VivaDrive | X-Europe Startup Interview
Welcome to our X-Europe startup interview series. We have virtually sat down with a number of our founders from past cohorts to hear all about their solutions, vision for the future, and what made them tick during our X Europe programme. So whether you are a deep tech founder looking for startup support, an eagle-eyed investor, or simply interested in the possibilities that technology can bring to society, then we welcome you to take a read. Please meet VivaDrive, a startup that helps companies and organizations to make their car fleet sustainable.
Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it? Our company offers a solution that helps companies and organizations to make their car fleet sustainable - introduce Electric Vehicles and alternative forms of transport.
The recommendation is based on the characteristics of the company - its drivers, vehicles, and transport tasks. This data-driven tool helps companies to select the cars that can be replaced by the EV, how to plan EV charging infrastructure, and make an electromobility deployment plan for a company. Finally, when an organisation switches to EV, it helps to manage the new EV fleet, its fleet costs, and its charging infrastructure. We believe that the shift to electromobility is an evolution rather than an evolution. That is why our tool also allows managing traditional petrol cars (ICE).
What led you to start or join your company? What is the key motivation and mission behind the startup? We love solving real problems and having a real influence on the surrounding world. Climate change requires drastic actions and breaking different business paradigms. Transport contributes almost one-quarter (23 percent) of the current global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is growing faster than any other energy end-use sector. That is why, with VivaDrive, we wanted to create a set of tools that would help companies turn green and reduce CO2 emissions related to transportation. We want to help them switch to e-mobility and to reduce car trips.
Who are the key target audiences? How does the technology make a positive impact? We are targeting various organizations that have, lease of rent cars - companies but also municipalities and cities. We help them build sustainable fleets by introducing Electric Vehicles and alternatives forms of transport in their organizations. Therefore we help them meet low-emission and zero-emission requirements put by the EU regulators.
What’s the biggest milestone your startup has achieved so far, and what has surprised you most on this journey? To survive 2020 ;) We are a young organisation and in 2019 we focused on building our technology. We were planning our launch in March 2020, for the SME market.
Due to the pandemic, we need to reshape our strategy and we focused on the corporate market, which was the right thing to do. We managed to sign the first customer deals in Poland and we are looking forward to scaling in Europe. The most surprising was the pandemic itself! But the most important amazing was my team, who never gave up and helped our company move forward.
How has X-Europe helped you during the past few months? We are growing, so what we need right now is a good network and brand awareness that can lead to better sales. X-Europe links us with other startups, investors, and potential customers. It also assures global visibility.
What are your goals over the next 3, 6, and 12 months? In 3 months, we would like to launch our product in Belgium and in France and start first projects with corporate customers who would like to switch to e-mobility. Our goal is to join with partners like leasing companies, insurers,s or EV infrastructure companies, so in the next 6-12 months we will be building partnerships in the CEE and Benelux region. Given we wanted to scale up across the EU and have a larger impact on transport sustainability, probably in the coming 12-18 months we will head for another funding round.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the Smart Cities & Sustainability landscape? Stay positive, persistent, and patient - but that probably applies to all startups and scaleups, not only in the Smart Cities domain.
Thrive locally - building a solution that helps increase sustainability is not an easy task as sustainability is not very often perceived as a key business KPI. We noticed that working with your local partners - your cities/municipalities, local NGOs, and people that you know and meet frequently have greater chances for success, especially at the beginning of your business journey. What’s unique about the X-Europe programme?
I think what makes X-Europe unique is the possibility to work with partners from different parts of Europe - Visegrad, the Baltics, and Western Europe. It allows growing your network quickly and effectively.