Blog | Jun 28, 2022

Wolt Co-founder & Advisor’s take on building an early product team

Reetta square WRITTEN BY Reetta Heiskanen

Oskari Pétas, Co-founder and advisor at Wolt, and LP at
Reading time 3 min

Looking to build your early product team in a fast growing tech company?

When Oskari Pétas co-founded the Helsinki-based food delivery startup Wolt in 2014, his role was to create a product that puts the customer left, right and center. In a span of eight years, Wolt expanded to 23 countries and made history, after the company was acquired by the US tech firm DoorDash for a record-breaking €7 billion in 2021.

We asked Oskari, now serving as an advisor at Wolt and an LP at, to share some of his key learnings for building an early stage product team:

1. Put the customer first — always

At Wolt, the customer always comes first. In fact, it’s fair to say the company is customer-obsessed. When deciding what to build next and what to put on the back burner, as early companies with limited resources often have to do, Wolt always prioritizes customer facing features over backend features. By making sure only the most polished version of the product reaches the user, Wolt is able to consistently offer a seamless user experience to their fast growing customer base.

2. Ask yourself where you need help the most, and hire for it

It’s not uncommon for a young company to struggle to understand their talent needs. Start by thinking about where the most help is needed, right now. Then map those talent gaps in detail and find the people with the right set of skills. Also, use case studies in the recruitment process, as they can help the candidate and employer to understand if and how the skills and the role fit together.

3. Keep your roadmap alive

After building team consensus on the service you are offering and how you plan to do so, divide the responsibilities, lock down the immediate plan and get the features out as soon as possible. Use customer feedback to revise the roadmap and make changes whenever needed. This will help you to avoid being misdirected by a rigid process, that with time may fail to deliver to constantly evolving customer needs.

4. Focus on features that tick the most critical KPIs

What are the key metrics of your business? For instance, one critical KPI at Wolt is deliveries per hour. So the product team focuses on building, enhancing and fixing features that affect the increase or decline of deliveries. By keeping your product vision as data-driven as possible – and focusing on the KPIs that matter the most – you’ll be able to optimize for measurable impact in areas that are most important for the company, at any given time.

5. When choosing between fancy and simple, always choose simple

We all struggle to keep things simple sometimes. Especially when building something from the bottom up, it’s easy to get lost in complicated and costly solutions. However, building toward the simplest possible solution for the customer is always the best way forward. If the current route is to pick up the phone and call a restaurant — this should be your baseline. Ultimately, the new solution simply cannot demand more steps and effort from the customer than what it takes to make a phone call. Don’t be afraid to channel simplicity in product building.

6. Recognize small features with high impact

Young companies with big ambitions need to be very strategic in every step they take. In the early days, a decision regarding seemingly small features can have a significant effect on the company’s overall health in the long term.

7. Don’t overlook the importance of open communication

To build a good product, your team needs to know what they are doing and understand why they are doing it. This brings clarity, boosts morale, and helps different teams and team members to work towards common goals. At Wolt, there are weekly meetings, where everyone can ask questions openly and find out the rationale behind pivotal decisions. This also helps to identify where more hands on deck are needed — and grow the product team around the most needed skills.

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