Cleantech Disruptors — An interview with Mathieu de Lophem, CEO of Skipr
Cleantech Disruptors is a series of interviews showcasing innovative cleantech startups, who through the development of disruptive technologies are changing the future.
Skipr is a professional mobility SaaS platform, allowing companies to offer employees access to alternative mobility through an app; they can plan, book and pay for their journeys by combining their own, public and shared transport options! They are Belgium based, an EUSP Top 10 mobility start-up and about to start making their mark on Paris.
Mathieu started his career in finance as an M&A Banker and then in Private Equity. In 2015 he went on to open Deliveroo in Belgium as their General Manager, after seeing a friend’s post on Facebook about the opportunity to launch a startup, and as they say the rest is history! After taking over all of Benelux, in 2019 he took the leap to become the CEO of Skipr and began his quest to tackle the many problems of mobility.
Let’s talk about Skipr…
Skipr was originally a B2C business, similar to Citymapper but you could book and pay for travel in the app, so going further in the value chain of a MaaS platform. The opportunity in this area wasn’t growing as fast as hoped, and at the same time several countries introduced new laws to allow companies to give their employees budget to move around.
Once 3 or 4 companies had signed up we pivoted the business from MaaS to Mobility SaaS. The MaaS platform is still certainly an element of the platform but it is now much larger than that. We integrate with a huge number of mobility companies, and we’re actually the only app in the world where you can book and pay for your trip on Bird without needing to leave our app! We have developed various other aspects of the platform including a payment card, allowing us to accelerate expansion and open new markets outside of Belgium. We now also have a web tool that allows companies to fit Skipr to their company policies and cap employee spending inline with their role or seniority.
So how did you end up moving from Deliveroo to Skipr?
Well food and mobility are actually fairly similar — we’ve got to eat, and we’ve got to move!
Skipr allowed me to take my start-up experience and use it for a great cause both ecologically and economically. So many cars are stuck in traffic causing pollution and owning a car in a city is becoming economically less sound. It’s often the 2nd largest spend for a family, yet 95% of the time it’s parked — rather than spending so much on something that’s used only 5% of the time, that budget can be reallocated. Now is the time to change and we have the power to determine if that change goes really right or really wrong — let’s make sure it goes really right.
What was the inspiration for the business / idea?
Skipr was incubated by a startup studio belonging to the Belgian automotive group D’Ieteren, the exclusive importer, vendor and leaser of VW in Belgium. In a very smart move, they created the start-up studio to disrupt the mobility industry from within, and 7 exciting mobility startups have now launched. They take an idea, build an MVP, hire a management team, and spin it off and so it came about that I joined Skipr in January to scale the business.
Which industry are you disrupting and how?
The car industry, but we aren’t fighting against cars, just against people alone in cars! We want to avoid seeing people alone in cars where a more ecologically and economically reasonable alternative exists.
We commercially launched the B2B platform in January and we had 20 customers within 3 months including companies as big as Accenture and Carrefour. Of course, Covid has slowed this down but we are really excited to have 15 new companies joining us in September.
What has felt like the biggest success so far?
I’d have to say the first paying customer! Ideas are amazing, but they are only really worth something when you have product market fit; you know you are getting there when someone is willing to pay for your product.
We have 2 main priorities; firstly, to further develop the product to fit people’s needs, making sure what we create adds value to our users. Secondly, expansion — France next and you’ll have to be patient to see what’s coming after that.
Our main aim is to become the number one platform for employee mobility, and to change mobility behaviour across all of Europe is the dream!
Find out more about brightsmith and Skipr below.
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