Christian Siewek (MD), Lukas Weber (CTO), and Andreas Schneider (MD) © Nils Lucas
What inspired you to found your startup?
During a research project at the University of St. Gallen on behalf of a German car manufacturer, the founders realised that the industry is facing a digital “fleet dilemma.” Almost every fleet consists of cars from different brands, meaning that a digital solution would inevitably have to work across all manufacturers – a challenge that seems hard to solve. With their OBD hardware Vimcar offers a universal add-on that can be plugged into the car’s diagnostic port regardless of the car’s make.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
Our customers’ success is our success. Only when we know that we are solving real problems for our customers, we consider Vimcar to be successful. – Whatever that may entail is secondary. Every department at Vimcar is primarily focused on assisting our customers in any way possible: Not only customer service, but every team from product and development to marketing and sales.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
Don’t underestimate what HR can do for your startup. It’s an enormous lever. – Getting the right people on board quickly and early on makes all the difference.
What problem does your product solve?
In comparison to other fleet management software on the market, Vimcar comes with a consumer-grade user experience: very simple screens and interactions make it extremely easy to use – which seems especially interesting for the underserved SMB market with its high potential for growth. The common fleet management software providers cater towards enterprises with larger carpools, and are therefore not fitting for the needs of a smaller business with ten cars, for example.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
Our goal is that within 10 years, every small to medium-sized business uses Vimcar’s software to manage their carpool. Over the next few years, mobility is going to fundamentally change due to the rise of autonomous driving, electric cars, and shared mobility, for example. Companies will still have to manage their fleets, however. Vimcar aims to be the solution for this problem and ultimately automate the majority of administrative processes.
How are you different?
Not only the easy-to-use interface, but also the consumer-grade plug&play technology prove that Vimcar is designed with the customer in mind. Thanks to our proactive product design, customers learn intuitively how to use our software and do not get frustrated by confusing features. This is crucial for reaching SMBs effectively, which would not have the time and energy to familiarise themselves with overly-complicated technology.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
Ideally, Vimcar is doing the majority of the work in the background. The only thing for the user left to do is, for example, to categorize an automatically logged trip. Constantly checking the app is not necessary. Vimcar will notify the customer when an action is required.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
Many companies with small fleets do not have a full-time fleet manager. In the end, it’s often HR or the management looking after the carpool. Vimcar wants to make the lives of those involuntary part-time fleet managers easier. With mileage logging, Vimcar also helps small businesses to save thousands in hard-earned cash that they would otherwise would have to spend on taxes. This way, they can really focus on their business.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
Vimcar has only been in Berlin for a few years, so it’s difficult to provide an in-depth answer. However, the scene appears to be growing up and getting more innovative. There are less business models that we have seen before now. Instead, there seem to be more tech and product driven businesses that think outside the box.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
Berlin as a city is a huge pull factor for applicants while still being affordable. But not only that. – Clients, investors, suppliers, other startups: Berlin has it all and is superb for networking. Having a vibrant scene here also forces you to reflect on your own business constantly. That way, you are less likely to make the same mistake that another startup has already made.
Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?
Within the last year alone, Vimcar has grown by 300% in size. We are still growing and because of that, we are currently looking for bright minds to join our team in nearly every department. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Vimcar was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.