Interview With Constantin Vermoere

Describe your product or service:

“SMOVE.CITY is a solution provider that gathers and analyzes movement data in public spaces enabling smart, efficient, and relevant transport solutions. We combine real-time mobility data and big-data to engage with decision makers in urban areas.”

Describe your company values and mission:

“Our mission is to tackle air pollution and protect citizens' health while providing alternative environmentally-friendly mobility solutions and access to mobility data.”

How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.

“Bootstrapped”

How big is your team?

“Five [team members].”

Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

“Before incorporating SMOVE.CITY, I launched Freel — the very first B2B micromobility startup with electric scooters — back in 2018, which was able to implement a successful and sustainable monthly recurring B2B business model. Freel had big clients ranging from Sodexo, Cronos Group, Rydoo, the city of Kortrijk in Belgium to WeWork in Paris, France. I have been working in mobility for over five years. Before Freel, I worked at UBER (UberEATS). I was an early team member of the small team that launched UberEATS in Belgium.”

How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?

“SMOVE.CITY, which officially launched in 2020, was based on the learnings from Freel and experience from UBER.”

How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?

“I was drinking wine while thinking about the business idea, and it just came [to] me. This name seemed so natural/logical and straightforward. Wine always helps to get creative.”

What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?

“[Although] government contracts can take up to a year to sign, we were able to get two signed contracts in The Czech Republic in less than a year. I bootstrapped SMOVE.CITY.”

Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?

“SMOVE.CITY expects its strongest market segment to be European cities that have already made the switch to alternative mobility solutions (cities that already have shared mobility operators) or cities that are actively searching [for] alternative mobility solutions. Meaning, cities that already made the decision to invest in alternative mobility solutions but who haven't implemented any solutions yet [are great targets for SMOVE.CITY]. According to our research and based on the “2020 European Mobility Week” participating cities, there are currently 2,945 cities actively seeking ways to improve their mobility.”

What's your marketing strategy?

“We use the national government to promote us to their local/regional governments and cities.”

What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?

“Signed deals.”

What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?

“Peter Thiel's ‘From Zero To One’ and the Peter Thiel podcast episode on the ‘Masters Of Scale’ podcast with Reid Hoffman.”

What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?

“Keep the focus on the end goal and the vision, and you will always find a way to reach it.”

What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?

“Being the very first in [a] Saudi Arabia smart city with electric scooters, back in 2019.”

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