Can you tell us a little bit about background and how you ended up in your current job?
I studied mechanical engineering and then spent some time working in consulting. After a while, I felt like I had learned enough, so I went to do an MBA at INSEAD. While I was doing that, I was trying to figure out how to get into early-stage businesses. The way I did it, and how I’d advise anyone else to do it is to speak to your friends in venture capital, check out all the websites of the reputable venture capital firms, and then check which portfolio businesses they've invested in. That's what I did. I spoke to a lot of friends that I had working in venture capital and through my network, I was introduced to cargo.one.
Could you walk me through what your role is and what a typical day looks like?
My official title is Senior Business Development Manager. Effectively, that’s working with all the partners on the supply side of the marketplace. We're a digital marketplace facilitating airfreight bookings, so on the supply side, airlines, and on the demand side, freight forwarders. We work with most airlines and do everything from getting them excited about digitizing the industry to finalising the contracts and making sure that they're well taken care of. We have to make sure that the integrations and the partnerships grow together with us.
What's the most fascinating thing about your job?
Having had a few jobs before this, from consulting to investment banking, it doesn't feel like a job, it feels like a project. I think that's a huge thing. I’ll hopefully never leave early-stage startups, or if I do, only in the context of growing out of it together with cargo.one. But I hope to stay in this kind of role for a long time because it doesn't feel like you're getting up for a job in the morning. It feels more like you’re building something together and make it grow.
What are the challenges you face in your position?
I think the challenges you face when you're in an early-stage business is that there are many things you might not have done before. We all set ourselves high standards for the quality of work we want to deliver, but at the same time, there are a lot of things that you’re doing for the first time.
What is the one misconception people have about the industry?
There is a common perception that logistics is not particularly “sexy”, and I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is “sexy”, but what’s nice about airfreight, in particular, is that it’s a complex industry which is not digitized. That means there’s a lot of work to be done and the potential benefit from digitizing the space is huge.
What are the qualities that you need to succeed in your position? What advice would you give someone who wants to break into this industry?
In the enterprise sales part of the role, you need a lot of endurance, especially when you're early-stage and you want to make things happen. Pushing harder doesn't always drive the best outcomes, sometimes you need to let the relationships sit. You need to know where and how to work on enterprise relationships. That's something where having experience or calling people that have experience in this space will really help you if you've never done it before.