Building and operating a new digital-first venture
In the fall of 2017, NS (Dutch Railways) identified an emerging trend of consumers moving towards flexible, sustainable mobility solutions. NS asked SparkOptimus to come up with a strategic response to this trend. As a result, SparkOptimus designed and set-up a new venture offering mobility-as-a-service for consumers, called Hely, by finding the right product-market fit, building the organization, building a scalable technology platform, and installing a way of working that allows for rapid scale-up.
From day 1, SparkOptimus was firmly embedded within the Hely team. As integral part of the Hely team, we jointly built the business. Together with the Hely team, we defined the long-term vision, proposition, and business plan. To ensure timely go-live, we shaped a minimum viable product (MVP) based on consumer feedback and financial implications. In addition, we provided hands-on support in numerous areas: amongst others, we fulfilled the role of Interim Head of Operations, kickstarted Business Analytics by building the first dashboards and supported the Development team in becoming more effective by rolling-out process improvements based on agile best-practices.
Through the support of SparkOptimus, Hely could go from an initial idea to pilot launch within 6 months. The agile way of working that we ensured from the start enabled Hely to build, learn & adapt, never losing focus towards the end goal. Hely was able to grow from a small 4 person founding team to a fully operational team of 15 people. One month after the public launch (January 2019), Hely was already operating 3locations throughout the Netherlands servicing >150 customers and preparing 10+ additional locations to be rolled-out in 2019.
‘The market for mobility is changing at a rapid pace, yet it is hard to see what the end state will be. Given this uncertainty, SparkOptimus proved itself to be the right partner as their combination of strategic brainpower and business pragmatism enabled us to ‘get things going’. Most importantly, they fully became part of the team, assisting wherever necessary, and challenging us when appropriate”
Jan Paul van Heemskerck van Beest – Founder Hely