[Startup story] Volvero | Rubik Garage Accelerator 2022 Batch
July 17, 2022
First of all, we would like to know who’s behind the keyboard.
Marco Filippi, CEO. Marco has a cross-sectoral education. He studied finance at Verona University and got his 2nd Master in Private Equity from the Luxembourgish Chamber of Commerce. He spent the first years of his career working for a Hedge Fund before starting his own startup, Volvero.
Thanks to the effort at Volvero, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and spent 6 months in London attending the Startup Leadership Program and 1 year in San Francisco, supporting Autotech VC and taking entrepreneurship classes at Stanford University. More recently, he was selected among 2500 candidates for the first ENI Corporate University Master in Sustainable Entrepreneurship.
Tell us more about Volvero. What problem do you solve? Who’s your audience?
Modern society is in need of new efficient transportation alternatives. Indeed, public transport is crowded, inflexible or absent, especially in extra-urban areas. At the same time, car rental services are rigid and expensive, thus people not owning a private vehicle are restricted from free movement. Still, car ownership is not feasible taking into account that society is facing a high underutilization of vehicles with cars not being used for 96% of the time occupying parking spaces and producing pollution. This includes corporations that own vehicles that could be monetized and car dealers that are looking for new business models as millennials are not interested in car purchasing. The problem, therefore, has three dimensions which are people in need of economic transportation for different needs, owners in need of reducing their vehicles’ costs, and the issue of overproduction and under usage of vehicles contributing to pollution and waste of resources.
By providing a marketplace, Volvero connects owners and drivers effectively bringing to use underutilized vehicles and providing an extensive range of efficient mobility possibilities to the drivers. Having this access to transportation enhances people’s wellbeing by giving them freedom of move, more possibilities, and eliminating social inequality. At the same time owners, both private and commercial, can significantly reduce their vehicles’ costs and make the ownership feasible. Car rentals and dealers have a chance to switch from the outworn business model to a profitable modern one.
With Volvero, fewer vehicles wander in the cities as each one is utilized more, raising the actual average use of them and favoring a fast turnover of old cars with newer fewer polluting ones. These factors entail a reduction in pollution, and traffic jams, reducing the need for urban spaces for parking areas, thus converting them into more useful and productive facilities.
What motivated you to create this startup? What’s your „why”?
Have you ever been in love? Well, our founder, Marco, was living far from his girlfriend and he needed to rent a car to visit her at the weekends since there were no feasible alternatives. Renting a car was not a trivial procedure as there are many friction points in car rental services such as the requirement for drivers to be older than 25, the need for a not electronic credit card issued by a trusted institution with at least 1500 $ ceiling, you need to queue, to book in advantage and to pay a lot of money. We thus started Volvero to simplify and innovate the whole user experience: we realized we could have affected, for real, people’s lives and have positively impacted environmental issues such as pollution and traffic jams.
How is your startup different from competitors?
Volvero is a game-changer in the market thanks to the technology innovation leaps. Volvero is the first startup that is leveraging advanced technologies matched with a car-sharing service. First of all, it offers an insurance policy that covers various types of vehicles (cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, vans, etc.) of private and commercial owners. Moreover, it uses technology for data analytics of drivers’ behaviors.
The software embedded in the app is based on data produced by the sensors of the mobile phones of drivers (GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer). It collects data while driving and performs data analytics (AI) to give scores to users and third parties reducing hazardous conducts of users through gamification by rewarding them with credits that can be spent in the partnership program. All data, contracts and insurances are stored in a distributed ledger (blockchain) allowing for improved data transparency, reliability and maximum security.
Do you have a team supporting you in your mission?
The team is composed of our original founder Marco, 2 co-founders plus 2 non-executive directors (shareholders) and 4 employees/interns. Given the mix of our backgrounds and expertise, we work very well together and as a team we are well balanced. We are able to cover the key aspects and facets to run a technology startup, spanning from general management, finance, product development, law and legal, software development and brand identity.
The encouragement and positivity we encompass within our multicultural environment allow us to make strides in our everyday proficiency as well as have mutual respect for one another. No role is too small, and every opinion is respected and treated as a source of innovation and the possibility to challenge the status quo. Above all, we love what we do, and we’re encouraged every day to make the world a better place with transparency that starts with one another and funnels into Volvero’s overall culture and mission as a company. We believe that transportation and mobility solutions need to be changed for the future of our planet and Volvero’s team has the right energy and commitment to do it!
What are the biggest rewards of being a startup founder?
Creating something new in the world that does not exist yet. Providing people with innovative, better and easier solutions to their needs.
On the contrary, what are the biggest challenges?
We are pioneers, hence it’s quite difficult to understand where the edges are in what we do, and we have to work and carry on activities under many assumptions. Sometimes even laws and regulations are not updated thus making everything even harder and throwing more uncertainty on what we do.
What made you apply to our accelerator Rubik Garage?
We believe at Rubik Hub we could meet exceptional mentors and advisors. We wanted to improve our execution by working with them. We also wanted to learn from their experience, understand what’s the reason behind their success and if they have failed once, why did it happen; to avoid committing the same mistakes.
What are your top 3 learnings of the acceleration program?
The importance of the community and how the Romanian ecosystem is constantly growing.
What are your plans for Volvero for the next 6-12 months?
Growing the company in Italy, reaching a national scale with 6000 active users and getting ready for international expansion.
What message do you have for other startup founders?
Do not give up: never ever. If it was easy, everybody would do that.
What is your special power?
The commitment of the founders and the incredible team and its multiculturalism.
Stay tuned to discover the story behind the other startups from the Rubik Garage accelerator! #WeAreInThisTogether
Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE. We are helping early-stage startups get to their first paying customer, raise investment or go international.
The accelerator started with a Founders Bootcamp in Piatra Neamt. Four months of acceleration will culminate with a Demo Day in September, where startups get the chance to pitch their startup in front of investors. For the most motivated teams, the journey will continue in the next 6-12 months – our team will offer their full support to help them raise an investment round.
If you want to pre-apply for the next Rubik Garage edition, complete this form and be the first one to get the chance of starting their acceleration journey!