20VC: Wolt CEO, Miki Kuusi on Leadership Lessons Scaling to a Reported $8.1BN Exit to Doordash, Building Teams not Families, The Difference Between Trust and Safety Within Companies, How To Use Compensation to Create Culture & Why You Should Not Be Looking For People Who “Have Done It Before”

Posted on 28th November 2022 by Harry

Miki Kuusi is the CEO of Wolt and Head of DoorDash International. In 2014 Miki founded Wolt with a mission to turn the smartphone into a remote controller for life, starting with delivering your favorite restaurant food, to you at home. Today Wolt operates in 23 countries, across several different categories, has over 4,000 employees, and last year, Doordash made the move to join forces with Wolt in a deal worth a reported $8.1BN. Previously, Miki was the CEO of Slush, one of the leading tech and investor events in the world attended by more than 25,000 people annually.

In Today’s Discussion with Miki Kuusi:

1.) Founding Slush and Wolt: An Entry into Startups:

  • How did Miki come to found Wolt? What was that a-ha moment?
  • Did Wolt have product-market-fit from Day 1? What was the turning point when they did?
  • What does Miki know now that he wishes he had known when he started Wolt on Day 1?

2.) The Makings of a Truly Great Leader:

  • How does Miki define “high performance” today in leadership?
  • How does Miki think about what focus means in leadership? What is the hardest decision Miki has had to make when it comes to focusing the company? What did he learn from Ilkka @ Supercell?
  • What does Miki believe is the KPI of success as the CEO? How does it change?
  • What does Miki believe is the difference between good vs great leadership?
  • What does Miki believe is the biggest sacrifice he has made as the CEO?

3.) Hiring a Team to Compete on a Global Stage:

  • How does Miki use compensation to create a culture of ownership and accountability?
  • Does Miki start from a position of trust and it is there to be lost or no trust and it is there to be gained?
  • What is the difference between a team and a family in company building?
  • What is the core difference between trust and safety in company building? Why does Miki always want to have trust but not want to have safety?
  • What are the single biggest hiring mistakes that Miki has made? How has he learned from them?
  • Why does Miki believe you do not want to hire people that have done it before but hire the people who have seen those people do it before?
  • Why does Miki believe most companies are merely glorified recruiting operations?
  • Does Miki believe that companies need to be as big as they have grown into, headcount-wise?

4.) Miki Kuusi: The Personal Journey

  • What single day was the hardest day of the Wolt journey for Miki? How did it change him?
  • Why does Miki believe that for their Series B, all-bar one VC turned them down?
  • How does Miki assess his own relationship to risk and money today?
  • Why is Miki an advocate for founders taking secondaries along the journey?
  • What can Europe do to become a powerhouse in tech moving forward?
  • Why did Miki decide to sell the company to Doordash? What is he most excited to learn from Tony Xu, Doordash Founder and CEO?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Miki’s Favourite Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Miki Kuusi Transcript:

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