Munich-Based Mobility Startup UrmO Launches Kickstarter Campaign

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Are you looking for a light, eco-friendly, and versatile commuter vehicle? UrmO could become your daily companion. We spoke to Sebastian Signer, the co-founder of the Munich-based mobility startup, to find out more:

You might have tried or at least seen Segway – a transportation vehicle similar to UrmO. Designed for your commute to work, UrmO is the “Brompton” version of the Segway. Not only is it easy to transport due to its foldable design but it is also very light-weight. Sebastian Signer, one of the co-founders of this innovative startup, spoke to us about what makes UrmO unique and why today’s launch of their Kickstarter campaign will be a great push for the startup.

Munich-Based Mobility Startup UrmO Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Sebastian Signer, Co-Founder at UrmO // (c) UrmO

First off: why did you decide to pursue your own dreams with UrmO?

In our team, we have a lot of ideas on how to improve the future. We want to actively create the future and make tomorrow better with our own idea. We see huge potential for improvements in urban mobility because cities are becoming bigger thus increasing the distance between one place and the other. Therefore, we have to rethink transportation and need alternatives that require fewer resources and less space than cars, for example. We have a vision that personal light electric vehicles could be part of the solution and we want to make our vision become reality.

How would you describe UrmO in a few words?

The UrmO is an innovative, light electric vehicle to drive flexible and individually through urban areas. The technology is similar to the Segway, however, we have a special feature: the patent-pending folding mechanism, which means you can carry it anywhere and simply stow it.

The Segway didn’t really make it big on an everyday basis. What differentiates UrmO?

Everyday suitability. The UrmO has a light weight of 6.5 kilograms, whereas similar electric vehicles weigh more than 10 kilograms. In addition, you can fold the UrmO into a very small packing size within just 2 seconds. Both features enable users to carry the UrmO everywhere, be it in one hand, a handbag or a briefcase. For example, users can easily take UrmO on the subway with them and use it on the way from the subway exit to their office.

UrmO was founded only recently; in what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Success for us means that we see the UrmO driven in the streets by happy customers in a few years. Additionally, success for us is to make our customer’s life easier.  We started developing UrmO two and a half years ago and have included potential customers from the beginning. This helped us with implementing a lot of minor changes and developments which have already had an impact on UrmO.

Our financial success will be measurable with our market entry – or, essentially, with the crowdfunding campaign we are launching today. In a month, after the end of the campaign, we will see if the people like our product and want to spend their money on it.

Talking about finances: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We were bootstrapped until August. Since the beginning of September, we are supported by the EXIST Founder’s Grant. Now, we also need to bring in external financing for the serial production with our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

During this campaign, we offer the UrmO for sale for the first time. In the beginning, we are offering early bird specials, of course. This proof-of-market is very important for us, as we will also be looking for investors afterward. For this investment round, we want to be able to show a market impact with early revenues.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

The task is simple: focus. Focus on the vision that we pursue with the UrmO and our strengths. Focus on the development of a great product that the customer really wants. And last but not least, focus on building a great team to support the idea and vision.

What do you look for in team members and why should they join you?

Currently, we are three founders and 7 students from different fields supporting us with the development of the product and the company. For the future, we need motivated and passionate team players with clever out-of-the-box ideas. They need to put their personal effort into the project and see their job at UrmO not only as a duty but as their own project that they want to realize. Every colleague in our team delivers important input and shapes the business and the product UrmO. Of course, it is also important that team members respect each other when working together, communicate and can deal with criticism because we all have to improve every day and have to learn from our experience, good or bad.

In our team, people have the chance to work independently and make their own decisions, which means a lot of responsibility but also the freedom to realize their ideas. At UrmO, our team members are not one of 1.000 like in bigger companies, but people are in charge of their project and therefore a major contributor to UrmO’s success.

In 7 years from now: How did UrmO change the world?

In 7 years, light electric vehicles like the UrmO have taken over urban areas and traffic in cities is improved. We enable people to drive flexibly, sustainably, silently and without the need for parking in crowded urban areas. The streets will be emptier and transportation more efficient. Thus, the quality of life will have improved for all inhabitants.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Work hard. The rest will eventually, with a little bit of luck, follow. That is the only way to really have an impact. If you are in for the money, a startup is not the easiest choice.



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