Wunder Mobility interviewed Agustin Guilisasti, CEO & Co-founder of Human Forest, to learn more about the launch of their new e-bikes in London and how he found the process of working with Wunder Mobility’s one-stop-shop. After a successful pilot launch, Human Forest launched and scaled up their sharing-ready fleet in September 2021. They have already built a strong brand with renowned partners, and have used Wunder Mobility for the sourcing and logistics of vehicles, their software solution, and much more.
Could you introduce yourself and Human Forest?
I have been working in the mobility industry my whole life. It started ten years ago at Cabify, a Spanish ridesharing company. Cabify was the first ride hailing company to offset their carbon footprint. That really got me inspired and hooked on the topic. When I started my Masters in Data Science in London I quickly realised that there was a huge opportunity for micromobility in the city. At that time there were only Santander bikes available – they are not electrical, you need to pay and they have fixed docks, so a rather old fashioned way to move around if you don’t want to rely on public transport. The idea to combine new mobility trends and technology with the sustainability topic was then born. With Human Forest our aim is to help people to move around in a sustainable and very affordable way. The sustainability aspect carries into our inhouse operations: We use sustainable energy to swap and to charge all of our bikes’ batteries and also all of our fleet is all electrical and zero emission. At the beginning when starting off as a micromoblity operator we had to tackle a lot of different topics at the same time. Technology was one of the biggest and most important ones. We started doing some research and came across Wunder Mobility. Luckily I was able to travel to Germany at that time to meet the Wunder team in person and I was super impressed – not only with the technology, but also with the people who are working at Wunder. That’s why we decided to choose Wunder as our software provider. We have an advertising revenue model which is quite unique - we have a number of advertising partners on board. For example, during the trial we had Financial Times and Wholefoods, and now we have partners such as Bloomberg, Nutmeg and Oddbox who sponsor each ride. Of course all of the brands are aligned to our mission and vision as a company and they are also all related to sustainability. We have created our own digital marketing platform in-house and this is what we use to sponsor the rides. This is the big difference between our business model and that of other operators – the innovation is that we are combining mobility, sustainability and this digital marketing platform together to create this company. We are truly sustainable and this means not only that we create an impact on people and an impact on the planet, but also that we are a company that should make profits and grow in a sustainable and natural way.
You recently launched in London. Are there any particular challenges in the city for a sharing operator?
We did a trial in 2021 with 200 bikes – we now have 800 bikes on the streets. The trial helped us to understand more about the user behaviour, the main KPIs and also how to manage the operations properly.
In terms of our recent launch, we are really happy with this last month that we have been operating in London. It has been so successful that we’ve actually sold out the impressions, meaning at the moment we don’t have enough space for all the brands that want to be part of this. We are also acquiring a lot of new users with a low customer acquisition cost, even though winter is on its way. So we are growing - that’s why we are adding even more vehicles. We are happy because at the end of the day, we are offering a solution for people across London and our offer for users is very attractive because we offer ten minutes free every day. We are currently operating in Central London and are expecting to expand to the other parts of the city and next year we plan to expand in even further cities.
Has the uptake of e-bikes been positive since you launched?
Yes it has! I think people understand that they can make a small impact every day, just by changing their everyday behaviour. We are super happy about the results so far. In addition, our partners really like the advertising platform in terms of how they can communicate with users - it is different from other platforms, because instead of being full of advertising, it is more aligned with what the brands and Human Forest are doing.
You mentioned before why you chose Wunder - could you tell me a little bit about the setting-up process?
The process ran very smoothly and I really like how it is structured - both the team and the process. Back when it was just me in the team, with the co-founders Mike and Caroline, we just didn’t have enough time to review everything and so we trusted in the Wunder team. We’ve had some problems on this journey – for example with our first bikes – and I think this has shown the best side of Wunder. There are companies who back off when there are problems, but even when we were having a lot of troubles, Wunder still responded, they took charge of everything and I really believed then that we are growing together. It feels like we are in this together in terms of making our vision happen and using the technology. Of course sometimes we would love to have special features just for us, but I understand that there are other customers you work with. We have regular meetings with the Wunder team and give feedback about the service and prioritise what to work on together. My theory is that you really see someone’s true side when a problem arises and that shows the great side of Wunder. Even when we’ve had issues they have been so responsive as a company.
It sounds like you were in contact with a few different teams along the way, but that it went quite smoothly between these. Do you currently have someone you meet with regularly?
Yes, our Account Manager! We have been working together since the start. She knows everything about us and I think it is cool that we are so aligned. We have been using other services of Wunder Mobility: the software, the finance service, and I also work closely with your vehicles team to always try to find the best hardware. So even though you are more in charge of the software, we are using Wunder for the logistics. Sometimes you know that in this crazy world that we are living in now, logistics has been a nightmare and Wunder has been able to help us with that too, and be able to operate our fleets on time in the markets.
So you are using Wunder’s software, vehicles, and also using marketplace partners of ours with the integrations. What kind of benefits do you see from having that full package? How has this impacted your operations?
I can fully rely on the experience of Wunder when it comes to software, hardware and also logistics. So the best thing about this is that we have time to focus on what we do best, which is operating and growing our fleet. We can’t know everything about all these topics, so we can trust Wunder as the expert on these and we can focus on what we know how to do. In the end it’s a win-win situation.
What kind of advice would you give someone who is looking for a one-stop-shop solution for their mobility service?
There are many things to cover when starting a micromobility business. I would definitely recommend having Wunder as a partner. Wunder’s technology offers you a super strong platform you can rely on.
What is the future outlook for your business?
We are super happy with the results that we’ve been having this last month and we are planning to be the largest operator in London and launch two new cities in Europe. Reforest maybe the whole world, that’s our aim here. The idea is also to add more vehicles that are aligned to our vision. Therefore we are adding the Yadea G5L mopeds to our fleet soon. We do this with our main vision always in mind: to make a cleaner, greener, more sustainable city for all of us.
Watch the Human Forest case study: