Interview Transcript

Looking at some of the mobility as a service providers today then, how do you look at for example Car2Go or the car sharing services in Europe? What's the business model in the area?

I'm not so familiar with this one. Peugeot have just launched something in France and I was talking to the lady that runs that side of things, and she was explaining how they were going to operate. I said, “You are going to have a difficult task, because you're launching this service now, whereas Car2Go has already existed in a number of cities across the world. They've been in operation for a couple of years now. How do you think you are going to compete against them?” And she said, “Well, we're going to try and do this, we going to try and do that.” Basically, the challenge is how do you get customer loyalty? How do you capture the customer on these services? There's so many of them around, and some people have got all these apps on their telephones. The majority of people, I think, at some point in time, are going to say, “This is too complicated for me, I just want to go with one or two companies.” And the question is how do you ensure your company is going to become the one or two, the dominant player in that market?

I think everybody is trying to get into that market, they feel they have to. I don't think everybody will survive in that market. I think that is an area where you will see a lot of consolidation because it just gets too complex.

Do you see the OEMs providing fleets to people who want to share cars or drive cars at some point and then drop it back off? More like an hourly rental system, so similar to the car rental companies, but obviously owned by the OEMs and more of a subscription model. What about Whim’s business model?

Whim basically strike a deal with the different transport operators, whether it's public transport, or it's a taxi company, or a bicycle rental company. My understanding is they basically guarantee a certain amount of utilisation to these people in order to get a better price. So anyone who uses that particular application through Whim is actually contributing to the utilization of that service, and then Whim is charged a lower price. For example, if you didn't go through Whim and you wanted to buy a bus ticket, it would cost you €2, if you went through Whim, it might still cost you €2, but Whim would only be charged €1.50, and so they’d make 50 cents profit out of it, if you see what I mean. So they can negotiate.

BlaBlaCar in France is doing something similar with car manufacturers and bus companies. They've just bought one of the bus companies in France. The idea was that they would go and basically, a bit like an airline, guarantee a certain utilization, buy this space for this price, and then it’s up to them to make sure that they can sell that space to the general public through their application.

So with Whim, I don't believe they own that many assets, but they’re operating with people who do own the assets and are guaranteeing them a certain amount of utilisation in exchange for an attractive price, and then it's up to Whim to make sure the people come in and use it. The big advantage of Whim is that it's integrating different types of transport in one app. That’s what Car2Go and all these others are going to have to do as well.

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