Aad, Eveon has been around for a year now. How does that feel?
It's incredible! Time has flown by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that we registered Eveon with the Chamber of Commerce. I feel like we are just getting started.
What would you say has mattered most during Eveon Containers' first 12 months?
We owe the majority of our success to our great team. From Aliaksandra, who translates our online store demands for our developers, to Sven, who built an entire supply chain and made it possible for us to give our customers such an accurate delivery time in the first place., all the way to marketing, where Nicole and Paul continue to find the best strategies to meet our customers where they are and give them the best shopping experience possible, and, of course, our amazing development team, which has coded so many great improvements for our customers!
I also truly feel that we have found the best in the industry with our collaborative partners. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
Eveon's launch was in October 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis. How did you experience that?
Obviously, we didn't plan for a global pandemic in our business case and it was a huge challenge. The Covid-19 virus has upset international supply chains, leading to a major container shortage in Europe that is still ongoing. So, the supply of containers was actually a limiting factor in our business. We actually could have sold far more containers if they had been available.
But from a purely business point of view, it hurt my heart that I couldn't thank our first customer in person due to contact limitations. When you start a purely digital business like Eveon, you wait in anticipation for that first purchase. When that time came, it was a huge relief. I would have been only too happy to get into the car and hand her some flowers personally, and make sure everything was to her complete satisfaction. I sent her flowers anyway. But, in the end, maybe it wasn't the worst time for us to start a business in the middle of a container crisis, of all things.
After all, the supply of containers was not only limited for us, but also for customers. I am sure that many customers became curious after seeing our ads, website and offering. However, some buyers may still have had reservations about spending that much money to buy a container in a brand-new online shop.
Not long ago, a customer – a buyer for a major corporation – said that we were his last hope to find a container. I think the crisis has also made people more open to alternative possibilities and a fully digital transaction. That has played into our hands.
Before you launched Eveon, did you have any doubts about whether the business model would work?
I was very confident. Not one hundred percent certain, but very confident. I was asked by some friends and business partners: "The Germans are very traditional, so are you sure you want to start there?"
But the Germans aren't that traditional at all, are they?
Well, my wife is German and, generally speaking, I know the Germans well. Of course, they can be traditional, such as with their Sunday rolls or hundreds of types of bread. But they are also innovative and open to new things. Just look at all the digital start-ups in Berlin, for instance. The traditional mindset and openness to break new ground are not mutually exclusive to Germany.
Most importantly, German customers expect high quality and this was the most important reason to start in the German market. We received so much feedback that helped us implement improvements quickly. This was exactly what we were hoping for.
Eveon has been active not only in Germany, but also in Austria since February. Is this just the first step towards an international rollout for Eveon?
As a team, we are incredibly proud to have made it this far and have big plans. Our goal is for people all over the world to be able to buy their containers from Eveon and for container fleet owners everywhere to be able to sell their containers through Eveon. We are already looking forward to demonstrating our ability to bring our business model to the entire world – no matter the time zone or language. Eveon is built to scale.
The last 12 months have been very exciting. What do you expect from the next 12 months?
We will continue to grow, of course. But we also want to grow in the DACH market and improve our services even more, especially for our many returning customers. And more European countries will be added. I'm sure that, by the end of this year, at least one more country will be able to use Eveon Containers.
Naturally, we have more goals than growth alone. Our business model has already brought a great deal of transparency to an opaque market – and our customers are already benefiting from this. We also want to achieve much more in terms of sustainability. Far too many containers are still being transported empty over land and across the oceans. We have brought on board a Sustainable Development Manager to further explore how we can make the container industry greener. We are already giving containers a second lease on life by reusing them at their destination and offsetting the CO2 generated by our transport operations. But we want to grow beyond that and also work with partners and universities to promote green logistics.
Thank you, Aad, for the interview!