Ahead of EXPAND London, we’re previewing our exciting exhibitors to give you a flavour of what you can look forward to next month. This week it’s Maria Raga CEO of Depop. We caught up with her at Depop’s London office to discuss the highs and lows of her role and the phenomenal rise of Depop.
Featured image: Alex McLuckie
Describe your role as CEO
I am responsible for both the success and failure of the company. There are two sides to my role – with our staff I enjoy getting the very best out of all the people who work at Depop. I both guide and listen to them, ensure they feel valued and always lead by example. The other side of my role is growing Depop as a company, setting up the vision, the strategy and leading the fundraising process.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be very open and as fair as possible. I like to make decisions based on different views and ideas. I want to help everyone to thrive and get Depop on top of the world!
What’s the transition from operations to CEO been like for you?
In any promotion into something that is much broader, there are always many challenges. I have learned a lot – both about the company and about myself. Most importantly, I have learned about the type of leader I am and the type of leader I want to be. I have a great team around me and I have people I can ask advice from. It’s incredibly satisfying to lead such a great company and I love it!
Can you describe in your own words what Depop is?
Very simply, it’s a social marketplace. Because Depop’s user interface is really simple and social and Depop is mobile first we grew a community of very young users. 90% of our user base is below 25 years old which makes it very lively and the users are really engaged. We’ve got 50 million messages being sent on a monthly basis, that’s massive! We know how younger users consume apps nowadays, they were born with a phone in their hands, they are natives of social media and because of that it’s a very vibrant community.
What features of Depop appeal so much to Millennials and Gen Z ?
Our advantage is that we’re not like other e-Commerce sites or apps where you click buy and that’s it. We’re about establishing a relationship with a seller or a buyer. You’re not just there to buy and sell an item, you are there to interact. We also have our manually curated explore page, where we select the most inspiring items posted by our users. That brings people back daily to check what is trending. This becomes addictive.
What challenges have you faced in your role?
Right after I became CEO we had to fundraise. I was COO before so I knew how the business operates, however I was not used to pitching to investors and this was a big challenge. There are no textbooks that can help you with this, you just have to do it and do it again. I worked closely with the founder of Depop and my good friend, Simon Beckerman, to really articulate what the mission of the company was at inception and bring it to life again.
What’s your biggest achievement?
What’s your favourite thing about working at Depop?
I love the fact that it’s a very young and lively culture. We’re a tech startup so we’ve a big group of engineers and we also have a big group of marketeers and there is a big contrast to the two.
On a weekly basis we have a Friday meeting where every team shares the wins of the week and it’s amazing. You see how excited and proud the teams are to show what they’ve done and it just brings everyone together, going back to our core mission.
We go out after work which shows that we are not just friends in the office but also outside it.
What are the top reasons that people are attracted to work at Depop? Why do people love working here?
People come because they see this is a business that is growing and going to make an impact. Candidates have opportunities to learn and they are able to move into another role should they wish. I love seeing employees who have moved up to bigger challenges.
We’re very non hierarchical. You don’t have to be a manager to make an impact.
What are ‘must have’ traits to work at Depop?
We look for team players who are respectful, humble, hardworking and able to think outside the box (while respecting what has been done). We want people that are fun and who don’t take themselves too seriously.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever gotten?
Success comes from experience and experience comes from failure.
You’ll be exhibiting at EXPAND London next month, what are you most looking forward to?
I am very excited to be part of EXPAND London to showcase Depop. It’s a great place to meet different people and engage with other CEOs.
Any advice for Talent attending EXPAND?
Do your research about the companies before you go. Be super approachable and talk to as many people as possible.
And for Talent interested in Depop?
You don’t need to be looking for a specific job, we’re always happy to talk to people passionate about what we do. Come talk to us!
If you’re ready to join the game changers of the London Tech scene, register here.