[Made in Barcelone] Scooter sharing, Barcelona Activa and Icitst 2016 …
Founded in May 2016, Yugo is an electric scooter sharing service in Barcelona. The start-up has four French founders: Benjamin Viguier, Yann Sander, Tim and and Luc Ougeot. Benjamin Viguier, CEO, answers questions from FrenchWeb.
Philippe Baret, correspondent FrenchWeb: Where did you get the idea for Yugo?
Benjamin Viguier, CEO of Yugo: This comes from the background we have, the four co-founders. We all worked in Germany in the automotive industry before coming to Barcelona, we saw there a new mobility service, the transition from ownership to use, autonomy applied to an urban transport model. In Germany, we attended all the initiatives of car sharing, they are pioneers on this, we have experienced it as a user but also as an employee in the automotive industry and its strategic vision. There we basically used Drivenow and Car2go for sharing, we used Drivy for rental on weekends.
How do you stand out from the competition in Barcelona?
It is rather by the approach that we will differentiate ourselves. To be very clear, our two competitors are a bit more alike, they have invested more than a million and a half euros to launch their service in Barcelona, they have bought the technology, the platform and all the software for managing the service. to flood the city with scooters as quickly as possible and then go looking for users. Basically, we didn’t have the money to do the same. As a result, we have developed our technologies ourselves, both on the hardware and the software, including the user app and the app created to optimize logistics which, we think, is one of the most strategic and difficult aspects in a sharing. This clean development makes us extremely agile. There is also this aspect a little more lifestyle, community and extremely close to our users since we designed a service made for ourselves. All users have a group on WhatsApp with the founders, we answer them 24/24 in less than two minutes in any situation, it is communication that is done as we hear it, it is at say with lots of smileys. We also adapt to the language of our users, we like to have this super close relationship.
How is your team made up?
We are four French founders. Tim was very focused on communication, digital marketing, content management, very lifestyle at BMW and BMW-Electric. I was more sales and business at Audi, with a bit of a transversal profile in the end, but less marketing than Tim. Yann, had already had the experience of entrepreneurship in the past and having a good know-how in development frontend, he quickly took over the development of the product. Luc, the fourth, is a little younger than us. He joined us directly after university. He specializes in user experience. Tim, Yann and I did the Grenoble École de Management (GEM), Luc did the Burgundy School of Business (smile), formerly ESC Dijon. We like to say that the Yugo team is a bit of a sibling. Luke is Tim’s brother. In addition to our graphic designer, who is a childhood friend of Tim, the two people who helped us the most at the start are Yann’s twin brother, a “full-stack developer”, and my twin brother Thomas who is an engineer. These two twin brothers, supervised by Yann, technically build the product, the app and everything behind it. Now, we are integrating new technical human resources, we are recruiting for full time on site in Barcelona.
How did you finance yourself?
We left with our savings, with ultimately an “autonomous” system, everything was in my name on paper, we left with say 30-35,000 euros with debt. Very quickly, we went to seek funds because we needed to go much faster, with partly French investors mainly based in Barcelona. They are people around us for some of the same early adopters who follow us from the beginning. We chose them a bit too, the goal was to make smart money, that is to say, to seek additional profiles that were useful to us. So we have two extremely software tech profiles, they are developers, they created a start-up and sold it to a company here in Barcelona, we have two very financial profiles, a profile more of a hardware engineer too. So we have five people who took shares in Yugo. At the same time, we are also doing co-investment with public debt, here we are in progress, we have asked for public financing lines.