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Mina Nada has a law degree and started her career as a paralegal in London, Frankfurt and Sydney. In 2012, he co-founded his first company, INCUBATE, Australia’s premier program for accelerating the creation of new businesses by NPFs and assisting entrepreneurs, and then joined Bain & Company as a consultant, where he met and collaborated with Zoomo’s current co-founder, Michael Johnson.
Zoomo is a world leader in bicycle manufacturing and after-sales service, based on the experience of thousands of cyclists around the world.
Designed in Australia and used in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, these bikes are durable and efficient. Their flexible subscription services give thousands of drivers worldwide access to the best cars.
Their mission is to convert billions of kilometres of urban delivery traffic from bicycles, cars and trucks sustainably into light electric vehicles.
In an exclusive interview with Mina, he says…
The best advice I got was not to be afraid to take risks and go back. The advice I would give to someone starting a business is to think long term. You may not see results right away, but if you stick to your idea and trust your instincts, you may soon see the results you are striving for.
One of the most common mistakes I see founders make is striving for absolute perfection and being uncomfortable with the idea of marketing an unpolished product. While this can be risky, it can also have many benefits if you are willing to listen to market feedback and make the right changes.
Read on to learn more about Mina Nada and her journey.
What made you decide to work for your company?
Mina Nada: With Deliveroo I discovered a gap in the delivery market regarding the transport methods of the drivers. If deliverers were already using commercially available e-bikes because they were faster and didn’t need a driver’s license to drive one, they were often expensive to buy. Most deliverers work an average of six months, so investing thousands of dollars in an e-bike was not feasible for many.
Zoomo’s rental options have become an excellent alternative. Michael and I started the company (formerly Bolt Bikes) in 2017 when I worked at Mobike. We soon realized that we were building a micro-mobility company that would have a major impact. There are many bicycle companies, a handful of bicycle rental companies and many scooter-sharing companies. But no one has offered what we are – an e-bike platform that includes maintenance in addition to the car.
Three years later, Zoomo is now available in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, allowing people around the world to get from point A to point B reliably.
What is your current core product and can you tell an earlier story about your current core product?
Mina Nada: We currently have five different Zoomo models – Lite, MTB, Classic, Ranger and Zero – available for rental or purchase.
When we started, we discovered that there were no electronic bikes for couriers on the market. As a result, we have started to develop low-cost but high-tech e-bikes that meet our customers’ needs with various partners in the e-bike supply chain in Europe, Asia and North America.
While our initial focus was on offering best-in-class micro-mobility to couriers, we expanded our offering to consumers and businesses in 2020.
How much money have you raised so far? When was the last financing cycle?
Mina Nada: We raised a total of A$20 million ($15 million). In August, we announced a capital and debt increase of A$16 million led by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Hana Ventures and the existing investors Maniv Mobility and Contrarian Ventures, as well as the venture capital companies OneVentures and Viola Credit, have raised capital.
What were the internal decision-making processes that determined the start of fundraising and what was the logistics? And how many investors did you meet, how did you meet them and which channels worked best for you?
As the company grew from a sideline to a full-fledged company, Michael and I knew we needed more bikes. We needed more resources to meet the demand we knew was there.
In the first place, we have started to raise funds to support our growth forecasts. Thanks to our network, we got to know the venture capital companies we wanted to approach and we felt this was the best way to attract the right investors.
In January of this year I spoke at the CleanTech Forum in San Francisco, in which CEFC also participated. After the event I logged on to LinkedIn with them to chat, and we first met in person in Sydney in March.
What are the main challenges and obstacles you have encountered in fundraising? If you had to start over, what else would you do?
Mina Nada: This year’s pandemic has made fundraising difficult. Investors were more risk-averse and even more frugal than usual. In fact, some people preferred to take a break and wait and see what happened in the world, but investors are always open to great opportunities and meaningful companies.
If I had to start from scratch, I would spend more time formulating Zoomo’s vision at 5-7 years old, and not just at 1 or 2 years old.
What are the milestones for the next cycle? And what are your goals for the future?
Mina Nada: With the current funding, we will continue to develop our products, hire more staff, expand our service to Melbourne and Brisbane and open our first store in Los Angeles.
We are growing very fast (about 100 employees today) and we see opportunities not only with couriers, but also with large companies and consumers. View this space for announcements on other fronts.
How did you engage users and what strategy did you use to grow your business from start to finish?
Mina Nada: We use a combination of marketing strategies, including paid social media and branding on our bikes. However, word of mouth from satisfied customers has attracted many new users – a testament to the quality of the services we offer, such as B. In-store services and roadside assistance.
Which software was the best marketing tool for the growth of your start-up and why?
Mina Nada: The best software tool we have is Hubspot, which acts as CRM and has enabled us to automate our key marketing processes. Targeted paid media marketing and search engine marketing also help us generate leads for our CRM.
What do most start-ups have wrong with marketing in general?
Mina Nada: I would say that there is a balance between short-term and long-term strategy. It is important to find the right balance between customer conversion and growing awareness to ensure a healthy funnel that can stimulate growth and be agile with the pivots in the strategy.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Mina Nada: Zoomo is currently active in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. We know that our greatest opportunity lies abroad. More than 50% of our turnover comes from international trade, although trade in both countries is very recent. By hiring strong local General Managers to help us locate the product for each market, we have been able to continue our international growth.
What are the most common mistakes companies make in their global expansion?
Mina Nada: The most common mistake is copying and pasting what they do in their own country in a new market without proper research and localization.
How do you deal with the COWID 19 epidemic to ensure the survival of your business?
Mina Nada: Although our head office is in Sydney, we have been able to prove our critics wrong when it comes to business growth, even in the event of a pandemic. We had to cancel all our travel plans in the last six months, but we managed to expand our international activities in a very short period of time. They just need less sleep.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when starting a business?
Mina Nada: One of the most common mistakes I see founders make is striving for absolute perfection and being uncomfortable with the idea of marketing an unpolished product. While this can be risky, it can also have many benefits if you are willing to listen to market feedback and make the right changes.
What is the best advice you have ever received? And what advice can you give to someone who wants to do similar things with you, or go in a similar direction?
Mina Nada: The best advice I got was not to be afraid to take risks and go back. The advice I would give to someone starting a business is to think long term. You may not see results right away, but if you stick to your idea and trust your instincts, you may soon see the results you’re looking for.
What are the three most popular books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
- The Bible – offers perspective and values
- 7 Highly Effective People Habits – gives you approaches to getting things done.
- How to win friends and influence people – Combines everything you always knew but didn’t know about human interactions.
How to stay motivated every day
Mina Nada: I have a daily routine of prayer, meditation and practice. I keep my social media handy, even when I’m busy. First of all, we need to focus on the positive.
What are the three most important life lessons you want your (future) sons and daughters to learn?
Mina Nada: I would give the same advice that I have received and given to others in the industry. This advice is not only relevant in a business environment, but can be applied in any environment.
Why would you want to be remembered?
Mina Nada: I want to be remembered for making the world a better place.
You can follow Mina Nada here.
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