We talked to Arnaud Le Rodallec of Zoov about self-service electric bikes, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: The period is a bit sad for me as anyone else, but I’m lucky to work every day on something I love with an amazing team. It helps a lot to stay motivated and positive even with the current situation!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Zoov.
Arnaud Le Rodallec: After being graduated as an engineer from Centrale Paris, completed by a double degree at Essec Business School, I joined the marketing and product development team of Invoxia, one of Eric Carreel’s company. I was in charge of product marketing, project management, development, and customer service. Eric introduced me to Amira Haberah, with whom I created Zoov in 2017. We had the intuition that mobility was going to be the greatest challenge of the next decades. We were not satisfied with the current products and services, so we decided to create our own.
How does Zoov innovate?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: Zoov is the technological benchmark when it comes to self-service electric bikes in Europe, thanks to smart, effective, sturdy electric bikes, as well as a compact, economical parking and charging infrastructure. We believe in a micro-mobility that can be effective for cities, profitable for operators, and safe for users. We have internalized all the innovation. We made the product and the services from scratch. We care about user feedback, and we continuously improve and innovate to satisfy them.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: The current pandemic had a paradoxical effect. If multiple curfews and confinement episodes decreased the use of micro-mobility services for a while, it significantly stepped up when it came to deconfinement. The micro-mobility market is maturing. It proved its utility when completing public transportation facilities and adopting a sustainable approach with a product made of sturdy material and a high level of connectivity. As a consequence, cities, and operators are searching for mobility solutions that will last in the future and fit well with their needs. And that is our core value proposition.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: At Zoov, we own the technology, but we also operate it. If it helped us to have very short development cycles, we understood with the coronavirus crisis that we had to choose. It was a no-brainer that our biggest strength lay in the R&D and technology. We thus decided to focus on it and to propose our technology to other operators. This strategy proved successful, and we have today many projects to dust off the bike industry!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: We are a cloud-first company since the beginning, meaning that all our files, knowledge, and collaborative work is done using SaaS solutions (Slack, Google Drive, Jira, GitHub, etc.). I think last year showed that it was the right choice as we were able to switch very quickly and seamlessly to home-office. However, I strongly believe that innovation and team-spirit are much stronger when people work together in the same building, so I’m very much looking forward to the end of the COVID-19 crisis to bring together the team at the office.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: Our competitors are also our partners! We believe actors of the micro-mobility ecosystem have to support themselves to be resilient. We have signed partnerships with e-scooters operator Pony to allow them to operate our e-bikes, with the Parisian public transport operator RATP to ease intramodality between train and bike, and many more will be announced soon. We plan to stay in the game thanks to our flexible technology that can answer the needs of very different actors: micro-mobility operators, cities, companies, etc…
Your final thoughts?
Arnaud Le Rodallec: Despite the difficult times, I’m very excited about the future as we see an incredible revolution ongoing in mobility, with the explosion of the bike and e-bike usage. I believe it gives us a glimpse of a much peaceful future in the way people live, move, and interact inside cities. This has been a deep motivation for my associate and me since we co-founded the company, and we are committed to participating actively in this change for the best.