Every year seven million people around the world die from the effects of air pollution. Vehicles are leaders in the negative impact on the atmosphere: from 60 to 80% of atmospheric air pollution in megacities comes from internal combustion engines.
Radical solutions are needed in the field of transport, which will reduce the number of cars with internal combustion engines and allow the transition to higher environmental standards.
The Spanish market for electric motorcycles is growing rapidly. These vehicles already account for more than 8% of all motorcycle registrations and in the last six years, the electric motorcycle market has grown by more than 800%.
Emilio Froján founded the company Velca just before the pandemic and managed to make it the leader of the Spanish market for electric motorcycles and mopeds with more than ten points of sale.
We heard from Emilio about the success story of his brand and asked about his plans to expand the business outside of Spain, including Andorra.
Interview: Irina Rybalchenko for El Periòdic News
Electric motorcycles and electric bicycles are economical, mobile and affordable. But this is transport and for its normal use, it is necessary to create special infrastructure and conditions. What does the strategic plan for the development of e-transport in Spain in general and its capital Madrid in particular look like?
Cars and their infrastructure, such as car parks, occupy more than 50% of public space in cities and the urban population continues to grow. Today, our cities represent only 2% of the earth’s surface, yet they are home to around 54% of the world’s population, account for 75% of energy consumption and are responsible for around 80% of emissions and pollution, pollution, pollution… Cities must be built for people and not for cars.
What is your business today? Do you produce e-transport or only sell (rent) it? You have offices throughout Spain. Is it possible to buy an e-transport there or rent it as well?
Velca is the Spanish brand of 100% electric motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles, with removable batteries that you charge like your smartphone. We generate a positive impact in cities. 0 emissions and 0 noise. We manufacture in two production centers in Asia and three production centers in Europe. We have a direct sales model as well as vehicle subscription and tenting.
Tell us the story of your brand – is it true that you created your company just a few months before the pandemic? How did you make it through such a difficult time? What exactly helped you grow your business?
I used to work for an electric scooter firm that is a leader in Germany. There I began to design a project related to my work. In addition, I intended to conduct this project in Spain. When I managed to get the idea a little more formal and structured, I decided to return to Madrid and present it to my employees.
My environment showed great support for this initiative, so, without a doubt, the next day my employees went to the bank, asked for a personal loan and stepped on the accelerator to start it and undertake it.
We started two months before the pandemic broke out, but we were resilient and became stronger.
Andorra is a country of cycling, but because of its landscape, only trained cyclists travel here on bicycles. The development of infrastructure for e-bicycles would be very interesting and positive. Do you have plans to come to Andorra?
We are actively seeking distribution alliances in Andorra for all our vehicles. It is a country that may have the best air quality in the world.
Any plans to develop your business in neighboring France and Portugal as well?
We already have a sales structure in Portugal and France is the next.
You achieved a financing level that has been a record in Spain: you raised €750,000 in 4 hours. How was it possible?
The combination of a young team eager to change many established rules and the experience of our lead investors have been key to designing a strategy that allowed us to achieve this milestone. Building a vibrant and passionate community that has supported the brand at all times has been key. Velca is two years old and has more than 1,000 investors.
Do you have a lot of competitors? How would you explain your advantages compared to theirs?
We have more than 3 years of dealership, after-sales service with more than 200 workshops, a connectivity and geolocation system, but above all a community of users who defend and develop our brand.
You are a founder of the Instituto Galego do Talento, a member of the Advisory Council of AIESEC, an external consultant for startups and you collaborate with various media as an innovation specialist. Tell us please about each project. What interesting startups can you mention?
I like to participate in educational projects. I believe that education and entrepreneurship are the two main tools to transform the world.