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Alumni Success Story: Justin Adam, Co-Founder & CEO at Grovy

25 January 2022 | By: Pressestelle EBS Universität
Alumni Erfolgsgeschichte: Justin Adam, Co-Founder & CEO bei Grovy

Justin Adam, Co-Founder & CEO at Grovy

Ordering products online and getting them in less than 10 minutes where you want them - that is the promise of the online delivery service Grovy. Sustainability and environmental awareness are top priorities for the self-proclaimed supermarket of the future; great value is placed on regionality and organic products, and deliveries are made exclusively by e-bikes. CEO and co-founder of Grovy is EBS alumnus Justin Adam. Justin graduated from EBS Universität in 2018; we talked to him about his start-up and career path.

Please tell us briefly about Grovy and what makes you unique.

I’m always happy to answer this question :-) I see Grovy and all other players in Quick Commerce not only as online grocery delivery services but much more as pioneers of modern retail! The unique thing about our business model is that we operate a network of very centrally located warehouses (dark stores) in every city. From these so-called “Dark Stores” we deliver over 2000 products to customers within a radius of 3 km in just 10 minutes. With our delivery promise of only 10 minutes, we not only want to make it easier and faster for customers to order and receive their desired products - much more exciting is that we will change the shopping behavior of customers in the long term with our offer. Customers should get their groceries delivered on-demand instead of making a big weekly shopping trip. This will result in less food spoiling in the fridge and we can thus counteract the massive food waste in households.

You founded Grovy together with your brother. How did you come up with the idea for Grovy?

A little over two years ago, my brother and I went to a supermarket in downtown Frankfurt together after a long day at work to do some minor shopping. As we waited in line for over 10 minutes, we asked ourselves why the grocery shopping experience has not changed in the era of digitalization, even though today’s technological advances make autonomous driving and even flights into space possible. After brief market research, the idea of an online supermarket with instant delivery emerged.

What are your plans for Grovy?

We aim for market leadership in the quick commerce sector in Central and Eastern Europe! For this, we will first expand into the major Central and Eastern European capitals, such as Bucharest, Warsaw or Prague. In these markets, the retail prices and gross margins are comparable to Germany’s. However, it will be exciting to see the cost structure, which is more advantageous in these cities than in the Western European markets, where most of our competitors are active.

You have two strong competitors in Gorillas and Flink. What sets you apart?

Overall, we differ from our competitors in our corporate strategy - but above all in the way we structure and build our company. We strongly believe that our business model needs to focus on the unit economics and the associated profitability from the very beginning, rather than simply producing an insanely high burn rate, as many others currently do in the industry. In addition, at Grovy, we pay special attention to our people. We are a people-oriented business. Of course, we want to grow, but we want to grow together as a team!

Shortly after graduating, you founded CityMove24, a moving company, and are now the CEO of two companies. How do you manage all that?

It has to be said that since the start of Grovy, I’ve been out of CityMove24 operationally and only support it in an advisory capacity. In general, however, it is essential to create clear structures and workflows when setting up and managing a company. For this, you should build a super team of co-founders and employees from the beginning who specialize in different areas and departments and help establish a goal-oriented company culture within the company.

What are the biggest challenges for you in your career and/or everyday life and how do you tackle them?

In the beginning, my biggest challenge was to understand that mistakes and failure are part of career and everyday life. In my opinion, it is essential to realize this early on and not let it get you down and unsettle you! My motto is always: “Make mistakes, but only make them once!”

What is your vision? What drives you?

My vision at Grovy is to create lasting change in people’s shopping behavior and experience through cutting-edge technology. The idea that you can make a significant contribution to creating an entirely new user experience in retail motivates me extremely. If you can already deliver groceries on-demand and instantly - why not use our infrastructure and technology to deliver other product categories very quickly within a very short time? I hypothesize that retail will change dramatically in the next 3-5 years and 3-hour delivery or even same-hour delivery will be offered for almost all products in online retail. Physical retail spaces and possibly shopping malls will increasingly be transformed into downtown fulfillment centers in the future to guarantee these fast delivery times.

What tips can you give to new, young founders?

I can only advise young founders to dare to test and implement new ideas. In my opinion, in our society, the idea is too much instilled that one should rather choose the safe path into working life instead of daring to do something and pursue one’s dreams.

How did EBS prepare you for your career path?

I still remember the Introduction Week very clearly, where we were advised in a speech to network as much as possible. At that time, I was not aware of how important networking is, but I can confirm in my career path so far that many opportunities can be opened up through good contacts. Furthermore, studying at EBS (and the associated “all-nighters” during exam periods) taught me that discipline, focus and team spirit are crucial to success. Consistency is key!

What is your best memory of EBS Universität?

Definitely the cool events with the legendary parties and all the great people I had the chance to meet!

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