Urban item transportation at the tap of a button: Behind the scenes of MovingaNow.

An interview with Carsten Leverenz about the startup journey of the “on-demand service for item transportation” and the partnership with M-TRIBES.

Johannes Schubert
July 31, 2019
A conversation with Carsten Leverenz, Team Lead for MovingaNow.

Does this sound familiar to you? You walk into IKEA to buy three candles and a flower and two hours later you find yourself at the cashier desk with a PAX wardrobe, wondering how on earth you’re going to get this beast home.  

It’s actually pretty easy: Simply open your new favorite app on your mobile. Before you can finish your second Hot Dog, an orange van and friendly helpers arrive at the door. That’s the power of MovingaNow.

Built with M-TOOLS. MovingaNow is powered by M-TOOLS, the technology platform for innovative new mobility and logistics services. You can find more information about how to utilise our software for last mile deliveries here.

Hi Carsten, thanks for your time. What’s your story and how did you get the idea for MovingaNow?

I joined Movinga four years ago and by now I’m one of the longest-standing employees of the moving platform. As we started internationalising, we received many requests for so-called baggage shipments. For example, we helped consultants move their household from London to Tokio.

The rising number of requests for smaller moves showed us that we’re currently not offering the right product for a lot of leads, especially for urban professionals. Who needs a 12-ton truck to move into another shared flat or to get a wardrobe home safely? For this urban target group a quality service that offers simple, fast and cheap accessibility was still missing. That’s the territory that we are conquering with MovingaNow.

What's your elevator pitch for MovingaNow?

We see ourselves as a “smart item transportation solution” that allows users to transport goods from A to B as easy as ordering a taxi. Why smart? With the help of technology (from M-TRIBES) we can ensure that we don’t cause more traffic in the city, but rather use the capacity of our partners in a more efficient way, by optimising routes and orders.

Smart also stands for sustainable and affordable. On weekends it’s common to see lots of cars unnecessarily parking in front of ONE IKEA store, transporting items for ONE customer. In the future these kind of deliveries will be pooled with MovingaNow. As several deliveries can be made in one trip, customers pay less. At the same time, our customers are helping the environment and reducing traffic in cities. Additionally pooling technology increases the efficiency of our partners. With MovingaNow, our partners are able to deliver three times the amount of orders.

Similar to Lieferando, which is a delivery service for a variety of restaurants, MovingaNow wants to be the logistics platform for all of the small retailers that don’t have their own delivery service infrastructure. We provide retailers with all of the software they need for their partners and customers. Our modern and efficient logistics processes enable retailers to fully focus on customer acquisition and sales.

MovingaNow is available for iOS and Android. Bookings can also be made through the web booking system, which is especially interesting for B2B customers.
And for the customer everything happens inside your app, right?

Yes. In addition of SMS notifications, emails etc.

Our users are already comparing MovingaNow with an UBER-like experience. On one hand high praise for you as M-TRIBES, as you built the app, but also for us, as we are responsible for operations.

Our users are not only excited about the simple user experience, but also appreciate that they always know where their delivery vehicle is. This is still extremely new for the transportation of goods. We’ve all experienced this: You order an oversize item and the logistics company tells you: “Please be home between Monday and Friday from 8 to 19 o’clock.” With us you definitely don’t need to take a day’s holiday for deliveries anymore.

Let’s take a look back: How did you end up with M-TRIBES? I think you first read about us on Gründerszene, right?

Exactly. That was back in September. We had just built an MVP web app with a different service provider to test the first market fit of our concept. The feedback from customers and partners made us realise that this idea could work. On the one hand, we solved a real problem for the customer at a reasonable price. At the same time, we as a platform recognised that we are able to add value to our delivery partners, by offering prices that allow them to build a sustainable business.

Back then we started with a small biz-dev team and looked for a matching technology partner. Right in the first conversation with Marian (COO of M-TRIBES), we realized that the roadmaps of our companies fit very well together. We didn’t want a vendor to develop software for us that they don’t have any strategic interest in and therefore has limited self-motivation in the long run. We sat down with Igor (Product Manager, M-TOOLS) and Patrick (CEO, M-TRIBES) and had a look at: “How might we combine our business strategies? Which additional features do we need first? How will we launch our service quickly and reliably?”

Why didn’t you build MovingaNow on your own? Doesn’t Movinga understand itself as a tech company?

Not hiring a full tech team is partly a strategy to minimise risk. Involving people from the existing Movinga tech team was not an option as our team had to achieve their own goals. New countries, new features, etc.

With M-TOOLS, we quickly gained trust in the technology and we knew that we wanted to work with M-TRIBES as a permanent technology partner, with us focusing on operations, business development and product development. Not only the motivation and the speed of M-TRIBES inspires us to this day, but also the synergies that arise for us and our customers.

M-TRIBES isn’t just an agency that you give a few tickets to complete but you rarely see each other. We actually write a lot of short messages back and forth and often have discussions in which I openly get asked: “ Are you sure?”, “How did you imagine this?” - in case of doubt, no one is afraid to say: “That doesn’t make any sense.” With M-TRIBES, we have found a valuable sparring partner that helps us assess our planned features and works with us on eye-level to map out the priorities for our business.

M-TOOLS enables MovingaNow to equip business customers with own operations dashboards.


One benefit of M-TOOLS is the custom feature development programme. What’s been your experience with that?

We hold regular so-called roadmap meetings to see how planned features fit into the strategic roadmap and budgets of MovingaNow and M-TRIBES. Accordingly we agree on our cost-contribution: If a feature is very urgent for us we bear a bigger share of the costs. Very often, however, we benefit from the advantages of using a versatile and highly flexible technology platform and our total costs are significantly cheaper.

Custom feature development with M-TRIBES has been incredibly fast. For example, we required some additional features for our internal dispatching workflow. All of the special features that we needed to coordinate and manage moves were planned, developed and rolled out within a month.

Sounds good. So… are you already writing black figures?

Not yet. Since we are still growing at a fast pace, we are heavily investing in custom development and marketing. With our pricing, however, we are already profitable with orders that have a larger basket size.

Unlike our parent company Movinga, we don’t think of ourselves as a one-time-booking service. Instead, we want to help people in their everyday lives. In numbers this means that we are expecting 3-4 bookings per customer per year, ensuring profitability through an increased life-time-value. We have a broad enough variety of use cases that we can offer solutions for with our service.

„Have you heard of MovingaNow? There's a chance that you're gonna need it in two hours” promotion in front of IKEA.
Can you give us a glimpse of what your customers are really doing with MovingaNow?

One time we delivered a Weber grill to a park. In Berlin, for example, we helped DJs transport their equipment, so they didn’t have to squeeze everything into their compact car. Instead they could simply add these costs to the final invoice.

At the moment many people utilise MovingaNow for smaller moves in the city. That’s what Movinga as a brand is also known for. We know this because we always arrange a one-on-one debrief with the customer via email or telephone after each booking. Customers are, for example, couples who are moving in together, moving within Berlin or people that are moving from one shared flat to another. In the middle or at the end of the month our bookings always increase significantly. One insight that we gained is that a very high percentage of our current users are expats.

It’s our goal to expand beyond the regular moving business and move more and more into the area of item transportation, for which an essential part of it is B2B business. We already have some attractive partners on our platform, who use our service regularly. These include, for example, startups that specialise in furniture rentals for offices or apartments.

In terms of B2B, we see ourselves to be less a simple taxi solution for furniture, but more of a smart logistics solution with its own SAAS infrastructure. Thanks to M-TOOLS, we can ensure that all of our partners get access to the necessary apps. With these they can send customers live-updates quickly and conveniently and additionally we offer comprehensive dashboards for an overview of orders and statistics etc.

Which part of the journey are you most proud of?

What makes me really happy is the feedback from our customers. We currently have a net promoter score of 75, are extremely well rated on Google and often get direct feedback, such as: “Wow!” “That was super easy.” “The experience was good.”, “The partners were great.”. This is great to hear of course, because we know we need exactly this kind of feedback to push the platform forward and grow organically through referrals.

It’s our goal to advance the whole logistics market. We don’t rely on having a high quantity of partners, but more on carefully selected players. We are happy to help them grow. One of our partners started with one delivery van in March and was now able to add three more to his fleet. For our partners, MovingaNow is often the first step into the moving business.

What’s been the craziest moment so far?

When the app first went live and the product was officially launched and we received the first booking: We had tested every detail for two, three weeks, every payment flow etc. But then this moment comes when you’re live and you know that someone you don’t know is using your service. When you ask: “How was it?” and then you get to hear: “Really good.” – this just feels awesome. If someone has experienced our service exactly as we have sold it to them and everything went smoothly, that’s a remarkably motivating experience. After that, you celebrate the 100th booking, the 200th, the 500th,...

In our third week after launching we had a huge offline campaign all over Berlin. Things ended up getting pretty crazy. It was Saturday, the weather was great and suddenly we received 60 booking requests in one day! We managed to carry out ALL the orders and everyone was so happy.

“Eat your own dog food.” – Team Lead Carsten (second from the right) regularly gets behind the wheel himself.


Cool, so now it’s time to scale up, right? How are you tackling this topic?

Our next course of action is to grow steadily our B2C business and we are currently putting a lot of energy into the further development of the B2B market. We now have an app that can not only withstand 60 bookings, but also thousands.

Along with our growth, we will expand the MovingaNow team to guarantee superior quality and that we can support our partners the best we can. That’s why we recently hired an expert for partner management. In the future, we’ll need someone to focus solely on B2B business and on building partnerships. Next up are Marketing and Product Managers...

In the end, we are building up a whole new company within the company...

Do you already know in which city you want to launch next?

We are currently looking at many possible cities: Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Dusseldorf. Through Movinga we already have a large network in many locations. Together with Patrick, our team is currently analysing which cities have similar needs as Berlin and whether there are interesting new target groups in other cities.

It might also be that we won’t launch another German city next, but launch our service in Sweden or France, where Movinga is also very successful. In Paris, for example, small moves are also in high demand.

By focusing heavily on automation, national borders aren’t a huge barrier to overcome for us. I can also imagine launching in the USA or Asia because similar services are already being used in these regions and we are up for facing these challenges.

Carsten, thank you for your time, and we’ll see each other in the Growth Workshop. What’s on the agenda?

It says here on my notepad: analyse conversions, audience targeting & messaging, referral engine, event tracking. But first I’ll need another glass of water.

__________

About M-TOOLS

M-TOOLS ist the developer-first technology platform that enables businesses to launch scalable new mobility and logistics services in weeks. Our end-to-end solutions include all required technology, from telematics systems, mobile apps and web dashboards to APIs and integrations with marketing tools, as well as automatic accounting and payment systems.

You can find more information for our software solutions in the area of last mile logistics here.

Johannes Schubert
CMO at M-TRIBES

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