Think big

ONO is in the top 150 of the European Startup Prize for Mobility

Please introduce yourself and your startup ONO to our readers!

I’m Beres, I originally come from Munich, but I now call Berlin home. I am one of the three founders, and I’m mainly responsible for the team’s strategic and business development. I love what I do and I love the team I work with. We are a small but dedicated group of people who are working hard at improving people’s lives. ONO is an e-mobility company that is introducing a whole new category of vehicle: a pedal assisted transporter (PAT), as an alternative and cost-efficient solution to current parcel delivery methods, making our cities safer, cleaner and more enjoyable.

How did you get the idea for ONO?

My journey started when I was studying abroad in Chengdu, China. I was really impressed by their forward-thinking in sustainable forms of transportation. There were electric scooters everywhere. When I returned to Germany, I realized there was a lack of distribution services in e-mobility. So I took matters into my own hands and started an electric mobility solutions company. That led me to meet one of my co-founders Murat Günak who, at the time, founded his own electric car manufacturer.

We both realized that even with electric cars there were challenges such as their physical footprint, charging station availability, lack of parking, and we understood that there was a need for a new type of a vehicle with all the advantages and flexibility of a bicycle but with more cargo capacity. I had previously worked with, Philipp Kahle, a light electric vehicle expert, and we felt he made the perfect fit to complete the founding team. Our research lead us to the growing problem of pollution and congested roads due to the growth of parcel delivery.

So we decided to begin there, creating a transporter with a sizeable cargo capacity that would reduce road congestion while avoiding it.

How difficult was the start and what challenges did you have to overcome?

One of the largest challenges was convincing others that they needed a product that didn’t yet exist. The industry thought in categories such as bicycle or automobile, and what we were proposing could not be neatly categorized. So the auto industry was not interested. The bicycle industry was not interested. It was very difficult to convince people about the need for this whole new category of vehicle.

We quickly understood we needed to build a prototype for others to understand. But of course, we needed the money to build the prototype. So we kept on networking and pushing until we were lucky enough to finally convince an investor to fund us. That first investor had also realized that there was a need for vehicles larger than bicycles but that had the same advantages. Overcoming this first hurdle, we went on to address more challenges such as creating a name and brand identity that is German but at the same time has international appeal, and creating a business model that was both profitable and future-proof.

Who is your target audience?

At the moment our target audience is the courier, express and parcel market along with major online stores such as Amazon and Alibaba, basically businesses who need to transport goods from A to B. And while our aim is to start by making a positive and meaningful impact on our environment and cities by changing the way we approach delivering parcels, ONO’s platform can be adapted to a variety of case uses. Subsequently, our aim is that ONO PATs are used as personal transporters, taxis, city-utility vehicles and more.

What is the USP of your startup?

Team. Team. Team.

With the founders, we were already a great fusion of experience and expertise: Murat and his incredible design mastery, Philipp and his engineering and problem-solving ingenuity and me with my business strategy and development know-how. And then to add to the mix over a dozen of the most talented and dedicated people I’ve met in engineering, design, marketing and communications, I could not ask for a better team. We went from designing a concept to building a carefully engineered and aesthetically polished prototype in just 14 months.

Introducing the ONO PAT to the world at our launch event in November 2018, was such a proud moment. I was so proud of the ONO team and everything we accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Can you describe a typical workday of yours?

I don’t think there’s a typical workday, every day is different. And, working with such a highly connected and talented team means that everyday is an evolution. I will say that there’s a lot of writing and replying to emails. There are also Scrum meetings, checking out new developments at our prototype workshop, communicating with partners, finding new investors, introducing ONO to potential customers and just making sure team morale is up. Like I said, everyday is different, and despite the hours flying by, important decisions have to be made daily.

Where do you see yourself and your startup ONO in five years?

In 5 years, after already having entered the European market, we aim to be market leaders in cargo delivery vehicles within cities in North America, shifting deliveries from trucks and vans to pedal assisted transporters. We see ourselves continuing to attract brilliant talent as our team expands to keep up with growth, being part of a company culture and environment where people thrive. We see ourselves as one of the companies that initiated the movement for greener and cleaner mobility within cities.

You are one of the top 150 European Startup Prize for Mobility. How is it going?

It’s an honour to be part of such a group of diverse and innovative companies, and we believe it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness to the need for transformative change in mobility and to have a platform which brings attention to the products and services from all these wonderful initiatives. We appreciate that the European Startup Prize’s programme supports innovations in sustainable mobility and appreciate having the opportunity to share new ideas with a broader audience about the exciting new sustainability ideas coming from Europe.

What 3 tips would you give other startup founders on the way?

Focus. Focus Focus. It’s very easy to get distracted or side-tracked by ongoing requests and inquiries from potential investors, customers and stakeholders, but it’s so important to keep one’s eye on the main prize.

Think big. Thinking big and thinking small both require the same amount of energy. So why not go big?

Get shit done. Ideas are wonderful, but they don’t go anywhere unless they’re executed and transformed into reality.

More information you will find here

Thank you Beres for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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