An Interview with Quinten Selhorst, CEO of felyx

We recently travelled to Amsterdam to interview the CEO of felyx, Quinten Selhorst. When we showed up in the Dutch capital on a typically gray and drizzly morning, the first thing we noticed was how few cars are driving around downtown. In this city, two-wheeled vehicles rule the road.

Hi Quinten, thanks for having me. Let’s start with the basics: What inspired felyx?

If you look at vehicle specifics, electric scooters are a very efficient way of travelling around large towns. It’s a great way to travel with two people, it’s fast and it can easily manoeuvre through traffic and small side streets.

We were hooked on the idea of starting our own e-scooter sharing company. We took several months to work out a business case while we were still working at our consulting jobs. Then around April 2016, we decided to quit our jobs and work full-time on bringing the idea to market — or, if the idea was too implausible, not pursue it any further. But we actually did it! One year later, we got our first 108 electric mopeds on the road here in Amsterdam. They’re still riding around the streets today.

So when you guys started out, there were no other competitors doing what you did?

How times have changed. With so many fish in the shared mobility sea, what makes felyx different from other e-moped sharing services across Europe?

Secondly: it really all boils down to having the best unit economics. If we compare ourselves to others, it’s our quickness and the amount of scale — that is to say, how often each of our scooters is being used — and our business intelligence that really sets us apart. I think we’re doing an excellent job of distinguishing ourselves amongst competitors.

Out of all of Wunder Mobility’s clients, felyx has seen the highest growth in terms of rides taken on our platform! What’s your secret?

Doing the right analysis and thereby being able to predict market developments with a particular amount of certainty allowed us to get a lot of new riders onto our scooters. That’s definitely one of the key drivers of our success.

What about the future — do you have any big plans coming up?

E-kickscooters are generating both positive and negative press right now. Do you understand the hype, or do you think e-mopeds can succeed where kickscooters might fail?

In terms of e-kickscooters vs. e-mopeds, I think that both vehicle types can live together in harmony. They fulfil a very different kind of demand for customers. What I see as being problematic currently, however, is that it’s very difficult to pinpoint who the last rider of a vehicle was. Kickscooters are very lightweight and not locked to anything, making it very hard for operators to know if the customer is responsible for any wrongdoing (like bad parking or damages) or if it’s the fault of somebody else — that contributes to the bad reputation of kickscooters have.

With mopeds, however, it’s actually more comparable to car sharing. When you see a moped parked somewhere, there’s a high degree of certainty that the last customer who rode the moped parked it there. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard for the average person to lift a 100-kilogram scooter on their own! Due to that fact, we’ve found that the parking behaviour of our customers is actually better than people who park their own personal, gasoline scooters.

There’s also the fact that drivers licenses have to be verified — there’s a lot more responsibility (and pressure!) that goes along with that. At the same time, there’s also the sustainability question. I’m very much in favour of electrifying as much as possible, don’t get me wrong. But we have a responsibility as operators to think about the lifetime of our vehicles. I do understand that kickscooters are being improved upon every generation, but I still believe the lifetime needs to span around 4 to 6 years to actually have a sustainable impact.

Of course, safety is an issue as well. Moped drivers are higher off the ground and have to wear helmets, the latter of which scooter riders don’t have to do (but probably should).

Let’s talk about felyx and Wunder. What made felyx decide to choose Wunder Mobility as your software provider?

The second reason is flexibility. We have a lot of requests that can easily be incorporated into the platform by Wunder Fleet. This close collaboration is also a major part of why our scooter sharing system was so successful, and that’s why we chose Wunder Fleet to be our software provider. It’s very nice to be able to trust the high-value partnership we have with Wunder.

Are there any moments you’ve lived during your journey with felyx that you’re particularly proud of?

We’re also happy to have grown our team incredibly quickly. We created a highly efficient, highly scalable company with a great culture. Sometimes, when companies grow fast, it’s hard to preserve a positive and friendly culture, but that’s something we’ve managed to retain since our start.

And finally: in only just over two years time, we were able to put more than 1200 electric scooters on the road and stopped a huge amount of CO2 from being emitted in the process. That’s ultimately what we’re here to do: we want to improve the quality of life in cities. We’re an active part of the change. Being able to see the impact we’ve made on city life in the past two years is something I’m truly proud of.

Last question: do you have any customer testimonials or any funny stories you’d like to share?

We have our war stories, too. During the first pilot of felyx, Maarten (co-founder)and I deliberately chose to swap out the batteries of our fleet ourselves. That allowed us to fully understand the logistics of the battery swapping process and optimize it in the future. Since we were swapping batteries at night and running the business during the day, we slept maybe three hours a night for eight weeks straight. It was intense, but it also taught us some important lessons that we still implement today!

Read in our next article, how our client Blue Duck is expanding their business by bringing micromobility across the Southern U.S in spite of the COVID pandemic in 2021.

Marketer. Mobility enthusiast. Sky diver. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nimish-patil/