James Galvin is the former Managing Director of JUST-EAT.ie, he was integral in JUST EAT’s growth in Ireland, taking them from early startup, to major success. James is now Managing Director of Marvin.ie, the Irish startup, with big ambitions to be a symbiotic partner for the takeaway industry and interestingly also the consumer.
An early internet entrepreneur, James worked directly with Theo Paphitis (BBC Dragons Den in the UK) he built the first ever websites for Millwall FC, Ryman, La Senza and Contessa. In 2000 he joined Kitbag.com as a designer. In 2001 he co-founded one of the UKs first ever digital agencies focused on RoI.
Over the next 7 years (with a return to kitbag.com and back), he developed his all round online marketing skills in the digital agency world.
In 2008, he left London and headed back to his native Ireland where JUST EAT eventually found him and gave him a new home. JUST-EAT.ie was nominated as ‘Best eBusiness’ for 2 years running at the eircom spiders in 2009 & 2010. James left Just-Eat in September 2011.
James linked up with Just-Eat founder Jesper Buch to launch the Irish version of Miinto in November 2011. Miinto.ie won the eircom Spider Award for ‘Retail Excellence’ in 2012. Due to tough economic trading conditions, Miinto.ie closed in April 2013.
In 2013 James joined Versari Partners, an EdtEch investment and support hub based in Dublin,
In February 2015, James teamed up again with ex JUST EAT’ers Morten Larsen (formerly JUST-EAT.dk MD and now founder of the Hungry Group) and Rune Risom (who like Morten was integral in building JUST EAT and now is MD of Hungry.dk) together they started work on launching Marvin.ie.
— Henry Joseph-Grant (@speirin) February 16, 2017
Hey James, Thank you for taking time for the interview. How’s things?
It’s a pleasure and life is good but very busy.
For the benefit of our readers can you give us some background to Marvin.ie
Marvin was launched 18 months ago with the intention of giving consumers and takeaways a fairer deal.
So, as you formerly led JUST EAT’s Irish business, isn’t now leading a competitor somewhat close to home?
I take a lot of pride in my contribution to helping build JUST EAT in Ireland, but it was a real team success. Since leaving the business and becoming an outsider looking in, I realised that only one dominant player in the market is not good for customers or restaurants. It’s why I felt launching Marvin.ie was the right time to do so.
How do you differ to your competitors?
For the takeaways our commission is almost half price versus the market leader, and for the consumer we offer a loyalty stamp card system to earn free meals. Also, we know the most popular Irish takeaway segments are not necessarily the most sexiest but are the most important. We have spent a lot of focus on working with disengaged independents who are feeling very squeezed.
JUST EAT are clearly number one and very dominant in Ireland, do you think that you Marvin.ie can compete?
Absolutely! Clearly JUST EAT have done phenomenally well, however when a dominant player has a majority position it becomes imbalanced in favour of them, and ultimately that is not good in the long term for anybody. Competition is always healthy. We have designed Marvin.ie to solve major pain points for both the restaurant and the consumer.
For a marketplace such as yourselves, there is a common belief that being the number two biggest player in a market, is not a profitable place to be, as it is expensive to achieve liquidity, what are your thoughts on that?
That belief is based on wisdom which is outdated. Most marketplaces have disrupted their various sectors and in turn created higher demand. Through that activity and greater demand, more opportunity emerges. The concept of online takeaway is not new, what changed the game is creating the demand.
Marvin.ie is now the second largest aggregator in Ireland and very close to being profitable, not bad for a startup not even in it’s second year. That has been achieved with sound business principles based on a proven approach. With increased demand comes more competition, but I predict the market will even itself out and the strongest players remaining will benefit long-term from the continuing growth in demand.
Are you guys planning to expand to new countries?
Actually we are part of the Hungry Group, which was founded in 2013 by Morten Larsen in Denmark and they also operate in Holland, it may well be the case that as a group we expand, because the growth in our current markets has been amazing.
James, Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best with Marvin.ie
If you live in Ireland check out www.marvin.ie and if you are in Holland, www.hungry.nl or Denmark www.hungry.dk
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