We talked to Sergio Studer of CARIFY about hassle-free cars and he had the following to say about them.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sergio Studer: My family and I are doing well so far. Thank you for asking. We have been fortunate as no one in our family has been diagnosed with COVID-19. In these troubled times, it is important to support each other and to stick together. I wish everyone who has been suffering from this disease the best, and I am convinced that we will overcome this difficult challenge very soon.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded CARIFY.
Sergio Studer: I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My father, my grandfather, as well his ancestors, were all entrepreneurs. Therefore, it was clear to me from an early age that I wanted to follow their paths. After my officer training with the special forces of the Swiss army and my business studies at the University of St. Gallen, I was drawn to the world of startups where I learned the art of selling. During that time, I saw how incredibly exciting it was to work with highly talented and motivated people. It also showed me that anything is possible with a lot of courage and the right people by your side. This motivated me to start my own company with my co-founder, wanting to change the world of mobility from day one!
How does CARIFY innovate?
Sergio Studer: We enable a new way of mobility. Convenience, flexibility, simplicity, and immediacy are key factors in today’s economy and resonate strongly with modern customers. That being said, drivers today are still forced to use their cars as “all-purpose” vehicles, no matter if they are commuting alone to work or taking the whole family to the mountains. It is a one-size-fits-none approach that has very little sense in 2020. CARIFY strives to give its customers the flexibility to choose the right car for the right need at the right time, delivered to their doorstep for their convenience. We have built the biggest car subscription platform in Europe, allowing the entire car industry to take part in this revolution. We are disrupting today’s broken car consumption model and unifying customer experiences with a one-stop-service approach that will be the car industry’s future.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Sergio Studer: Like Amazon or other digital companies, we are one of the “beneficiaries” of the pandemic. In uncertain times, people tend to value flexible solutions that don’t lock them into long-term contracts. Flexible car subscriptions give people the opportunity to retain their mobility, which is sometimes vital, without compromising their long-term financial horizon with an expensive car purchase or a leasing agreement.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Sergio Studer: The most difficult decisions are always the ones that affect people. Fortunately, we did not have to lay-off any employees because of the pandemic; on the contrary, we were able to expand our headcount and create jobs in many of our departments. Nevertheless, as all companies did, we had to take many safety measures, which sometimes made it difficult to work together efficiently. In such times, however, it is important that we, as a company, fight together against the virus in order to eradicate it once and for all.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Sergio Studer: I believe that stress, worries, and anxiety arise from projecting your negative thoughts into the future and imagining that things will go wrong. By staying focused on the present, I find it easier to overcome stress and use it as a productivity booster rather than a negative component.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sergio Studer: There are two ways to have the tallest building in town. One way is to tear everyone else’s building down, and the other is to think about how you can keep adding floors to yours. Competition drives us on a daily basis and, therefore, motivates us to push our limits even further. To stay ahead of the game, we constantly think about how to be more efficient and provide the best service for our customers. A key component of taking our company to the next level has been hiring people who are smarter than us and passionate about our mission.
Your final thoughts?
Sergio Studer: Without my great team, none of what we achieved in 2020 would have been possible. Every entrepreneur needs to hire the right people from the beginning, motivating, and supporting them as the company grows. With a team of motivated, talented, and creative people, everything is twice as fun, and you get much further than if you tried to do it on your own.