The future of freight transportation, data science and much more...
with Luís Mendes, Meight
[FH]: What is the problem you are addressing at Meight and how do you solve it?
[LM]: The Road Freight sector has failed to solve lasting problems such as driving efficiency and safety with Fleet Managers. 65% of all the EUs Road Freight companies are currently not using digital fleet management or telematics solutions to optimize their daily operations. Based on cutting-edge data science, Meight has developed a software solution that allows road freight businesses to immediately reduce their costs and carbon emissions by 20%. Our solution consists of a Driver App that encapsulates the Driver experience, every action a Driver has to perform is via the App, at the same time the App is the Driver’s co-pilot, helping him while Driving, navigating and at being a top performer. This is a first in an industry where Drivers are left alone and communications are done via phone, an opaque system that we want to change.
[FH]: How did the pandemic affect your business model? Did market needs shift?
[LM]: The core of our Business Model has remained the same as before the pandemic. What changed was the method of interacting with new customers. We have always thought it is important to monitor in person, especially with new customers, but the Pandemic made this monitoring difficult. We had to innovate, and now that the rules imposed during the Pandemic begin to ease, we can interact again in person. Market needs have increased, Road Freight companies need to reduce costs to remain competitive in the market, especially fuel costs, which represent the greatest cost for this sector, and whose prices have increased significantly in the last year.
[FH]: You are currently focused on Heavy-Duty Commercial Vehicle (HCV). Are you planning to tackle other types of vehicles?
[LM]: We decided to focus on Heavy-Duty Commercial Vehicle due to the fact that 65% of all the EUs Road Freight companies are currently not using digital solutions to optimize their daily operations and the growing necessity to adopt technologies that reduce CO2 emissions. In fact, even though commercial road fleets only represent 2% of the vehicles on the road, they emit 22% of the EUs total carbon emissions and their numbers, as well as CO2 emissions, are growing steadily with a 50% increase being projected between 2020 to 2050. For the moment, we are not planning to go after other vehicle types.
[FH]:How do you measure the impact of Meight on the environment and what challenges still need to addressed?
[LM]: The European Union is demanding 20% CO2 reductions in 10 years, this will only be possible if new technologies join forces with the automotive sector. Some of the work we are doing is in helping incumbents develop better products for their clients, such as deciding which type of vehicles to buy, according to driver profiles, different power units, and so on. This is the case where regulation brings innovation and it’s a challenge we want to help our clients overcome, which ultimately improves the businesses, environment, and society.
[FH]:Which skills do you value the most when hiring new members for the team?
[LM]: Interpersonal Skills are the ones we focus on the most while hiring. It is essential in a startup with a small team, that everyone is aligned, including new hires. As individuals, we believe our actions define our relationships with others and the quality of our work. To promote collaboration, entrepreneurship, sustainable mobility, and continuous development, we’ve identified Leadership Behaviours on which we want our team to excel, like Innovation, Altruism, Judgement, Impact, and Communication.