Glovo is a case of success. As an “on-demand courier service” app created in 2015, it is now a big player in the delivery space, around the world. It started as a startup in Barcelona and it is now in more than 20 countries. With the COVID-19 pandemic, where people had to stay confined in their homes, the urgency for this kind of service became more relevant than ever. Larissa de Araujo, legal counsel & compliance of Glovo and responsible for, amongst others, the Portuguese market, told Iberian Lawyer how the company adapted and thrived under unique circumstances and how a multinational enterprise can operate with the same goal: provide a better service.
The pandemic of COVID-19 happened and the market changed in months. What were your first measures?
Agree. As Global Team action, the first impression is that the pandemic highlights our feelings and work on crisis management, ethical environment, responsibility from, and to the other. Our first action was internally to organize ourselves in record time to protect the Glovo ecosystem. One of the first measures was to organize all internal stakeholders of each department and understand how it could affect their areas and Glovo, after, there was a designated manager focused on being the point of contact internally and lead the project, by implementing deadlines and actions to all markets. Our main priority was to care about people, internally and externally, and with that to implement health and safety measures. The biggest difference here, we can highlight, is that Glovo was not only concerned about its employees across different markets, but also with the entire business scheme that the pandemic affects: partners, customers and couriers.
Did you see it as an opportunity, as people needed you more than ever?
For us at Glovo, it was an opportunity to reinforce our main core values as the Glovo Team: Gas, Good Vibes, Stay Humble, Care and Glownership. The people and synergy of the team built in Glovo is the most powerful resource.
How did you adapt? How is the legal system prepared for this kind of service?
As I’m part of the Global Legal team, from a legal and compliance perspective, to adapt Glovo services into local markets, we always do an in-depth research for all our expansion plans for Glovo, we study with local lawyers, from a regulatory and business perspective. We always promote deep research across the local laws and it’s always helpful to have the perspective of the regulators and to understand what they are trying to accomplish. Glovo acts in a very collaborative way. Portugal’s tech sector is booming. Glovo believes in the market, and we have plans to grow. We strongly believe that the Portuguese are prepared to receive Glovo services and promote more and more technological environment.
As the head of legal in charge of Portugal, what were the biggest challenges during this time?
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing changes in the way the world works to such a degree that the effects are sure to extend far beyond the current situation. We are all learning under high pressure and by practice, about soft skills: time management, positive attitude, emotional intelligence, teamwork, creative thinking, and other actions which school does not teach us. In Glovo, we have a double challenge, live with this new world as everyone, and work with the existing legal framework, and then think very creatively and innovatively about ways in which you can address the basic ethical values that its framework is trying to protect by regulator perspective and do it in a way that fits the reality of the society and how people live and work.
How do you see the restaurant food market recovering from this crisis?
The future is very uncertain, especially since this crisis is a situation unknown to all; however, one of the predictions is that maybe the world will be more online after this pandemic. As we have seen, many restaurants have adapted to the situation by enabling the option of ordering from home; the only current way by which they can continue offering their services and generating income. In fact, in Portugal, in just 60 days we have added more than 700 new restaurants, and more than 85% of them are small and medium businesses. I think this is leading us to see that the digitization of businesses is necessary to adapt to the conditions that may happen in the future, and I believe that this will force many restaurants and other businesses, such as supermarkets or electronic stores, to adapt themselves. Even so, the future is uncertain and we can only work to make the day-to-day life of the present better for everyone, and in case any adversity comes, adapt ourselves in the best possible way.
Work as a global team
How is the structure of your team?
Under the global management of Marita Rancé Giménez-Salinas, we have a multitask Global Legal Team that is focused on legal business orientation. Nowadays, our Team is composed of 18 members with different expertise across EMEA, LATAM, and CEAM. Specifically, in Portugal, we use the legal structure of HQ and combine internal expertise with local advice.
How is it to work for a Spanish company? Very different from Portugal, for example?
Spain and Portugal have different laws, but it is just a matter of adaptation of the Glovo business model to them; as it happens with the other 20 countries we are operating in. Also, both countries are next to each other, so there are lots of other issues in common that make it adaptable; in fact, we share lots of traditions. Glovo is an international company and although it is based in Spain, there are people all around the world working in the same office so it is common that we share different cultures, ideas, markets learnings in our daily life, and it makes it easier for all of us to work.
How do you approach each country?
I’m not in charge of all markets. However, as part of the Global Team and as I have an understanding of our internal process, I can confirm that we have different approaches for each country. In all countries in which Glovo operates, Legal promotes deep research regarding the existing legal framework in the market, the local regulators’ understanding of the business model, and how we will develop our services in a compliant manner. We always look for the best local expertise to support us in this expansion period, jointly with our internal experience we draft and develop the best Glovo business model to conduct our business in a long term perspective.
Do you outsource often?
We work in collaboration with local law firms with the purpose to understand deeply the local markets and approach different perspectives and business orientation. From a compliance perspective, we always outsource matters which we are not able to reply internally or which could have a regulatory impact.
Is Glovo planning to expand soon?
Nowadays, we can say that at Glovo we are working hard to reduce the impact of the crisis and to become more than ever the best ally for all citizens in the 22 countries we are present in. In Portugal, for example, we have closed deals with more than 700 new restaurants in the last 60 days, we have also closed other deals in the parapharmacy and groceries category, intending to increase our offer to users so that they can avoid leaving their home. In this sense, we are also focused on helping small businesses to continue with their activity, as well as trying to increase our contribution to the Portuguese economy.
Before the crisis, we did have ambitious expansion plans, but as commented above, nowadays what we can make sure is that we are working hard to overcome this situation with the minimum impact possible.
You have crossed the Atlantic to join Glovo. Can you tell me a bit about your career until you made it here?
I spent part of my legal career in the public sector, in the Public Ministry in São Paulo, which was incredible, because you get to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the regulatory authorities. After some time, I started in the private sector, specifically in the traditional automotive industries (Arteb and Scania Group in Brazil). Afterwards, I finally found my true passion for Tech companies. So I worked in digital & fintech markets (PayU). Nowadays I am Legal Counsel & Compliance at Glovo, inwhich one of my responsibilities is to be in charge of the Portuguese market, I have been working at Glovo for the last two and a half years which has been an incredible experience.
What is it about this sector? Can you explain it?
In Glovo – all of us – are completely in love with technology and innovation. Because it doesn’t matter which area you are in, we are always focused on making the previously impossible possible. The main interest in this sector, personally, is the possibility of creativity and making new ideas into something useful for the community. Our main interest is to identify new possibilities and opportunities.
Glovo in numbers
Founded in 2015
Headquarters in Barcelona, Spain
Glovo is present in 22 markets in Europe, Asia, Central America and Africa
5.5 million unique users