5th of July 2022, by Enroute
To start our “Interview with…” section we have of course chosen a very special guest at the beginning. None other than the Co-Founder and CEO of Enroute himself, Aviv Frenkel. In my interview with him you will learn more about the founding of Enroute including secret insights into the future of the company.
How did you come up with the idea of founding Enroute back then?
When we started brainstorming about Enroute, everybody was talking about self-driving cars, I read a research by Morgan Stanely that said that the self-driving car revolution will create a new currency which is free time. It actually stated that the AV revolution will create 600 billion hours free for people to do lots of things. And one thing people already do with their free time in mobility is online shopping, in the UK 20% of all online shopping occurs when people have their morning commute between 7-9 am. That was the A-Ha moment. What if we could create this win-win-win model were passengers, mobility operators, and retailers all gain from a single platform that allows passengers to ride for free as they shop?
What fascinates you about the mobility industry?
I love cars. When I was 2.5 years old, I recognized all the car brands that were on the road. When I got older I wanted to be part of this industry, and that is what gave me the inspiration to imagine the future of mobility when Sagi and I decided to found our first startup.
Do you think autonomous vehicles are the future?
I’m a big believer in AVs. Not sure when will the technology be ripe, and when will the regulation allow for people to jump on a robo-taxi, but in the meantime we believe that every morning millions of people use “self-driving cars” with a driver, when people take a train, a bus or a taxi, they don’t drive by themselves, and that’s a huge market as it is. There are 8 billion people in the world but only 1 billion cars, the rest are using mass and shared transport and that’s our current market.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the commuting behavior of the population / the mobility industry. How did Enroute deal with it?
It’s not a secret that amid COVID-19, the mobility industry is facing a dramatic decline in ridership and revenues, but for us, this is actually a huge opportunity. Mobility operators need to diversify their business model. That is exactly what we’re offering our mobility partners, a way to increase revenues, loyalty, and retention.
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Wow, big question. To be honest I can say that becoming an entrepreneur is a humbling experience. My recent job was on Israeli national TV, I was covering tech and automotive for the main news show, and when you’re a TV journalist, people reach out to you constantly to tell their story. When you start building a startup you basically start from nothing, you need to reach out to clients, partners, investors, and talent. You need to “sell” your vision and fight for their attention. So there are many low points in this journey, but when you succeed, that’s the most rewarding feeling you could ever have. Actually, turning your vision and building a product people love and use daily.
What exciting projects can Enroute’s customers look forward to in the future?
I cannot disclose all the exciting projects we’re working on, but let me give you a hint, aside from building Enroute for new mobility operators in new markets and territories, we are working on something huge in the EV market. This is extremely exciting because this is not only a growing new market, but it will allow us to promote sustainable mobility.