Invest in yourself to gain more knowledge
Published on: Monday, February 03, 2020
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The thoughts and views of SmartBite CEO and co-founder Gabriele Fadda (pic).

SMARTBITE is an AI-powered food technology delivery company focused on serving working professionals and corporates with any food related matters within the KL central business district (CBD).

How has your life experience made

you the leader you are today?

Since I was 15, I have always looked for new challenges and experiences that enrich my life. 

This includes living in different countries and constantly exploring new cultures as well as meeting new people. I consider myself a global citizen.

 I was born in Cagliari, Sardinia and I moved to Milan where I lived for about 10 years. As Milan is an international city, I met with so many people from around the world. 

I used to travel to Asia a lot and when I had the opportunity to migrate to Malaysia, I took it up as I was attracted by the international environment and the opportunities here.

What traits do you look for 

in your talent or how do you 

decide who is right for a job?

For me, one’s attitude is really important. I generally look for people who are positive and outspoken. 

Communication is an underrated but crucial skill to have. 

When I look for new talents, I need to be sure that they have a positive attitude towards challenges and are unafraid to speak up, question, and discuss with their colleagues on finding new solutions.

How do you think the industry you 

are in will evolve in the future?

Food is the biggest industry in the world and accordingly, the growth of food delivery is growing massively every year as well. 

If we take a look at Google-Temasek’s e-Conomy report on Southeast Asia, the internet economy in the region has hit an inflexion point and attributes online food delivery as one of the drivers. 

Online food delivery has hit US$2 billion and is expected to quadruple by 2025.

The food delivery industry in Malaysia is also growing at an increasing pace. 

Official data from Statista reported that the online food delivery market in Malaysia amounts to US$100 million with over three million users, whereby 37pc of them are aged between 25 and 34 years old, and this segment is expected to exceed US$200 million by 2020. 

This predicted growth in the industry would be coupled with continuous innovation of business models. 

Existing models of food delivery will be expected to shift with new features and services being available to the market.

I personally believe that the online food delivery industry will evolve alongside technological developments whereby deep and novel usage of technology and data will be used to improve the customer experience and value proposition.

As the Malaysian economy develops, new infrastructures are being built. 

This means that there will be more clusters of office buildings and with that, comes increasing density of working professionals in those areas. 

As such, SmartBite is able to serve this segment accordingly as we are focused on bulk orders and office deliveries. 

From the feedback and data we have gathered, we have identified a gap in the market when it came to corporate solutions for food. 

We are increasing the bulk of our logistics from delivering meals of 20 pax to almost 1,000 pax on a single trip. 

Not only does it provide stable sales for restaurant partners, this expansion of corporate offerings also provide a one-stop solution for companies and their employees to get great food delivered affordably and conveniently right to their office.

What advice can you offer 

those looking to start their 

career/own business?

I would say start working as early as possible even if it is a part-time job. It’s helpful to start meeting a wide network of people and to broaden your experiences as much as possible. 

I would also recommend identifying good mentors and people who can help you reach your personal goals as soon as possible. 

Another piece of advice would be to invest in yourself such as attending trainings where you can gain more knowledge on your favourite subject.

We all know about the industrial 

revolution, are we in for a 

technological revolution? 

Your thoughts.

Yes, we are in the middle of a technological revolution and the speed of innovation is progressing faster than before. 

In fact, McKinsey Global Institute found that artificial intelligence (AI) is contributing to societal transformation “10 times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact” of the Industrial Revolution. 

Technological developments such as machine learning or AI used to be privy to few and far between but now increasingly permeates our lives. 

When technology is used meaningfully, it can help our daily lives so that we have more time to invest in ourselves.

For SmartBite, our mission is to simplify the way people eat. 

We want to simplify the decision process of eating while helping our customers save time and money. 

Our platform is powered by AI and we now leverage on big data to optimise customer experience. 

For instance, we have developed algorithms and data pipelines that helps us select the best restaurants near the offices and create smart suggestions for our daily meals.

Today, we use sophisticated data analytics to identify food preferences for different clusters of customers and we see the path ahead in moving from menus developed based on clusters of customers with similar behaviour to personalised menus for individuals. 

We are also fine tuning our algorithms in areas such as meal selection and driver routing optimisation in order to improve our platform and the value we can deliver. 

With the power of technology, our vision is to be the food delivery platform of choice for working professionals around the world.

How has mentorship made a 

difference in your professional life?

Mentors are important and they have a made a difference in my professional life. 

However, I would like to qualify that it is more important to understand your own goals and where you are going before finding a mentor that can give you the support and knowledge to get there.

What do you want to accomplish 

in the next five years?

We want to be the food platform of choice for not only working professionals but also companies in the CBD across Southeast Asia. 

Since the inception of SmartBite, we grew to understand both the psychology of a corporate employee in the CBD as well as unit economics of food delivery.

These lessons learned have definitely helped us fine tune our business model and we are not achieving a daily average gross profit margin of 15pc to 20pc. 

We are on track to double up the sales of last year and the final sales this year are finally touching the seven-digits total sales.  

With our new funds raised, we will be rolling out new corporate offerings such as catering solutions for companies and employee benefit programmes.

With this positive growth, we want to expand into major cities in Southeast Asia within the next five years starting with Singapore or Manila in mid-2020.

Best piece of advice you ever 

received on your career.

The best piece of advice I have ever received was to grow my EQ and to connect meaningfully to more people. 

By having a high level of warmth and empathy as well as good communication skills, I believe we are able to meet great people to achieve great things.

How do you stay abreast of issues 

affecting your industry?

We always work closely with both our customers and vendors to keep improving our product and service. 

With our orientation towards data and sales and customer service, we are always looking for innovative solutions that improves our service and value-add to customers and restaurant partners.

If you could have an hour with 

any thought leader in the world, 

who would it be and why?

I admire Bill Gates. It would be great to sit with him. 

He is confident, humble and he actively works to improve things by working on new projects. 

I would like to meet him to get a better perspective on the future of the world as well as his point of view.

What has been the biggest challenge

you have faced? And what did 

you learn from it?

Building the team and keeping the motivation high while testing the product and looking for market fit. This has probably been one of the biggest challenges since I started SmartBite. 

I learnt that it’s important to have a clear vision as much as possible to keep the team focused but also flexible enough to adapt to a better strategy.

Malaysia’s greatest brand.

I would say Petronas because it’s the first brand I think of when I think about Malaysian companies.

A must-read for every business 

owner/manager is ...

I really enjoy sales so I would have to recommend the Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy.  It’s an old book but the content is still relevant to modern times and useful to read if you love sales as well. –The Sun

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