Jonathan Weins is the co-founder of Pop Meals, a Malaysia-based food delivery service that uses tech to sell quick and affordable meals. Their meals start at RM9.99 and are ranked daily using customer feedback data.
They use AI and data to power their logistics operations, and they’re currently building automated kitchens using tech. So far, they’ve grown from 1 to over 40 smart outlets in just 24 months!
👋🏼 How would you explain your job to someone outside tech?
The co-founder & CEO role at a food startup is a very diverse job: Typically I divide my time across people (our team, potential partners, and investors), product (excitingly that is most technology and food), growth, and expansion.
🧐 What's something about you or your job that would surprise us?
People who know the Pop Meals brand and have tried our local menu with Ayam Kicap, Gepuk, etc are always super surprised to meet me and learn that I am not from Southeast Asia.
🏆 What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
The biggest highlight has been to build a direct digital connection with our customers to get their feedback after every meal. It's amazing to hear all of their thoughts and comments on the food every day and to build technology to better understand how we can make the meals even better.
It's every time a highlight when we get really heartwarming comments from our customers telling us that one of our meals made their day. This really reminds me why we are doing what we are doing and how important and powerful food is.
🔍 What's a startup trend or space you're watching this year?
Internally, we are working on the next generation of our food engine: a tech system to create and further evolve recipes based on customer feedback and supplier data. So with that, I am excited [about] the current and upcoming developments in AI.
AI is on the verge of completely reshaping most industries and businesses. The opportunities in F&B are especially massive since the industry really hasn't evolved much in the last 100 years.
💼 What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
No matter if you want to start your own company or work in an industry, I highly recommend getting started as quickly as possible: you will grow and learn 100x faster than watching from the sidelines.
🗣 What's one thing you can keep talking about for hours?
Food, of course.😛
🎥 What's your favorite movie/TV show?
I love sci-fi movies to get inspired about the future.
🍨 What's your go-to ice cream flavor?
Hmmm...pistachio or macadamia or cookie dough.
FYI. We’ve edited this interview for clarity.
The newsletter that keeps you up-to-date on the top stories on tech and business in Southeast Asia. It's fun, quick and free.