Last week Katis’s and mine coworking travel brought us to Barcelona, just in time to be eyewitnesses of peer-to-peer car rental startup Drivy‘s launch in Spain. We took the chance to talk with Drivy’s Spain Country Manager Jaume Suñol about the launch, the collaborative economy and why I only meeting Drivy officials in coworking spaces.
Tobias Schwarz (TS): You’re Drivy’s Country Manager in Spain. Drivy launched at the end of July in Barcelona. How is it?
Jaume Suñol (JS): We are very excited because we are launching in Barcelona. It’s a beta, a public beta, so we started registering cars some days ago and on July 28 we opened the platform so now we are allowing rentals and people can start doing rental requests. It’s very exciting because we already have twentyfive cars. So far we are onboarding the owners, explaining them the service, how to have great pictures and having all the listing in a good shape for the drivers that are interested. And we have started seeing the first rental requests and payments as well. It’s very exciting.
TS: Spain is the third country where Drivy launched, after France and Germany. What is carsharing in Spain like? What is the status quo at the moment?
JS: Well, right now we are the third company that is on the peer-to-peer car rental market here in Spain. Carsharing, especially ridesharing, is known for companies like BlaBlaCar and also the collaborative consumption is also known for companies like Airbnb, which everybody knows. We think it is a country that’s really interested in collaborative economy and platforms that allow you to basically have a more intelligent use of the different services.
What is very interesting about Spain is that we have 22 million cars, from which 93 percent are parked most of the time. If we can help the owners to reduce the car expenses with a platform like ours, and allow people to have a car for a weekend getaway, we would do a good thing.
It is interesting as well because in big cities, especially in Madrid and Barcelona, young people don’t think about car ownership as a need. They see it more for occasional use and they typically like other services. So we are entering a space that is very interesting for people who decided not to have a car in the city and can now get one to go on holiday or a weekend getaway.
TS: Some days ago I was in the Barcelona office of the Webpilots and a colleague of mine told me that Spain is THE smartphone country. Mobile is very big here. Did this influence your strategy? Is your app very important for Drivy or is it still the website?
JS: Absolutely, and we think this is one of the key things about this new generation, because in Spain we have a high penetration of mobile technologies and smartphone usage. So all those people that are keen to use technology, apps, web services, are the people we are targeting and basically having this big penetration of technology allows us to be very close to the people who need our services. That’s why it is very, very important that the website and the mobile apps are in the best shape possible.
And there are some interesting news coming for Drivy like the rental agreement or the rental contract that are now digital, so you don’t need to print it on paper and you can read it from your mobile phone. This started in France a few months ago and very soon we hope to have it here and in Germany as well. At the moment we are finishing the paper contracts.
TS: When I talked to Paulin Dementhon, he was very proud of the insurance model in Germany. How is it in Spain? How does it work to insure my car here?
JS: We have an agreement with Allianz, it’s a similar agreement to Allianz in France, and also in Germany. If you own a car you have your own insurance, but Drivy offers a special insurance that Allianz designed for the rentals and this means that this insurance replaces your insurance or the insurance of the car during the days of the rental. It took one year to negotiate it in France initially and we have a lot of experience after five years dealing with all the corner cases, so we are very happy to have this partnership with Allianz to provide our full insurance for car owners and basically roadside assistance 24/7.
TS: Jaume, you’re from Spain but you’re working for a French startup. Is there a difference compared with Spanish companies? Did you notice something that is different and what it’s like to work for a French startup in Spain? How do the other startups look at you?
JS: It’s a very interesting question because I was working at a startup that was based in Palo Alto before starting at Drivy. I’ve seen the attitude of the US people, also of people here in Spain, in France and my former colleagues in Germany as well. I think it’s more about the mindset of a startup: It doesn’t matter where you work, when you have the mindset of working at a startup. I think it’s international. You can feel this at the coworking space we are right now – at Talent Garden – where everybody is super focused and they have the right attitude. It happens that on other companies or bigger companies you don’t feel like this. Especially in Spain there is a lot of people who still don’t get this way of working, but I think that the difference between countries in terms of startups is not that big. It’s more about this mindset. If you have it you can work everywhere in the world.
TS: I went to the Drivy office in Berlin and it is in a coworking space, too. Is coworking something that is important to Drivy? Is there an advantage of being in a coworking space?
JS: It’s basically a convenient space. In Barcelona there are not many coworking spaces that are big and Talent Garden is very nice and has the smart feeling atmosphere that we need. We will be growing the team to three or five people by the end of the year, so we’re not big enough for an own office. It’s not that Drivy likes coworking, it’s more that for us it’s perfect right now.
TS: Thank you for the interview.
There is a German version of the interview on Netzpiloten.de.