Jeremy Van Dille is the APAC General Manager for Deliverect, leading a growing team in simplifying online order management for the hospitality industry across the globe.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
After I graduated from university, I was certain that sales was my true calling, but I wasn’t sure which industry to pursue. So, I took a chance and accepted a business development role at a fast-growing recruitment firm that seemed to have promising growth opportunities. I worked there for two years, but I gradually realised that the recruitment industry wasn’t quite what I had in mind for my career.
One day, a friend who worked at a Belgian VC company told me about a new startup that helped restaurants. With my decade-long experience working in restaurants, bars, and festivals, the hospitality industry has always sparked my interest. I saw this as a chance to combine my sales skills with my passion for hospitality. That’s when I decided to join Deliverect in 2019 as their first salesperson. It was a game-changer for me, and my career took off like a rocketship.
We had developed a product that every restaurant was looking for, and the demand was enormous. This resulted in rapid scaling, and I was thrilled to bring the first opportunities in France to the company since I come from a French-speaking family. I travelled extensively to Paris, London, Madrid, Stockholm, and other European cities during my early days with the company.
Our initial focus was on Europe until we were swamped with requests from the Middle East. After a successful visit to Dubai, it soon became a regular work trip, and I felt like I had a second home there. Fast forward to today, Deliverect is a 200+ startup with significant funding, a strong customer base, and a global presence, including Australia.
When COVID hit, I had to shift my focus to selling to enterprise customers all over Europe, MENA, and surprisingly, even restaurant chains in Australia. Red Rooster, Oporto, Chicken Treat, Fishbowl, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., and many others approached us despite not having a local presence yet. However, timezone constraints soon made it clear that we needed to establish a local presence to provide the best customer experience.
In December 2020, I was offered the role of General Manager for Australia to open a local office and hire the strongest talent in every department. Our initial plans to relocate to Australia in April 2021 were soon dashed when the Australian government blocked new visa entrants. So, I spent nine months in Thailand, working remotely, taking early morning calls with Australia and late night meetings with Europe.
Finally, in February 2022, we received the great news that our visa application had been approved, and we could enter Australia. One year later, we now have a strong team of 30+ FTE in the Sydney office that also looks after South-East Asia. It has been an incredible journey, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have shaped my career.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
After living in Paddington for a year, my girlfriend and I came to the realisation that we spent every weekend at the beach. So, we made the decision to move to Bondi Beach a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t a tough call since we love the ocean and the beach lifestyle. I oversee the APAC region, which requires me to travel extensively around Asia and Australia to meet with customers and partners.
I’m an early bird and night owl, so I wake up around 6am to start my day with a surf or gym session, followed by a morning coffee to fuel me up. I then head to the CBD to go to our office, where my typical workday involves attending internal meetings with my team, conducting sales calls with potential clients, discussing growth opportunities with current clients, and having conversations with delivery and POS partners.
By 6 or 7pm, I make my way back home, and my girlfriend and I usually end up at one of our favourite local restaurants for a quick bite. Once back home, I hop on a few calls with the European team as they have just woken up. Since most of the company’s departments are based in Belgium or London, I work until late in the evening. To unwind, I usually watch an episode of a Netflix or Amazon Prime show. If you’re looking for a recommendation, I highly recommend Gangs of London.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
This is a tough one. Deliverect has become a significant part of my life and who I am. The company gave me the opportunity to grow, trusted me in opening a remote office and relocated me to the country that Australia is. My girlfriend has been an integral part of this journey as she was always supportive in the choices I made, never complained about me being away from home so often or coming home late just to jump back into Zoom calls and travel to the other side of the world with me.
When I go on holidays I start by deleting Slack and Gmail from my iPhone and tell my team to contact me through WhatsApp for any emergencies. (I might download the apps again quickly, but delete them again when I’ve done a quick check. I shouldn’t do this I know, but it’s stronger than myself).
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
Sydney has the tendency to drag you into its lifestyle so surfing and working out has become a daily activity that allows me to empty my head.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
I’ve recently finished The Dumbest Guy at the Table by David Shein about the first Australian unicorn company and to stay in the hospitality business. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain is a classic every foodie should give a read.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
A classic but, find and do something you love and it will never feel like working.
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