MotionLab.Berlin – Hardware Innovation Hub & Makerspace

Velofracht – talking hardware

Velofracht-talking hardware
Give us your 30 seconds elevator pitch. What is it that you are working on? And who are the masterminds behind your company?

We are a body builder for cargo bikes. That means, we build standard and custom setups on top of cargo bikes so they can be used by companies. Nico is our mastermind, he knows the cargo bike scene inside and out since he started building his master project, the eight-wheeled, solar-powered cargo bike “8rad”:

8rad

He met me, Jonas, founder and CEO of a software company, eight years ago at the group “Cargobikefans Berlin”. At the beginning of 2020, we joined forces and founded the Velofracht GmbH.

How did you find each other (cofounders) and what was the final moment, when you decided you’re going to found a company together?

We know each other since about eight years when the cargobike-scene was still very small in Berlin. Nico started building cargo bike setups on the side and the business side was getting to be too much for one person. When discussing the structure of the company with Jonas, the idea of doing it together was born.

Why did you decide to start working on a hardware idea?

NICO: We had a small fun-project which is ‚Cargoli‘ wooden cargobike toys for kids. it‘s still running and it was our first contact with business and serial production.
JONAS: I’ve been working with computers since age 14 and for a long time now I wanted to be a part of
getting “real” products into the world. Also, I love cargo bikes!

Why did you choose the city of Berlin to found a company? Do you think the city has an impact of how successful your project will be?

We’ve both lived in Berlin for a long time so it was the natural place for our company. However,
cargobikes are currently produced everywhere, in the countryside or on Danish islands.

If you could have one additional skill in your team, who would get it, what would it be and why?

We cover all we need and Berlin offers good conditions to cover assembling peaks or punctual special
needs.

What do you want to achieve with your startup apart from getting money and fame? 😉

We want to change the car-oriented society to a bicycle-oriented one.

What was your biggest fuck up during your startup career? A client cancelled after our sketch mentioning that he found someone else who will build this sketch for half the price.

JONAS: I made enough bad decisions in my career as a founder that I could build a house with the
money I could have had now. However, those decisions are part of the journey and I wouldn’t call them
fuckups. You always make the best decision that is possible as the person you are and with the
knowledge you have at that moment.

velofracht II
Which is the part of running a startup, that scares you the most and which is most fun?

NICO: loosing money, getting cargobikes on the road!
JONAS: Scary: Durchgriffshaftung. Fun: Seeing our products out on the streets!

Would you rather have one real get out of jail free card or a key that opens any door?

NICO: None. It‘s one life and one has to make the decisions. I dont want to give up this responsibility
for myself.
JONAS: A key that opens any door sounds like a “get of ouf jail” card to me!

When was the last time you really celebrated a success and what was it about?

NICO: A lock that closed so smoothely.
JONAS: As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to forget to celebrate because every success is only a step
toward the next problem to be solved. And since it’s so easy to forget, I tend to undercelebrate.

If you could change your life with every person in the world right now - would you do it? And if yes, with whom?

NICO:No one. If, I would have to change something.
JONAS: I’m also very happy with who I am.

Why are you at MotionLab.Berlin?

Network, machines, services.

Would you rather have the skills to see 10 minutes into your future or to reset what happened in the last 10 minutes?

NICO: Again none.
JONAS: Ask me after my second glass of wine.

velofracht
What is your favorite song, that motivates you and brings you through a tough working day?

NICO: Hanatarash – cock victory
JONAS: I haven’t been able to work while listening to music for over a decade.

What is the current status quo of your company?

Growing

Are you currently looking for something specific? Investors, specific knowledge or positions?

Another person for the workshop

If the 14 year old you would read this interview, what is the one thing you want him/her to know?

NICO: Trust yourself, follow your ideas.
JONAS: Know thyself.

Who is probably the proudest person in your circle of what you have achieved in the last years?

NICO: Don‘t know.
JONAS: My mum?

When was the last time you got really sick of what you are doing and why?

NICO: If work gets too much and there‘s too little time for more in life.
JONAS: Way too often and mostly because I spend too much time at the computer. It helps to get back into the workshop or on the phone with an actual person.

If someone invested 1 million euro in your startup tomorrow, what would you use the money for?

Development and Sales.

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