First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Albéric de Bernis: All a bit anxious however lucky to be all safe and sound at the moment.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded monTransport.
Albéric de Bernis: I first founded a B2B transport company focusing on certain areas of the Paris suburb in 2009.
Then I founded monTransport.com in 2013 after realizing the following:
– The biggest entry barrier of taking a cab is not knowing exactly how much it’ll cost.
– When asked about prices, cab drivers reply with VERY disparate prices.
– No easy way and secure way to pre-book a cab at the best-fixed rate.
– Depending on the departure area, you have to search for different taxi options (phone, radio taxi, UBER app like etc.), it takes time…
How does monTransport innovate?
Albéric de Bernis: Our mission is to provide a trustworthy marketplace whereby anyone can securely book a cab anywhere at the best-fixed rate. We’re dedicated to showing best cab offerings depending on what the user needs (e.g., best-fixed rate, big vehicle, English speaking driver, child seat etc.)
We’ve created a pricing algorithm capable of calculating the most competitive fixed price at which we’re certain to find an available cab. It enables anyone to know exactly how much a taxi cost before deciding to book it.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Albéric de Bernis: In general, this pandemic has decreased our volume by 50% compared to 2019; however, cab sign-ups have increased consequently. The remaining 50% of our volume is mainly long-distance ride booked by clients that want to avoid public transportation (e.g., train and plane) due to the coronavirus. We recently had the longest ride booked on monTransport.com, with a departure from Paris suburb all the way to northern Portugal!
Thanks to France generous protection, we’ve unlocked 2 loans and some subsidies to be able to last for a few more months. Hopefully, it’ll be over soon enough, and people will be free to travel again wherever. This will help us recover financially.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Albéric de Bernis: We had to cut cost drastically, abort projects and let some employees go. This is probably the toughest situation I had to handle in my life up until now.
All projections depend on when this pandemic will end or at least when confinement and/or curfew will stop. Not knowing this end is harsh.
I guess it might be a little too early to tell the lessons learnt…
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Albéric de Bernis: Personally, I focus on thinking all possible outcomes by having multiples forecast business plan. This is the only tool that can help anticipate whatever happens. I find comfort in the fact that we’re prepared in facing multiple scenarios.
Otherwise, as usual, I practice Yoga, meditation and apnea. It helps tremendously to slow my breathing and therefore helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Albéric de Bernis: We’re in an extremely competitive market. There are a few worldwide cab aggregators around; however, most of all, we compete with all cab websites, radio taxi, UBER app like etc…
Staying in the game means:
1. Offering a lightning-fast and simple service allowing you to book a cab securely.
2. Develop a strong brand
3. Customer support is at the center of our mission
And most of all, have a local presence.
Your final thoughts?
Albéric de Bernis: Current time is harsh however it does not out value the joy of working with a dedicated and fun team as well as building a service that clients love using (check our 1000+ ratings on Google).
In the end, optimism is the only cure is this never-ending pandemic period.
Thanks to startup.info for this opportunity to write this post!
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