Nowadays it is possible to run several businesses and one of them can be a vehicle sharing service. Amir Timo Marouf (in the picture on the left) is living proof of this. He is a dentist and runs the mobility company tretty in Münster, Germany.
Launch date: Spring of 2020
Country: Germany, Münster
Fleet: muscle-powered kick-scooters and bikes
Web page: https://www.tretty.de
App Store: https://apps.apple.com/de/app/tretty/id1509734922
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.tretty.app
Amir Timo Marouf founded the mobility company tretty together with Max Weldert. “It all started in school when we knew that one day we would do something together. What exactly was not yet clear back then,” Amir tells the story of how the company started. He says that he always had a passion for sharing, so he considered starting something around it. Max always has been and still is into mobility with the focus on muscle-powered vehicles. “So directly after my exam in dentistry, we took a trip with two lying bikes from Münster to Lisbon. We covered a distance of 2600 kilometers. During this time we more or less developed the whole idea around tretty, because we had a lot of time to think,” Amir remembers.
Motivation and passion
After getting back, Amir and Max set up a team. They found an accountant who took care of all the finances and an engineer. “When our engineer heard of the idea, he was fascinated. And we decided that in the beginning, we won't work for money. It was only motivation and passion that drove us further,” says Amir.
However, it was still not clear what vehicle should be used and whether people living in Münster want to have this service at all... “So we just started a crowdfunding campaign and set a very high target of EUR 50 000. This would be enough to buy 100 scooters. And we succeeded! And we even got 20% more financing,” Amir recalls.
In the crowdfunding announcement, the founders wrote that they will develop their own scooters. As they now had the money, there was pressure on them to do it. And it was only then that Max and Amir realized how big the project would actually be... But they did it!
Struggle with IT
The tretty engineer made a drawing on the basis of which the scooter is built from the scratch by tretty. The team found a manufacturer in the Czech Republic and did a lot just by doing. “In the beginning, I built a website using WordPress. You can learn everything nowadays from videos on the internet if you're motivated. Afterwards, we were very lucky to have two students on the team. They were both at university doing their Master's and they had both experiences in IT. They managed to build a website for the maintenance team,” says Amir.
Next step – the tretty team started to develop its own app. “We realized the importance of the time and also the fact that our business is not building IT solutions. We started to compare existing app developers, who offer white-label solutions. We compared all the big ones. But as we wanted to keep everything local, we hired a company that is focusing on car sharing without any experience in free- floating. It took a long time to register in the app and type in all the information required…” recalls Amir.
So at some point, tretty team decided to change the software provided and chose ATOM. Now with a new app, they are getting a significant amount of new users as the registration is a lot faster. That was one of the main reasons why they switched initially. “I'm also happy that ATOM is always open to optimizations and is ready to talk about alternatives,” says Amir.
Private and business clients, locals, and tourists
Users of the service are people living in Münster and around, including tourists. There are a lot of students in the city - around 60 000 of all the 314 000 people living there. And students are among the most active scooter users. The weather has a big impact - if it is appropriate for riding, the number of daily users increases.
tretty also has one private fleet in Münster, which is owned by a big insurance company. Right now, tretty is also currently discussing possible collaborations with other B2B partners. “There are two options available. We can set up the software for the partner and provide it with vehicles. Then they could use tretty brand and have a franchise. Or they can create their own brand,” explains Amir.
The team of tretty is considering different scenarios for expansion. However, Amir says that they still have some homework to do: “The focus is currently on Münster. As soon as we have validated we will consider expansion.”
And what is the plan for Amir? Let's not forget that he is also working as a dentist. “I think one of the main reasons why you can do more than one thing is the enormous speed of digitalization of everything. With a smartphone, you can answer emails from everywhere and even design things and build websites. I think this would not have been possible 10 years ago. It is, of course, tough to multi-task. Mondays are my tretty days. Before and after work as well as at weekends I do tretty. Then I try to schedule my time for my girlfriend and for myself. I'd say that a month or two ago it was really tough but now it’s starting to get better. I think the main reason why it works is that it comes from passion and not from pressure.”