“Software alone is not going to change congestion in cities, nor pollution problems.”
In todays TALKING HARDWARE episode, we are featuring ONO, our longest member and the masterminds, behind the stylish Pedal Assisted Transporter ONO, which you’ve probably seen on Berlins streets before.
I am happy that Vieran Hodko, Head of Brand Development & Partnerships at ONO, had the time to answer our questions.
Have fun reading and leave a comment if you have feedback or questions.
Give us your 30 seconds elevator pitch. What is it that you are working on? And who are the masterminds behind your company?
ONO aims to create new and purposeful solutions that better our communities and inspire
people around the world to transform urban mobility.
ONO empowers its team to create and implement these needed innovations that connect
communities, businesses, and individuals. We offer a whole new category of urban vehicles,
starting with the ONO Pedal Assisted Transporter, built with and for the customer, for
maximum efficiency and enjoyment. We are producing a delivery cargobike like nothing out
there using design, quality and ergonomics people are accustomed to from the auto industry.
This will lead to the ability perform urban deliveries with greater speed, capacity and less
barriers than before- all while reducing operations cost by 20% or more.
How did you ONOs cofounders find each other and what was the final moment, when they decided to found a company together?
It was through a previous venture. Beres and Murat met while Murat helped bring MIA, a
small electric vehicle to market. Beres was importing the vehicle to Germany and they
became close, often debating the future of mobility together. Philipp joined that venture too.
When the questioned the future of mobility and realized that it did not have to be a car,
everything (rules , regulations) changed.
Why did you decide to start working on a hardware idea?
Because software alone is not going to change congestion in cities, nor pollution problems.
In the case of deliveries, the software and services available has improved dramatically. But
the methods to delivery goods had not really changed in decades. So we decided to change
that. We used methods that are normally reserved for the car industry and applied them to
the cargobike segment with the ambition to create a better build quality, greater reliability
and a more enjoyable driver experience.
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?
Berlin provides some of the better conditions for hiring talent, especially in mobility. There are interesting innovation labs, different mobility providers and services.
If you could have one additional skill in your team, who would get it, what would it be and why?
Tough question. We have a really solid pack now. accounting is always a hassle when
dealing with grants and different programs.
What do you want to achieve with ONO?
We want people to understand that convenience (ecommerce) has a cost.. in the form of
traffic and pollution. But at the same time, that there are cleaner and greener ways to deliver,
which over time become cheaper and faster than vans.
What was your biggest fuck up during your startup career?
Thankfully none that were that bad. We had issues finding offices for a long time as finding a space that offers work/prototyping areas at ground level and traditional offices is hard to come by. We once had an office that did not have a need to sign a long term lease. We got kicked out with a months notice. At that point, MotionLab.Berlin was just starting and available (thankfully).
Which is the part of running a startup, that scares you the most and which is most fun?
Instability can scare off a lot of people, especially in the first part. There is also a critical point between seed funding and series A/ market entry. There is no school nor advice that can teach you this. You have to go through it.
Would you rather have one real get out of jail free card or a key that opens any door?
Both 😉 … but neither exist yet. Maybe that’s a startup idea!
When was the last time you really celebrated a success and what was it about?
We tend to celebrate small victories: hires, birthdays. We were able to raise significant
funds during Covid but have not celebrated that really. A lot of other people and companies are struggling right now and we are grateful and pushing ever harder now because we are aware of the hard times. Our next “celebratable” milestone will be our first client deliveries coming in the next weeks. I think we realized with time that as we grow, we feel more of a responsibility to deliver.
If you could change your life with every person in the world right now - would you do it? And if yes, with whom?
Anybody who is scuba diving somewhere beautiful and discovering the amazing underwater world for the first time.
Why are you at MotionLab.Berlin?
Amazing, dynamic facilities, great location and staff/community.
Would you rather have the skills to see 10 minutes into your future or to reset what happened in the last 10 minutes?
Definitely seeing 10 minutes in the future.
What is your favorite song, that motivates you and brings you through a tough working day?
- The heavy- How do you like me now?
- Get free – Major Lazer
- Too explicit to write here
What is the current status quo of the company?
Well, we are manufacturing our production vehicles at the moment and will be delivering
to clients in Berlin and 3 other cities before years end.
Are you currently looking for something specific? Investors, specific knowledge or positions?
We are looking for an experienced, German native Communications person. We will be hiring actively over the next months so keep your eyes peeled! We are also building a strong service technical people around Germany which is not always easy to find!
If the 14 year old you would read this interview, what is the one thing you want him to know?
Why did care so much before about what people thought..
Who is probably the proudest person in your circle of what you have achieved in the last years?
Dad probably. I shifted careers years ago (from Architecture). He was super protective and worried and I kept tell him to trust me, that it would work out. Here we are.
When was the last time you got really sick of what you are doing and why?
This morning? Well truthfully, not that bad but once you become enamored with a problem and become fully focused on fixing it, it can be consuming. But that also goes the other way around too. But as a team grows and you have more help it can become easier and you find that love again more frequently.
If someone invested 1 million euro in your startup tomorrow, what would you use the money for?
Probably invest a considerable amount into R&D for additional modules and service ecosystem and grow our sales and expansion teams.
Yes, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I hate those quotable influencers who make you think that you are doing something wrong in life if you do not found your own company. It can be very taxing. On the flip side, I do recommend to everyone, especially early in their professional careers, to join a startup or two. The amount of work and situations you are exposed to, in such a short period of time and how you react gives
you skills and confidence for so much later on, professionally and also in life.