Green logistics is one of the key drivers for a more sustainable mobility sector. However, B2B deliveries, and especially the last mile, mostly happen on the road which is not the most sustainable solution – it is resource-intensive and highly affecting the environment. Thus, Nil, Natalia, Marvin and Anurag are building a booking platform for drone delivery: goldfinch. By taking transportation into the air, the team aims to reduce carbon emissions, add to the redistribution of urbanization, and support the infrastructure in rural areas.
1. Why did you join “The Mission” and what did you expect from the program?
Nil: In my opinion, the transport infrastructure is a cornerstone of a society because it directly affects the lives of the people. Hence, one of the reasons for me to join The Mission was the overall topic. Further, my long-time friend Chris came out of the program with a start-up idea. Even more fascinating to me, however, was how three months had changed him tremendously. I was very curious to find out how participating in “TheMission” would change me. Sure enough, I wanted to leave my mark, find a great team and idea, and disrupt the mobility sector – but to a greater extent, Iwanted to feel strengthened. And believe me, seven weeks in, my expectations have been met! I’m very focused, and I feel that Futury is empowering me to push myself even further every day – and have fun along the way, too.
Natalia: Creation and generating change are the two variables that have motivated me to become a designer and that, years later, led me to the The Mission Mobility project – not only because the program seeks togenerate innovative solutions, but also because it has the ideal ecosystem to develop potential business concepts that base on values and sustainability, and to create a greater impact on society and the environment. I am a person with high expectations, and I must say that throughout the program, I have been very satisfied with my experience and the things that I have learned. However, there is always room for more, right? Now, my expectations rely more on taking our project to the next level and continuing the journey within this amazing network of creators. Looking forward to the next steps!
Anurag: As an Engineer, I have always had a passion for innovation and along with this, I am a huge mobility enthusiast – so when The Mission for mobility popped up, I just could not let this opportunity pass by, and I had to get on board on this amazing journey. I came in with the expectation of having the right infrastructure to think and I have to say that Futury did not disappoint me. Futury has just the right infrastructureto give you a once in a lifetime experience if you are motivated to be an innovator and plan to be an entrepreneur. The Mission is designed pretty well, which truly helped me exploring my full potential. Also, it is helping me to have a customer-centric approach towards innovation.
Marvin: The most urgent reason is the desire to be able to put a project plan into practice. In addition, it is the pure creation of a business plan in order to go the next step – founding a company – which, unfortunately, comes too short in the university environment.
2. What mobility challenge is the most pressing in your opinion, and how will your solution change the sector?
Nil: Currently, we see the challenge of an infrastructure decay in suburban / rural areas and, at the same time, the issue of urban areas’ overcrowding. As the needs of society change, transportation infrastructure hurdles to keep up and to adjust to society’s demands. We see that multiple technologies are ready to serve our needs, one of them being the drone. However, technology is not taking off fast enough. Our solution is a market-network-solution that sets the ground for drones to optimize the transport infrastructure of urgently needed parcel delivery in rural and suburban areas. In the future, we will change the way of thinking about transportation of parcels for good, by adding drones as new players to the market.
Natalia: I believe that accessibility and sustainability are the factors that require more attention, because although we live in a globalized reality, many communities are still deprived of basic needs due to the lack of infrastructure. On the other hand, seeing mobility an essential day-to-day activity, it is our obligation to control the socio-environmental impact that it generates. This is why we decided to develop a solution that promotes and supports the technological transition in the existing B2B transportation models in order to reduce environmental impact and optimize the existing solutions – by making use of drones and the vertical space to give versatility to the mobility of goods in the logistics sector.
Anurag: I think that mobility in especially Germany or Europe needs more digital and service-oriented solutions. As far as public transport is concerned, Europe truly has one of the best connectivity and infrastructure, but to be able to use these infrastructures to its full potential and to make future mobility flexible, there needs to be more digitaland service-oriented solutions. Along with this, I also feel that it is very important to make sustainable mobility more profitable – it is often the case that when we think of sustainable mobility solutions, they end up having a huge burden on the economic side of an organization. Adding profitability to sustainable mobility solutions would encourage more and more companies to adapt sustainable solutions.
Marvin: We want to bring the future of transportation into the third dimension by educating the delivery industry and creating a market network that connects drone service providers and the delivery industry. Thereby, we will pave the way for the growth in the drone transportation market.
3. Which corporate partners are you working with, and how has this collaboration helped you so far?
Nil: Our corporate partners support us in thinking big by taking small steps. Both Wingcopter and Droniq show a lot of passion, precision,and dedication to their work and to the optimal use of drones for commercial transportation, which – to me – is truly infectious. Furthermore, having DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung as a counterpart and, in a way, representation of the institutional side makes us tackle existing issues of the emerging market of drones. All in all, our partners help us to constantly innovate and to increase the quality of our solution for a quick integration after the end of this program.
Natalia: Being on this journey and working hand in hand withour corporate partners helped our team to generate a solution that will empower the drone market. Working with Wingcopter has not only allowed us to get closer to innovation and the world of drones, but it has also strengthened our point of view regarding the positive impact that technology has on the humandevelopment and well-being. Our sessions with Droniq promoted our pro-innovation thinking to reach results with high value and differentiation. On the other hand, the accompaniment of DFS supports the development of a framework for our solution, considering the regulatory requirements that are necessary for the execution of our project.
Anurag: One of the best things that Futury offers is the opportunity to interact and learn from the corporate partners as they help you throughout the journey of the program. Droniq, DFS and Wingcopter have surely been THE corporate partners for us as they have always been available for us to provide guidance and advice.
Marvin: The great thing about this program is that we have so many different partners on board that are willing to help the teams. We are mainly working with drone-related partners such as Wingcopter, DFS and Droniq. However, we are always more than open to getting different perspectives and, hence, are in contact with further companies from this and the previous Missions.
4. How do you organize your meetings and how do you prepare for the pitch presentations?
Nil: Next to the practical part of organizing meetings, pitches and other milestones, I think that it is crucial to understand where everyone’s strengths and weaknesses lie – meaning that we structure our tasks around our profiles, and do not get led by organization. We accept everyone’s personal working styles, and clearly distinguish between individual “do-not-disturb" working times and group discussions. Since under pressure,you need to juggle multiple tasks at the same time. Also, we actively assign alead for each task, which helps us to pull on multiple strings together without creating a one-lead-effect.
Natalia: Our work organization is based on a framework for agile methodologies: "SCRUM". Based on the project and sprint goals, we schedule meetings that allow us to set clear objectives and to assign tasks. Additionally, we ensure the success of the sprint through follow-up meetings inwhich we align on information and work styles. As a team, we also take the time to talk about our personal opinions and expectations. The final pitch is the biggest sprint for us as participants in The Mission, and it is our goal-basedwork style that helps us to be prepared.
Anurag: It is very important to understand each and every individual in the team and to align on their working schedule when having team meetings, as this not only gives a sense of freedom that an entrepreneur craves but also leads to better teamwork – this reflects in the performance of not only the individual but also the team. As far as the preparation of the pitch is concerned, we have very well understood that the presenter has to feel most comfortable with the presentation and the content – hence, we have always focused on giving the presenter the lead for designing the pitch and this approach has also reflected in our pitches. Although suggestions are always welcome, we abide by the rule that it is the presenter who has to feel most comfortable and confident.
Marvin: We implemented working in sprints, meaning that we have daily and further group meetings as necessary. Compared to the beginning of the Mission, our meetings are getting more efficient and goal-oriented. Concerning the pitch presentation, we did a good job in distributing the work, which led to a result that, I guess, is worth seeing.
5. And lastly: would you join “The Mission” again?
Nil: Without hesitation, yes! As Vanessa, our program director, said once in the beginning of our journey: It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Natalia: Being part of The Mission isa great opportunity to grow, learn, meet people and overcome many challenges,and that is why I would live the experience again!
Anurag: Although I feel other aspiring innovators or creators deserve the stage for the future Missions, the inner me would always love to be part of the upcoming Missions because – as I said – I thrive for innovation and Futury provides just the right infrastructure to innovate. I always thought that The Mission would change me professionally, and I have to accept that itis doing just that. Kudos to team Futury!
Marvin: At this point, a clear yes and thumbs up. Thanks for a great time so far!
Thumbs up to our talents as well, and we are really impressed by their personal and professional growth. At Futury, we want to inspire, match and enable entrepreneurial talentsand corporate partners to innovate together and when looking at goldfinch, we clearly succeeded. The team truly benefits from its cultural diversity and diverse academic backgrounds, and we are keen to see their vision becoming true – let’s wait for the final pitch.
As always, stay tuned and stay healthy,