Evo, Car2go, Uber – ridesharing is as popular and easy as never before. Movmi, the company of our corporate member Sandra Phillips, is specialized in shared mobility and completed projects in Dubai, Zurich, Vienna, Seattle, Hawaii and major cities across Canada.
We talked with Sandra Phillips about her business, her network and her plans for the future.
movmi is a boutique agency specialised in Shared Mobility Design: the planning, implementation and launch of shared mobility services such as carsharing, bikesharing or ridesharing. We have spearheaded the launch of companies like Evo, or BMW’s ReachNow in the US and EKar in Dubai. We support operators in building their business cases, designing their service and product offering and then assist their team in launching and operating it. We do that through assessments, workshops and our tool library giving access to dozens of lessons learnt and best practices.
How did you build up your network?
We have followed two strategies in growing our network. We do what I call traditional business development and attend conferences in our industry not only to learn about what is happening in the space but also to meet and reconnect with people in person. In addition to that we have a strong inbound marketing strategy: we have focused on our social media and blog strategy from the early days and because we are in such a niche industry, we were able to position ourselves as a worldwide expert on the subject by now. We provide interesting thought and educational pieces on our own network but we also contribute to studies, publications and blogs in our industry. This not only increases our SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it also increases our credibility and the combination of the two strategies have proven very successful for us.
What were the biggest challenges when starting your own business in BC?
The time difference, our clients are all over the world because shared mobility is just starting in many markets. Luckily most of us are early birds and so we don’t have an issue taking calls early in the morning. Another challenge are international payments, the North American financial system to this date has not adopted the IBAN as a standard to do wire transfers. Most of our European clients can’t believe it when we tell them that they cannot use IBAN (and sometimes their banks cannot handle it easily).
What are the biggest opportunities in BC for a business like yours?
The City of Vancouver has been a city that has recognized the value of shared mobility to reduce vehicle ownership (and ease parking pressure in neighborhoods) early on and has supported the industry through their regulations. Modo, the local carshare cooperative, is celebrating their 20 year anniversary and for car2go it was their first Canadian market. It is to this date one of the most vibrant and progressive shared mobility markets and while we cannot give away the details, there will be more innovative projects coming out of this city by the end of 2017.
Last year we focused on building up our global reputation and so we decided to support only two carshare organizations: one in Dubai and one large Fortune 500 client. This year, we’re focusing on positioning ourselves as the shared mobility expert that creates the next generation of service. We have been fortunate to secure a few different clients at the same time that want to explore new business models and create new technology for these services. If the exploration phases go well and we’re successful building the product, you will see some new services in Vancouver at some point. Juggling multiple projects at the same time also means that we could hire our first full-time Business Analyst/Project Manager.
How could you benefit from the Swiss Canadian Chamber?
I’m a Swiss at heart and it is important for me to stay connected to my roots. The networking events organized by the Swiss Chamber always remind me that Swiss are very innovative, collaborative and focus on quality service. In addition to that, the SCCC has a special offer for extended medical benefits through Chambers insurance. As a small business it is not easy to tap into great extended health plans and as of last year, movmi is able to access an extended health plan.
What is always in your suitcase when you come back from a trip to Switzerland?
Three things: Chocolate, Birnel and Mibelle toothpaste.