising on the e-commerce market in the UAE.
“Although we can serve customers in any location, our primary focus is the Middle East region, particularly the booming market in the UAE,” says Mr Avtukhov.
“We aspire to become the top player in the region by 2030.”
The Middle East and North Africa’s quick-commerce market is expected to reach about $47 billion by 2030, anchored by an acceleration in the grocery and food delivery categories, according to consultancy Redseer.
Q-commerce — also known as on-demand or rapid delivery — is generally defined as the ability to order goods and have them delivered within an hour. It is very much associated and can be interchanged with hyperlocal logistics, which covers a small, specific area where deliveries can take place in as fast as 10 minutes.
The q-commerce market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 17 per cent in the next decade, with groceries and food delivery still the dominating segments with a more than 80 per cent market share, Redseer estimates show.
Yango Deli Tech also provides a tech stack — a set of technologies that are stacked together to build an application — which allows businesses to scale faster, according to Mr Avtukhov.
The tech stack includes a variety of solutions for fulfilment, commerce, delivery, client experience and analytics. Among the proprietary technologies are warehouse management systems and assortment management, stock tracking and product replenishment, technologies for assigning orders to couriers, smart routing solutions, as well as applications for customers, pickers and couriers.
The platform also provides live business intelligence dashboards to pivot and make informed business decisions, says Mr Avtukhov.
Yango Deli Tech estimates that by opting for this solution, companies can reduce error rates by 15 per cent, and their cancellation rates by 35 per cent — translating to revenue growth for the business.
The market is witnessing the launch of more and more specialised e-grocery companies, while large traditional retailers are going online as well.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of speed and precision for their orders, but in order to be able to provide such high-quality service, companies require advanced technological solutions. We believe that with our proprietary tech, we can help local companies that want to capture the significant market share of e-grocery to fuel this exponential growth,” Mr Avtukhov says.
The company is working on more advanced solutions incorporating latest technologies such as artificial intelligence. A “roboticised warehouse solution”, for instance, will be out shortly, says Mr Avtukhov.
He adds that the company will prioritise its investment in areas such as research and development “to ensure that our products remain innovative and up-to-date with the latest industry trends, including AI and robotics”.
The self-funded company, meanwhile, has no plans to raise capital in the short term.
“However, we do keep our options open and are in regular contact with the investment community,” says Mr Avtukhov.
“While we may explore potential funding opportunities in the future, we are committed to building a sustainable business that can grow and thrive without relying on outside investment.”
While actively developing its operations in the Middle East and Turkey, Yango Deli Tech is also looking to expand its presence to other global markets, such as Africa, Latin America and Asia.
“Our expansion plans are driven by our commitment to delivering exceptional technology solutions to our partners,” says Mr Avtukhov, an entrepreneur and an investment banker with more than 10 years of experience in e-grocery and related fields.
Commenting on the company’s profitability, Mr Avtukhov says: “We are at the investment stage with a clear path to profitability. We are confident in our growth trajectory and the potential for significant returns on our investments.”
Q&A with Max Avtukhov, co-founder and chief executive of Yango Deli Tech
Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?
I see our company as a driving force behind the digital transformation of the e-grocery industry globally. In the next 10 years, I envision Yango Deli Tech becoming the go-to solution for e-grocery operators around the world, helping them to streamline their operations and provide the best possible customer experience.
I see us continuing to innovate and develop new technologies that will revolutionise the way e-grocery operates, from predictive analytics to robotic fulfilment and drone delivery. Our focus will always be on solving the pain points of our clients and helping them to grow their businesses.
I also see Yango Deli Tech expanding globally, with a strong presence in key markets across the world. We will continue to work closely with our clients to understand their unique needs and develop customised solutions that meet those needs.
Overall, I am very excited about the future of Yango Deli Tech and the impact we will have on the e-grocery industry in the years to come.
Q: What is your vision for the company?
Our vision is to transform the e-grocery industry by providing innovative, reliable and efficient technology solutions to our clients. We want to become a global industry standard for e-grocery technology solutions, setting the highest bar for efficiency, speed and innovation.
Q: What new skills have you learnt in the process of launching your start-up?
Switching from B2C to B2B is the most challenging part. And I think we are succeeding in mixing the best of two worlds: passion for end-user happiness from B2C and thorough and rigorous planning from B2B.
Q: Who is your role model in entrepreneurship?
I am not sure I have one. But I surely admire a couple of distinctive entrepreneurs: Elon Musk, for instance. An absolutely outstanding individual who solved not small problems, but created whole new industries that changed how humanity evolves.
Q: If you could change one thing in your entrepreneurial journey, what would it be?
I have learnt that timing is a critical factor when it comes to success. Looking back, I believe that I could have started my entrepreneurial journey earlier, which would have given me more time to learn, grow and achieve my goals. However, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and the progress I have made so far.
Q: Are you a risk-taker or a cautious entrepreneur?
I started my entrepreneurial journey as a quiet risk-taking person, but with experience I am tending to drive somewhere in between risk-taking and cautiousness. I believe in thoroughly analysing the risks and rewards of a potential venture before making a decision.
Also my previous experience in investment banking gave me some good schooling in terms of what is a good investment choice and what is not, what risks are worth taking and which are playing silly. I believe that this approach has helped me navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship while also maximising the potential for success.
Q: Do you have any plans of an IPO?
No, we do not have plans to raise money in the short term. However, we do keep our options open and are in regular contact with the investment community.
Q: What is your mantra for success?
You need fire in your eyes if you want to change the world.