An Interview with Founder Mark de Vos of GoBooney

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Mark de Vos Founder of GoBoony

Meet Mark of GoBoony

Mark de Vos MSc. is CEO and Co-Founder of GoBoony  – a motorhome sharing platform, aiming to connect motorhome owners with those wishing to travel in a motorhome in the UK and across Europe.

1.Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?

Foppe Mijnlieff and I met whilst we were travelling with our families (via motorhomes) in New Zealand in 2011. Our children are of similar ages so as they were busy playing, we got chatting. It turned out that we lived 40 minutes away from each other in the Netherlands. A couple of days later one of us headed South, the other North, so we exchanged details and vowed to touch base once we were back home, which we did.

A little while later, I purchased a motorhome so I could travel for a couple of months throughout the year. It was brilliant, but I hated seeing it sit there for ten months of the year not being used so I began loaning it to my friends and family, then friends of friends, and then suddenly complete strangers for a fee, which is when the concept of Goboony was discovered. 

Being a serial entrepreneur combined with my background in automotive, and Foppe’s experience in business development, in particular startups, we were able to create an AirBnb inspired platform for motorhome owners and users. Goboony was launched in the Netherlands in 2015. The platform now has over 3,500 vehicles on offer, and we have sent more than 100,000 people on holiday from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy and Belgium.

2.What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?

The biggest challenge was creating a scalable platform working. It is not very hard to make a website, put on some advertisements for people to see and then have them book a vehicle and pay for it. But it does get complicated once you actually scale in size because nothing can be done manually anymore. 

Another challenge for Goboony is being a marketplace because it means you always have to consider both audiences – motorhome owners (advertiser) and motorhome travellers. Something that appeals to the advertiser for example, may not attract the attention of the holiday maker.  This is why our platform is loaded with informative and helpful features to accommodate all: complete rental management tool, payment and deposit systems, claims handling and how to blog posts.

3.Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?

The best ideas come from your own experience and senses- especially when trying to solve a problem. Being in regular contact with others such as peers, customers and colleagues is also extremely helpful.. 

I get a lot of inspiration from talking to my colleagues, especially those that have direct contact with our customers and from keeping an eye on the competition and similar organisations but within different spaces. What they figure out, might be applicable to our product as well.

4.What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?

Entrepreneurship is the biggest value. Everybody is a mini-CEO within Goboony. It’s important people feel free, have ambition, behave responsibly and are willing to share and listen. 

In a typical month our business grows by 5-10% per cent, so it is important as a team, and as individuals, we continue learning and improving every single month.  This means everybody needs the confidence to make decisions by themselves on a regular basis.

5.What is next for your brand?

Foppe and I have big plans for Goboony over the next two years and beyond. 

In Europe, there are 2.5m privately-owned motorhomes – yet the majority of these are used for only one month of the year meaning that for 11 months, they sit idle on someone’s driveway costing money – for nothing. They still have to be insured, taxed, MOTed and serviced.  Motorhomes, like any vehicle, need to be used on a regular basis – otherwise brakes seize up and batteries run down. And that is where the sharing economy becomes a logical solution. The income generated by renting out your motorhome can be used for upkeep. 

Our overall objective for Goboony is to become Europe’s go-to for motorhome sharing. In order to achieve this we need to scale up our current motorhome offering from 3,500 to 50,000.

Unfortunately at the current time there is an absence of good electric motorhomes available, so we will be looking at ways to see how Goboony can encourage this.

6.What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?

To be humble. In the past I have always assumed I am right but working side by side with Foppe has made me realise that I am not all of the time. Sharing ideas is so important, but being comfortable with others adapting those ideas is really powerful.

7.What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?

All team members see different things in their own surroundings and post info in specific slack channels. It is like a curated news feed! 

Every quarter we decide with the leadership team on the plan for the next five years, next 12 months and next quarter. So discuss if and what we need to change on our long term vision (hardly ever changes), our 12 months ambition (sometimes changes) and our objectives for the next quarter (very specific actions). Working this way allows us to always be on the pulse and aware of what is happening in the market.

More info on GoBoony

Company Name: GoBoony
Website: www.goboony.co.uk

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