We sat down with one of our unu founders Mathieu Caudal to talk about the French expansion
Since our launch in Germany in 2014, it's been a constant dream to introduce our sustainable way of discovering the city by bringing our electric scooter past the boarders. So far we've conquered Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands, but that's not it. We’re excited to announce that the new unu Scooter is also now available in 20 French cities including Paris and Lyon. Read on to understand why France is so important for us and meet Mathieu Caudal, the French guy in the unu founding team. He is our expert when it comes to supply chain management and company expansion. As cliché as it gets, we had a good coffee and a croissant in the kitchen in our Berlin HQ to talk about what it means to enter a new market with unu.
Good morning Mathieu, let’s talk about how the whole unu story began for you and what you’re actually doing at unu day in and day out?
I grew up in Paris and studied in Lyon. During my studies of engineering at INSA de Lyon, I decided to do a semester abroad in Munich. At the Technical University I met my soon to become-co-founders Pascal and Elias. After having managed the unu product development and global operations for the last 4 years, I’m now turning my focus on the unu future. This includes the management of our internationalisation strategy and its implementation and also preparing unu to enter new business fields in the mid-term horizon. Pretty exciting things, even if it might not appear like that when I hide behind my computer in the office.
Tell us a bit about the French market, what’s the most interesting part about launching unu there?
The French market offers a fantastic opportunity for unu. Due to urban area density, difficult traffic situations and heavily polluted metropolitan regions, there is a serious need for change in the way people move around the city. And most important, France is a market with a strong two-wheeler culture. Expanding to France reminds me of our first unu years in Germany. Nobody knows us there yet and everything has to be built up. It’s very exciting and really tricky at the same time. Every French person knows that administrative processes in France can be a real pain so we’ve worked really hard on making the whole process as simple as possible for the future unu drivers. And of course it’s personally very exciting for me to launch in France. It's kind of a comeback, I will finally be able to show my family and friends who stayed there, what I have been doing the last 5 years in Germany.
What would be your perfect unu day in France? Where would you ride, what would you do?
Let's wake up in Lyon - on the top of the Croix Rousse hill. This is how my perfect unu day would start, with the sun rising and a magnificent view over the city. On the top of the hill, I can see all areas I am about to explore. I would drive down the Croix Rousse Slope, follow the Saône River and arrive in Lyon's City Center. Destination L'Epicerie for a special brunch! I would continue my ride through the city center, discovering the Opera, a nice mix of classic and modern architecture, and finally riding along the Rhône, the other river in Lyon. Ending up on the new Confluence District, this is the time to discover the new Confluence Museum. Riding back to the center, it's time for Lunch at the Butcher and a coffee at Mokxa - to meet up with more friends at the Parc de la Tete d'Or, the perfect spot for a Molki and a chat. The sun is going down and I'm driving back home. Parking my scooter right in front of L'Origo, ending up the day with a nice pork deli and cheese plate, without forgetting the wine. What a day.
Alright, we would definitely want to have that unu day in Lyon with you. So let’s stay in the French mood. Can you tell us a bit about what you would consider as typical French?
I can't avoid to answer you "Baguette and Saucisson" (laughs). But more seriously, France defines itself by a real attention to authenticity and quality of life. People pay attention to what they eat, how they look, where they live. France is not about having a lot of things, everything is about quality. It’s often not transported enough via the clichés but France is also about diversity. The French culture of today is full of influences from all over the world and I enjoy feeling a similar diversity in our unu office in Berlin every day.
Let’s picture a perfect day in Paris, you’re driving your unu and you could take any famous person you want for a ride, whom would you take and why?
Frederic Begbeider (Author), Romain Gavras (film director) or maybe somebody like Arnaud Lapierre (Designer), SoMe (Designer) or Régis Fayette-Mikano (Poet). Those are people who really inspire me and I would love to spend time with them. And an unu ride on our new and longer seat would be the perfect opportunity to get to know them better. Of course there are many more French people who inspire me, when it comes to music I love Justice, Daft Punk and IAM, so we would already have the perfect soundtrack for our unu ride as well.