We talked to Lucien Groenhuijzen, founder of Innovactory, about travel applications and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: These are challenging times for all of us. Fortunately, my family, I, and our team at Innovatory are in good health. We all work remotely and are constant in all kind of video calls
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Innovactory.
Lucien Groenhuijzen: I founded Innovactory in 2013. I honestly believe that future mobility is going to change significantly due to urbanization, pollution, and congestion. At Innovactory we focus on delivering one App, Gaiyo, to improve the way we move. Our solutions are designed to meet the needs of car drivers traveling in urban areas.
Before founding Innovactory I was Managing Director and member of the Executive Committee of TomTom where I was responsible for groundbreaking innovations such as TomTom Traffic, the IQ Routes technology, and the first commercially available connected car solution. I worked for several other IT companies and have a Master of Science in mechanical engineering.
How does Innovactory innovate?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: We try to deliver an App that makes it easy to travel from A to B. The idea is that everything should be possible. Your car, bike, or any of the available transport alternatives of the partners should be plannable, bookable, and drivable. Convenience, access, and payment are central in this approach. We do not provide wheels, but try to deliver users a single sign-on, personalized routing, and smart alternatives solution.
We have weekly breakout sessions with and across all departments to spike creative thinking and innovation. We listen to our users and talk to people in the industry to collect new ideas. Ideas are validated and initial concepts are tested. When it looks like it’s an interesting idea we build an MVP and step by step roll it out to our users.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: Like other countries, the Dutch government urges their citizens to work from home as much as possible and prevent unnecessary traveling. This impacts our business too as we help people to plan, book, and pay for their transportation. Nevertheless, people still move from A to B, but they prefer individual means of transportation, e.g., cars above traveling in groups, e.g., public transport. The spike in moped sales and secondhand cars and the increase of usage of shared transport is an indication that people think about their travel behavior. For obvious reasons, people try to avoid groups of people. Our business survived so far with some financial aids from the government. We’re looking forward to going back to normal as soon as possible.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: Making difficult choices is part of the business and innovation & creativity are part of our DNA. The best lesson is to listen to the target audience and stay relevant at all times.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: All communications tools like Slack, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, etc. Try to stay in contact with everyone on the team.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: There are seven MaaS pilots in the Netherlands at the moment. Every pilot has its area, goals, and circumstances. In a way, we all have the same goal and that is to interest the Dutch population for MaaS. So, we’re more colleagues than competitors I would say. We are here to stay and have just begun. Recently, the Volkskrant, a major Dutch newspaper mentioned us as the most complete and detailed MaaS app at the moment. Our goals are ambitious.
Your final thoughts?
Lucien Groenhuijzen: We are looking for partners to roll-out our solution in Europe. Those interested can contact us directly.
Company website: www.innovactory.com.
Gaiyo App: www.gaiyo.com
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