Careers at Local Motion
Local Motion’s mission is to create the largest network of connected vehicles on the planet.
John Stanfield had already founded two startups when he began pursuing a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. For his thesis project, he and some classmates built a low-speed electric vehicle called the Weng (“Where Everyone Needs to Go”). His classmate Clément Gires also had experience with vehicle design, having helped build a 1,000 mpg car in France.
The two graduated in 2010 and launched a company to market Weng, called Weng Motors. They also joined the Lemnos Labs hardware incubator program, through which they worked to build a second version of the product that was shareable, interactive, and energy-efficient. Their plan was to sell the cars to companies that wanted their employees to share vehicles in order to save energy and costs.
At some point the guys realized how hard it was to manufacture cars on a mass scale, and decided to shift focus. Specifically, they decided to develop software and hardware that could be integrated into existing vehicles, and then connect them to a local transportation network. A Cloud platform would provide information such as car availability for drivers and vehicle status for car fleet managers.
In 2012 the company changed its name to Local Motion to reflect its new direction. That summer it began targeting large auto fleets on corporate campuses as initial customers. In fall of that year it received seed funding from various angel investors, enabling it to increase its marketing. Local Motion later expanded its customer base to government agencies. In 2015 it was acquired by Zipcar.
Business model of Local Motion
Local Motion has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at companies and government agencies that have car-sharing programs.
Local Motion offers five primary value propositions: convenience, accessibility, risk reduction, cost reduction, and performance.
The company offers convenience by simplifying clients’ operations. Its cloud-based platform enables vehicle fleet managers to have a high-level view of their automobiles, providing information such as current status and usage history. This enables managers to make decisions anytime and anywhere, and take important actions such as activating driver badges and scheduling blocks on vehicles.
The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. Its solution can be deployed in any type of vehicle, ranging from luxury sedans and electric vehicles to utility trucks and golf carts.
The company reduces risk by decreasing opportunities for vehicle underutilization. Instead of keys, drivers are given ID badges that they can use to check available cars out from a parking lot. Saving time from having to sign out vehicles from a facility increases the likelihood of vehicles being used. Local Motion in general provides a more convenient experience for car drivers than they are used to from car-sharing services – for example, they can book usage or lock their vehicles remotely from the Web. This results in higher satisfaction levels, also leading to increased utilization.
The company reduces costs because of the automation and visibility offered by its solution. Not having keys helps streamline operations, and providing a cloud-based fleet management platform helps managers lower maintenance costs.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results for clients. High-profile examples of positive outcomes include the following:
- 1-800Courier used Local Motion’s solution to make decisions that increased its vehicle utilization by 20% and helped scale its fleet to 7x its original size – resulting in higher profits
- Fleet Division & Parking Enterprise at Sacramento County used Local Motion’s solution to increase employees’ ease of access to vehicles by 30% and add 10% more unique drivers
Local Motion’s main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and participation in expos and conferences.
Local Motion’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Local Motion’s business model entails designing and developing hardware and software for its customers, and maintaining and updating its cloud-based platform.
Local Motion relies on third parties to manufacture its hardware. The company does not maintain a formal partnership program. That said, it forms strategic alliances from time to time to expand its reach. High-profile examples include the following:
- The company partnered with Carahsoft, a government IT solutions provider, to facilitate incorporation of its solution into federal and state government contract vehicles
- The company partnered with Nissan by launching a pilot project for the car manufacturer’s eNV200; its technology was integrated and the vehicle was showcased to car-sharing firms
Local Motion’s main resource is its proprietary software platform.
It depends on human resources in the form of engineering employees to develop software and hardware and maintain the platform and customer service employees to provide support.
As a relatively new startup it has relied on funding from outside parties, raising $6 million from nine investors as of August 2013.
Local Motion has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions.
Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of research/development and product development, also fixed costs.
Local Motion has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the subscription fees it charges vehicle fleet managers for annual access to its cloud-based platform.
The fee amount varies based on size of the fleet; sales staff must be contacted directly for pricing quotes. There is no charge for hardware - the company maintains ownership so that it can replace it if necessary.
info: John earned a B.S. in Physics at Central Washington University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. He previously served as CEO of Local Motion and as a Co-Founder of Veggie Wheels and Perfect Shine.
info: Clément earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique and an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He previously oversaw strategy, product development, finances, marketing, and sales at Local Motion.
info: Laeres earned a B.S. in Marketing at Santa Clara University and an MBA in Executive Management at California State University. He previously served as Director of Sales at Local Motion and Fujitsu Computer Products, and as National Sales Director of Mitratech.
info: Arnaud earned an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Ecole Polytechnique. He previously served as Director of Software at Local Motion, Founder of Isokron, and as a Software Engineer at Work4 Labs.
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