Entrepreneurship, International

Drop a Gear or an Oar and get ready to go. How two young Spaniards revolutionised transport in Amsterdam.

The two young Spaniards who revolutionized transport in Amsterdam-right Gonzalo de Velasco (Founder of Movby)
The two young Spaniards who revolutionized transport in Amsterdam- Gonzalo de Velasco and Cofounder Enrique Crespo

Amsterdam is indeed a unique city in the world as it has a bike mayor and office. In the city of Amsterdam, there are more than 800,000 bikes, of which over 47% are not in use. Furthermore, there is an estimate of around 8000 recreational boats along its multiple canals. It was this fact from which the idea behind Movby stemmed. Movby is the app created by Spaniard Gonzalo de Velasco that connects unused modes of transport which are not in use by their owners to travelers and local neighbours that need transport to move in Amsterdam via a shared renting system. Movby follows a shared economy model that allows sharing bikes and boats to move through the Dutch capital for a reasonable price. These vehicles are the ones locals aren’t using and are spare. The entire operation is done easily via the phone or the web platform with a safe payment system and the transaction as well as the service is delivered directly to the customer.

Movby was considered to be “Real future game-changing idea” in Philips Innovation Awards 2017 in Rotterdam

With only a few months since inception, the project has had a great impact on the life of travelers from the local community. The project which Gonzalo de Velasco started in 2016 and to which later on Enrique Crespo joined, has grasped the attention of corporate and public institutions, amongst others in the Municipality of Amsterdam. During the past few months, the company has received interest and support from both corporate and public institutions. The platform has been active since February and hopes to scale to other cities in the near future.

What distinguishes Movby from the rest is the fact that other companies share only one mode of transport either a bike, a car, a boat or a scooter whereas at Movby you can connect with the local community and access that mode of transport which is most common within that community. Thus Movby provides the client with unique experiences so that the client can travel like a local.

When the company signed up for the Philips Innovation Award 2017 in Rotterdam, it outshined 600 different applications in the first round to the reach top 10 from 600 as it was considered to be “Real future game-changing idea”, thus adding a feather to their hat. They were then selected as official mobility curators within Amsterdam’s innovation platform and are currently being accelerated as well as consulted at the Impact Hub and Accenture which give them a great background.

What inspired Gonzalo to think outside the box was his observation when he was engaged in Airbnb in his house. He observed that everyone in Amsterdam was traveling  by bikes and many of these bikes were locked. These bikes he then realised have been unused by their owners and at the same time; all those traditional renting competitors made money. The people who owned these extra and unused rides were willing to share. On the other hand, there were locals and travellers who were willing to connect and share local and alternative means of transport. Movby became a platform where the neighbours and travellers could connect and share local travel experiences. Their mission and objective is to become Amsterdam’s a trusted shared mobility platform connecting travellers and locals to unused rides and make transportation more local friendly. Within Movby, bike prices are from 3.50 to 10 euros a day while boats are between 50- 200 for the entire day which makes Movby incredibly cost effective compared to traditional renting companies.

Movby lets you move like a local

‘The idea is connecting local owners in order to make an impact, by bringing the opportunity of generating an extra income while helping other people to move like a local. This is our strategy, offering travelers and locals of all the world the possibility of moving like a local anywhere you go”, explains Gonzalo de Velasco, founder and CEO of the company, and sums, ‘’in the previous research 53% of owners were willing to share their bikes within their community while close to 29% were willing to share their boat. And so it is, every day a few dozens of users join the community while around 5 rides are listed each week.”

Gonzalo claims that entrepreneurship is a roll coaster ride and hence ups and downs are a part and parcel of the growth process. The important thing, he says, is giving more importance to the good things and using all the knowledge gained from the bad ones.

Currently, Movby is centered in Amsterdam but their objective is to scale nationally, then to Europe and the rest of the world too. In order to put this idea to play, they are currently looking into the aspects of their funding and opening applications for equity and angel investors.The most satisfying thing as an entrepreneur to Gonzalo is the whole experience of learning the game, making it work and creating a change. This experience of working on an innovative idea like this is something only a few fortunate people can and hence he leaves no stone unturned to rock it!

The most satisfying thing as an entrepreneur to Gonzalo is the whole experience of learning the game, making it work and creating a change. This experience of working on an innovative idea like this is something only a few fortunate people can and hence he leaves no stone unturned to rock it!

His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to go ahead and start. In other words, the tale behind Movby is an inspiring tale for all budding aspirants in the startup ecosystem with an innovative idea to drop the gears on their ideas and get started!