Motion Profile

Motion logo.

Motion, formerly ByCycling, is a platform for cities, companies, and others to launch their own mobility programs.

Founder(s): Jose Díaz & Pawel Zawada

Industry: Mobility

Founded in: 2017

Location: The Netherlands

Interview With Jose Díaz

Describe your product or service: 

“Motion is a digital platform [that helps] companies and cities launch mobility programs to encourage and incentivize physical activity and the use of clean mobility options.”

Describe your company values and mission: 

“We are on a mission to help people adopt a more healthy, sustainable, and conscious life.”

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

“Accelerator and angel investor.”

How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.) 

“We are currently three people: Pawel Zawada is CTO, Gino Terlouw is our Front-End Engineer, and Jose Días (me) is the CEO.”

How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story! 

“I dreamed it. I literally woke up one day, having dreamed of riding a bike and collecting coins worth money on the road. Since then, I decided to quit my job and pursue my dream. Six years have passed since then, and we are still fighting.”

How did you come up with your startup’s name? Did you have other names you considered? 

“Basically, the name ‘ByCycling’ fell too short of our ambitions. We founded ByCycling on the premise that cycling was the best way to commute to work and enroll in physical activity at the same time; it is the fastest and healthiest way to commute to work in cities, so we built a tool that supports that premise. 

Although we firmly believe in that, we understood that cycling alone was not enough to support our mission and the bigger picture. Motion was born to support exactly this — to encourage and help people adopt a more healthy, sustainable, and conscious life — and for that, we had to get involved in other mobility modes, such as walking, running, and the use of some active/electrified vehicles like escooters.” 

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

“Yes. My dad, my grandfather, and most of my family are entrepreneurs, so I knew that was also my path.”

Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?

“That question alone would take me a day to answer, but to summarize it: of course, if you don’t encounter any roadblocks it probably means you are not doing something new, important, or relevant to the world. We faced roadblocks in probably all the topics: financial, people/team, bad investors, idea, business model, technology … The only way to solve them is by embracing them, as you most probably won’t be able to avoid them. Take them on your chin, learn from them, and overcome them with hard work, patience, and humility.”

Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup? 

“We target cities and medium- to large-sized businesses. In the beginning, you have no idea what your target market is, so only with experience and by listening to the needs of relevant stakeholders [can] you learn what people want and need, so you can have a clear overview of the market.”

What’s your marketing strategy? 

“We are just getting started with it, but we want potential partners such as mobility or HR consultants to distribute our platform to their customers.”

How did you acquire your first 100 customers? 

“Our customers are big organizations, so we haven’t reached 100 yet. But to answer ‘how did we get our first customer?’ Well, basically they reached out to us — meaning there was a problem out there that needed to be fixed and none of the available tools in the market could solve [it].”

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

“Obviously [the] number of clients/deals closed, but most importantly, the retention from app users.”

What’s your favorite startup book and podcast? 

“I’m not used to reading physical books; however, I do read a lot and listen to podcasts such as ‘Startup Therapy’ and the ‘Gary Vee Audio Experience.’”

Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup? 

“Notion is indispensable.”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship? 

“That most people are driven by money alone and care only what’s in for them.”

How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder? 

“I don’t separate them, and I think if you really want to be an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t. You should love your work, work on it, and once you accomplish that, you won’t see the difference. Your life is your work, and your work is your life. You’ll find the time to enjoy both.”

What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused? 

“That depends on the kind of work you do. If I need to do something that I consider fun, I don’t need any strategy or plan to be productive because I will always enjoy it and won’t like to stop anytime. On the other hand, if not, then just try to take breaks.”

What was your first job and what did it teach you? 

“My first official job was as an on-street pollster. It was terrible — I lasted one month. It taught me that doing something you hate shouldn’t be a job you should ever consider.”

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