eCooltra CEO: Offline-to-online leader in two-wheel sharing economy
Spain · Nov 15, 2018· By Gareth Gardiner Jones
Timo Buetefisch, the CEO and co-founder of Europe's largest scooter rental firm Cooltra, discusses the successful offline-to-online shift to scooter-sharing app eCooltra
In just over two years, Barcelona-based eCooltra has become Europe's market leader in two-wheel electric transport. Moving from a purely offline store-based rental model to the most widely used online scooter sharing system in Europe; Cooltra plans to integrate both businesses into one platform to prepare for international growth via franchises. The eCooltra two-wheel sharing app will tap into Cooltra's well-established offline rental brand that is ranked as one of the world's top provider of two-wheel rentals.
As the CEO and co-founder of both companies, Timo Buetefisch shares his insights with CompassList at the South Summit 2018 in Madrid. He explains how his team made travel smarter and discusses the future of sustainable travel.
Q: You started Cooltra as an offline company in 2006 in Barcelona. What prompted you to set up shop, and why in Barcelona?
A: I went to Barcelona to study for an MBA from 2002–2004, and then stayed on working in project management. In 2006, my personal scooter broke down. So I took it to the garage for repairs and for the two weeks I was without it, I wanted to rent a scooter, but there wasn't a place to do so. So I thought, wow we can professionalize this and set up a scooter rental business.
Actually, my business model was always the big car rental companies like Sixt and I thought: what these guys do for four wheels, let's do the same for two wheels. None of these large companies have ever set up a scooter line of business, not even in the 12 years since I set up Cooltra, though they did some trials. It is a very different business to manage. For example, our scooters have to go for service every 2000km, unlike a car.
At what point did you decide to develop the online business?
Edited by Suzanne Soh
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