Flash Founder Stories: Geoffroy Henry
The founder of Aussie logistics startup Ofload chats about ditching corporate life for startups, why he loves failure and how he worked with Flash Ventures to launch his own company
Henry (pictured) and freight logistics startup Ofload recently raised $20 million through their Series A
It was only a matter of months ago that Ofload founder & CEO Geoffroy Henry led his company through a Series A capital raise that now sees them at a sizeable $100 million valuation.
On first glimpse, it’s easy to assume that the polished Frenchman has enjoyed this same fortune along his entire journey. But in reality, he hasn’t been immune to the lows that entrepreneurship often brings its greatest loyalists.
In this interview, Geoff offers some insight into his pathway from corporate to startups, his head on approach to taking risks and the secret ingredient that gave him the confidence to build Ofload.
Tell us a bit about your background before launching Ofload.
Pretty boring. I went to a French business school, and that always felt like the right thing to do when you don't know what to do. I went into hedge funds for about two and a half years, before moving to Australia. When I came here, I was feeling pretty confident that I was going to be a kick ass commodity trader; I wanted to do hands on work in financial markets. That process humbled me because I couldn’t get a single job I wanted.
So after six months of just waiting around and spending my savings, a friend of mine told me: "You know what, time to move on from that. Why don't you join HelloFresh? You’d love it. It's a young company, it's growing like crazy." I did exactly that, and it was amazing. I fell in love with what the startup world offers to anyone willing to trial and fail. And so I had this amazing three years at HelloFresh. I finished by managing all operations, which gave me a lot of insights on logistics.
And after that, I decided that I could use those insights to my own advantage. I resigned from HelloFresh and joined Becool, a niche last mile provider of fresh food, as their MD. I don't know if you've ever ordered HelloFresh, but if you have then you’ve used Becool. That was an amazing experience. In 18 months, we managed to get to 220,000 deliveries per week and sold the company to HelloFresh.
Once that was done, I had to keep doing my own thing. So I connected with the Flash family.
The straight to the point, no ego, pragmatic thinking got me hooked, because that's how I work. So I knew very quickly that we were aligned and would work well together. We came up with a plan, and they invested in it. Ofload officially launched in March, 2020, and since then it's been an amazing ride. I think we're soon coming close to a hundred employees. It's been an amazing journey.
You’ve now started a couple of companies. When did this initial itch to start your own thing actually come to you?
Very, very, very early on. When I was 14, I would import lights that you put on bicycles and sell them during summer. I've always done business. It's always been a passion for me, but I’ve always found the idea side to be challenging. For example, I started a venture early on which surrounded the concept of a digital campus. I put six figures of my own money into it and was a huge failure. Despite this, I've just always had the urge... Even when I was an employee, I would have side businesses. Always.
What gave you the confidence to take the leap of faith into building your own venture?
I just don't like to overthink, because if you do then you just see all the cons and you see why things might not work. We're all very smart, and if you want to find the excuse on why something might not work, then we're always going to find a bunch of excuses that prevent us from executing. I don't believe in thinking like that. I believe in doing, I believe in trying, I believe in working hard.
What was most valuable about having Flash Ventures in your corner from day 0?
I've always been an entrepreneur, but I hadn’t been exposed to the VC world prior to Flash. Flash aren’t there to hand-hold you and it’s great because they give you the space to be a true entrepreneur. But they give you reassurance when you’re doing the right things and help you get answers when you might be stuck. And when you over-complicate things like raising capital, pulling together pitch decks, getting connected to funds, they are there to demystify things and support you along the way.
It has always been great. They're straight shooters, so I like the fact that when we disagree, I always have someone to push me. At times I've disagreed with their comments and I’ve gone my own way, but I love that I always have someone who challenges me on my point of view. It’s always super relevant and straight to the point. They tell you exactly how it is.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to people who like their job, but have an itch to start a company?
To be honest, if you are happy where you are, stay where you are. The purpose of life is to be happy and fulfilled.
If you're not happy where you are, and you have a calling… well, don't think twice. Try, fail and try again, then fail and try the third time.
Only do what makes you happy and something that you have an irresistible urge to do. But don't hide behind the fact that there's comfort in security in the job you're doing.