Interview with Marco Filippi, CEO of Volvero

Interview with Marco Filippi, CEO of Volvero

By Rosy Chianese

Interview with Marco Filippi, CEO of Volvero, the startup that deals with vehicle sharing and that allows people and companies to share their personal vehicles.

Car sharing, literally car sharing, is a short-term car rental service that allows you to book a car via app, directly from your smartphone. Car sharing offers the possibility to save on the costs of the car, and at the same time to move easily around the city. The popularity of car sharing services is increasing yearly, with more and more people relying on the solution which to save money and to make a greener choice. 

Volvero takes it one step forward, offering vehicle sharing: one can choose among all kinds of vehicles. Moreover, if you own a vehicle, you can share it on the app and recover your ownership costs.  If you are interested in a simple, reliable and innovative for your mobility needs, it’s time to discover Volvero!

What is volvero?

Volvero is the startup that developed a vehicle sharing app, which connects owners and drivers in a simple, reliable and innovative way. Volvero makes it easy and fast to discover and book all sorts of vehicles. You can choose between cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles and much more. Thanks to the Volvero app, you can have instant access to a vehicle in a safe and efficient way, saving time and money. 

Through the use of smart contracts, Volvero offers an insurance that will be activated instantly for every rental, covering drivers and all types of vehicles during the entire sharing period. What is more, unlike other rental services, Volvero does not impose any geographical or time limit.

You can learn more by reading the interview with Marco Filippi, CEO of Volvero.

Hi Marco, it’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your time. Tell us something more about Volvero. How and when was the idea of Volvero born?

Have you ever been in love? Well, our founder, Marco, was living far from his girlfriend and he needed to rent a car for visiting her at the weekends since there were no feasible alternatives. It was early in 2015, on a winter day in February.

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 did you launch your company? Did you use crowdfunding campaigns?

No. Doing a crowdfunding campaign is something very complicated and should not be used for raising early funding in a technology startup. It works well when it is about products that are easy to be deployed on the market but not for capital intensive technology marketplaces. Founders with no or little experience often think that it suffices to tell a nice story to a wide audience to collect capital from a crowdfunding campaign but in fact, that might not be any further from the truth. We started with some founders’ money and then raised a small preseed round from Impact Hub Milano. Soon after that investment, a business angel followed with some capital injection and the wheel began to turn.  

What does Volvero offer compared to its reference market?

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’ behaviours. 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 the hazardous conduct 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.

How does the vehicle sharing service work?

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 well-being by giving them freedom of moving, 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 favouring 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. The user experience of Volvero is made with people in mind, we sought to take away all the frustrating aspects of a vehicle rental to one that eliminated long waiting times, endless paperwork and diminished the number of requirements. Mobility is a part of everyday life, and thus should facilitate it and not create more obstacles. 

Our users have to download the app, fill in their credentials and sign up, once verified by Volvero, they are able to see the surrounding vehicles available for rental with the proposed rates. By clicking on the vehicle of choice, users can see all the specifications of the car from the number of seats to what fuel the car runs on, to additional features specific to that vehicle such as transmission. Through this, we grant our users the comfort of a simple process while also giving them the power of choice. If one wants to share their vehicle, they can upload it on the app along with relevant documents and set any price they want. Driver and Owner can communicate via the chat on the app to agree on pick-up, drop-off and any other conditions to make the sharing process as efficient as possible.

What are your plans for the future?

While Volvero has made considerable progress since its founding, we are even more excited for what is to come in the future. Our plans for the future are ambitious and depend upon increasing our market share and growing our international presence. We plan to do this through a pilot in Padova, while we have already done our first international pilot in Brussels,  thanks to our victory in the RAPTOR challenge funded by EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The challenge had an aim to find a mobility solution for the Tour&Taxis mixed real estate development close to Brussels North train station. Tour & Taxis is an upbeat inclusive environment featuring everything from accommodation to leisure facilities, and we werehappy to complement this next-generation neighbourhood with a modern mobility solution. After we saw a succes in Brussels, we will move on with Padova, we will after expand to the Veneto region and proceed with consolidation in Italy.  Thanks to the all-digital solution, a strong network, and an international team, Volvero’s business model can be repeated and scaled in the new markets in a short period of time with minimum adjustments, which makes us different from most of our competitors. Thanks to this advantage, by the end of the year, we are planning to pilot our app in 2 additional EU countries, where we have already established some partnerships with local businesses and municipalities, who are looking to improve the mobility scenery around them. Based on our research, we see a demand for such a product as Volvero in those countries as well as promising prospects for growth.

Known fact:  Would you like to tell us about the final choice of the name?

The name has a long and funny story. In the very early days, the app was called WEGO.  We soon realized that WEGO would not be a successful brand because there were already many projects in the mobility industry with the same or similar names. And WEGO was also widely used by marketing agencies and travel agencies, so every single euro spent on its brand awareness and SEO would have been thrown away.  We had to find something new, fresh and memorable. 

We came together (ed. the founders) with a list of words and started selecting the best proposals. The heads up ended up with Volvere as one of the best options. Volvere indeed derives from Latin and it means “to come back”. It was perfect for our shared economy service in which trust among users is essential and it’s the most relevant feature that we offer if compared to our competitors in the US. So after a bit of brainstorming, we found out that the domain was available and.. here it is. We immediately registered the brand and purchased the domain and since then users and communities all over the world recognize the value of our brand. What could be better than a Latin word for a startup that was born in Italy? 


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