5 Questions to Olivier Kofler, CEO of Carvolution

Olivier Kofler is the CEO of Carvolution, a startup that provides cars as a service including insurance, taxes and maintenance. Before Carvolution, Olivier was responsible for driving digital innovation at PWC. He is also the founder of digital businesses like iBROWS, a digital experience agency, and bexio, a software company for small and medium enterprises.

Could you explain the value proposition of Carvolution including the customer pain points it addresses?

We deliver the car to your door completely ready to drive, registration and insurance included.

Since we offer only a limited set of pre-configured car models, we can buy cars at large volumes and leverage economies of scale. This allows us to offer attractive price models. Obviously, our offering is not for car freaks, it targets people who see a car as a means of transport — and those people are typically okay with a limited set of options to choose from.

Which additional challenges, compared to Software as a Service (SaaS), does offering a physical good as a service have?

Behind the scenes, our business is highly complex and relies heavily on data and algorithms to forecast demand correctly and manage all the involved parties successfully.

Compared to SaaS, it is much more challenging to scale in our case. At all times, our logistics pipeline must be kept in balance with regards to demand and supply. SaaS companies can easily scale up or down when there are changes in demand: they can simply spin up or down cloud infrastructure from one of public cloud providers within minutes, while only paying for their actual consumption. In our case, purchasing additional cars takes time — and mistakes can become expensive due to the high unit price of vehicles.

Behind the scenes, our business is highly complex and relies heavily on data and algorithms to forecast demand correctly and manage all the involved parties successfully.

A business such as Carvolution certainly requires a collaboration with various partners from different industries. Could you explain the key success factors in identifying, establishing and managing such partnerships?

We assume that there will eventually be one big player on the car as a service market.

We assume that there will eventually be one big player on the car as a service market — and partnerships will be crucial to determine who this will be. We are confident: Since we started early, we were able to establish very solid partnerships.

Carvolution’s customer feedback is an outstanding 4.9 out of 5 stars on Google. When it comes to customer satisfaction, what is your business philosophy and what are you not willing to compromise?

It is well invested money to make our customers happy because each one of them may convince other people to become a new customer.

This third way is our most important channel because it can scale without limits and does not cost a lot. Hence, we prefer spending a bit less money for marketing and invest it into customer satisfaction instead. It is well invested money to make our customers happy because each one of them may convince other people to become a new customer. Customer satisfaction is in our culture, each of our employees wants to make our customers happy.

Looking 10 years into the future, how do you think passenger traffic will have evolved?

We believe that less than 50% of all people will want to own a car 10 years from now.

One might argue that the future of car as a service lies in autonomous cabs as they could achieve a much higher degree of capacity utilization. However, I do not believe that completely autonomous cars will be widespread in ten years due to the various technical, legal and regulatory challenges that still have to be solved. Also, people might still want to have their “own” car because they don’t have to remove all their personal items after each drive.

Since navigation through airspace is much easier than navigation on the ground, I would even expect autonomous drones to become available for passenger transport before autonomous cars. However, at least in ten years from now, I expect them still to be less widespread than cars. Ground-based vehicles will still be most widespread means of passenger transport for quite a while — be it manually controlled, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous.

Olivier, it was really exciting to learn more about Carvolution. Thank you very much.

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