Sebastian Mejia - Mastering On-Demand Convenience - [Founder’s Field Guide, EP. 44]


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My guest today is Sebastian Mejia, co-founder and president of Rappi. Founded in Bogota, Colombia in 2015, Rappi set out to create an on-demand convenience store and has expanded into nine countries and over 200 cities. In our conversation, Sebastian and I discuss what differentiates Rappi from US-based delivery apps, how the company evolved early by understanding their customers’ behavior, and how the business balances growth vs. unit economics. I loved hearing Sebastian’s views of the value of brands in an increasingly app-based world, the importance of being hyper-local for any delivery-based business, and how fungibility is a key characteristic of any rewards program. I hope you enjoy this great conversation with Sebastian Mejia.

Before we transition to the episode, I also wanted to highlight our newest series, Business Breakdowns. Each week, we do a deep dive into an individual business to understand what makes it tick. Find more information on or search for and sign up to the Business Breakdowns feed on your preferred podcast player.

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.


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Show Notes

[00:02:54] - [First question] - What the Rappi is their current scale and user base

[00:05:30] - The early-stage problems they encountered when building their platform

[00:08:43] - Building the initial network dynamics and unit economics of couriers

[00:12:35] - Solving the data collection and integration needed to power Rappi

[00:15:22] - Defining what local means and the difference between units and zones

[00:17:33] - Other active companies that offer a similar service

[00:18:27] - Thoughts on making money in such a diversified supply chain

[00:22:57] - The moment they realized they were starting to feel scale effects for the first time

[00:25:11] - Questions they’re asking themselves as they continue to grow

[00:28:20] - Streaming consumer goods and how they’ll change consumer behavior

[00:31:45] - Impacts on brands Rappi might have with larger user adoption

[00:34:34] - Unique attributes and opportunities in Latin American markets today

[00:38:45] - Observations of early investors and questions investors as him often

[00:40:17] - The value unlock of having a subscription model akin to Amazon prime

[00:44:47] - How crypto and blockchain technology might benefit Rappi users

[00:47:16] - His perspective on crypto in Latin America today compared to the US

[00:48:09] - Their work in financial services

[00:47:30] - Possible reasons why Rappi might not succeed in the future

[00:50:30] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him

312 episodes