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Business In:Brief with Adam Theobald (Hey You/Ordermentum)


Adam Theobald

CEO and co-founder of Hey You and founder and executive director of Ordermentum, 2014-2016 and 2014-Present

Adam Theobald is the founder and executive director of Ordermentum, a food service platform that helps suppliers and retailers manage their orders and payments. He was also the co-founder and co-CEO of Hey You, the food ordering app thats lets you order ahead.

He has previously worked in investment banking, specialising in emerging technologies, as well as the ASX-listed tech startup Freshtel. He has successfully raised over $30 million in venture capital and his products have processed over 30 million transactions.

What was your first job?

My first part time job was installing computer software at a computer training company. This was very manual work (feeding floppy disks into 50 computers at a time). They were networked, but it was before deploying software was as easy as it is today.

My first full-time job was as a stockbroker. It was an induction of fire! Learning the market, learning about how people make investment decisions. It was super valuable for me, and I loved the ups and downs of it all.

What's your proudest achievement?

Naturally my kids make me super proud. They are so cute.

But in terms of work, it would have to be the moment when it really felt like Beat the Q (now Hey You) had carved out an important and meaningful part in the landscape. I remember being in a Westpac meeting before they invested in us, and hearing some of the most senior execs in the bank jump up and down about how Beat the Q was their favourite app. As an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time selling to people and getting knocked back. That meeting was a great moment of the hard slog coming back to me in a very positive way.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned?

We are in the attention economy. The technology doesn't matter as much as it used to. Yes, you need great solutions that people love, but nothing matters if you can't get people's attention. The best product in the world is useless if no one uses it. And with so much noise out there, it's getting harder to attract people's attention.

What other business leader do you most admire and why?

There are two people that I follow and love content from:

  • Reid Hoffman and his Masters of Scale podcast. I love his perspective not only as an executive (founder of LinkedIn), but as one of the industry's best known VC investors Greylock. Scale is so important to me right now at Ordermentum and for Hey You.
  • Ben Horowitz. His book The Hard Thing About Hard Things was a great example of the challenges we face when trying to change an industry.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

"Be tenacious". A good friend of mine, Brad Ross-Sampson, said that the step into my first startup was an exciting one, but that I had to prepare myself for day by day "kicks to the stomach". My success would be determined by my ability to get up, brush myself off and to never be perturbed by the setbacks. His advice was spot on; we see research time and time again about how important tenacity is for entrepreneurship.

Business In:Brief is a regular interview feature that profiles a notable business leader each month. It is also included as part of our business newsletter, which you can sign up for below.

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