On-demand delivery startup Postmates is growing fast, expanding from serving five markets around the beginning of the year to being in 16 by next week. To help out with a rapidly expanding operations team, the company has hired former Yodlee and Google exec Peter Hazlehurst as its new COO.
Hazlehurst touts two decades of experience leading tech companies large and small, from startups that eventually ended up going public to individual product teams in much larger organizations.
Most recently he led development of Google Wallet and products related to the search giant’s payments system. Prior to Google, Hazlehurst served as chief product officer of Yodlee, a company that helps provide online banking tools to major financial organizations, as well as APIs to help them hook into third-party services like Mint.com. Before that, he served as director of mobile email product development at Nokia after it acquired Eizel, where he was VP of engineering.
In a phone interview, Hazlehurst said he wanted to join Postmates because he finds the on-demand economy fascinating and he thinks the company has built a fantastic platform from a product point of view. He also said that Postmates has reached a phase where he believes he can most help. After a couple of founding runs and also working on smaller teams in larger organizations, he’s ready to go back into the startup world.
“This is my sweet spot,” Hazlehurst said. “I love this phase of a company where the idea is proven and it’s just time to grow the business.”
For Postmates, he’ll be running an operations organization that is fast becoming the largest part of the business. The company, which first launched two and a half years ago as part of the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield, has been ramping up expansion over recent months. To support that expansion, Hazlehurst is introducing some new ideas into the company’s launch playbook and looking to automate some of the processes related to launching in each new city.
That should help streamline things as Postmates plans to aggressively expand over the coming months. Next week Postmates launches in Las Vegas and Denver, its 15th and 16th markets respectively, and has plans to reach 26 cities by the end of the year. According to co-founder and CEO Bastian Lehmann, the company hopes to be in a total of 100 cities by the end of 2015.
But there are operational challenges to entering any new market and turning up supply before launching delivery services. As Lehmann says, “People are not like servers that you can turn on and off.”
As Postmates has grown from 35 employees at the beginning of the year to nearly 100 today, the company has been gradually hiring seasoned executive talent to take over some of the founders’ responsibilities. That includes hiring SVP of Business Development Holger Luedorf, who previously worked at Foursquare, as well as bringing on former Twitter group product manager Sara Mauskopf to help with the product team.
Postmates raised $16 million in funding from Spark Capital earlier this year, bringing total funding to $22 million. Other investors include SoftTechVC, Matrix Partners, Crosslink Capital, Scott Banister, Naval Ravikant, Russel Simmons, Thomas Korte, Shervin Pishevar, Dave Morin, and David Sacks.