Meet the team behind one of Europe’s largest peer-to-peer rental and ridesharing companies. This is the second part of a three part series highlighting some of the best start-up teams in Denmark.
GoMore was founded in 2005 by Matias Møl Dalsgaard (CEO) and Søren Riis who had been inspired by the ridesharing culture that existed in Germany. At that time, ridesharing was coordinated “offline” using billboards in public spaces such as university cafeterias but Matias and Søren saw the potential to take the concept to Denmark and online. GoMore is now one of Europe’s largest ridesharing companies and also offers peer-to-peer car rentals and car leasing.
Frederik Nellemann joined GoMore in 2016 after graduating from Harvard Business School and spending 4 years at a “big corporate” biotech company called Novozymes. Frederik is the Chief Product Officer at GoMore where he is responsible for design and development but in his own words is “not a designer or developer.” We asked him why he decided to leave his corporate job to work for a small start-up in Copenhagen.
How did you end up at GoMore?
I studied economics in England and Spain before spending two years as a Management Consultant with McKinsey in Copenhagen. I felt that I was learning a lot at McKinsey but I pretty quickly realized that I didn’t feel closer to understanding what I wanted to do with my career so I decided to go to Harvard Business School to expand my horizons. I came back to Denmark and was inspired to focus on sustainability and the green revolution which brought me to Novozymes. This turned out to be a big company where I did a variety of typical “ex-consulting” roles but I felt I needed to be a place where I could get closer to decision making. I had known about GoMore for a while because Matias had also worked for McKinsey and I liked how GoMore has changed the way people think about transportation in Denmark. I had a lot of respect for Matias so when he asked if I wanted to join it was a no brainer.
What is the upside of working at a startup?
The best part of working for a startup is that you can wear a lot of different hats. Startups usually do a lot of things wrong but you can’t wait for someone else to solve the problems. It’s not enough to point to the problems but you also need to help solve them because no one else is going to do it for you. I like the mode of being on the bleeding edge of innovation where nobody knows how to solve problems better than us. Personally I got a lot more responsibility than I would have gotten at a corporate and I learnt more in 2 years at GoMore than 4 years at Novozymes.
What is the downside of working at a startup?
I was looking at joining a startups when I got back from HBS but there was a monetary concern with some of the dialogues. Startups are all about upsides and that wasn’t realistic for me at the time. I also think that startups sometimes can also be glorified just for being a startup. We have to remember that a startup is just an indication of where the company is in the life cycle. To me the point is more about solving cool problems and you can do that at a big company as well. I value my corporate background to understand what needs to be in place to ensure that a group of people can move in the right direction. Some things might feel bureaucratic around in a corporate setting but the truth is that it wouldn’t work without that.
Josephine Ahlefeldt-Laurvigh joined GoMore in 2017 as Customer Experience Manager and already manages over ten customer support and and customer experience specialists. Josephine initially thought she was going to work in the hospitality industry until her friend at GoMore convinced her to interview for a job.
How did you end up at GoMore?
I studied service management at Copenhagen Business School and I have always been fascinated by customer facing work. I thought I was going to work with tourism in the hotel industry but then my friend told me about this great company she was working for and that they needed people for the customer care team. In the beginning I was in doubt about wanting to work in a customer care role, probably because it's (wrongly) seen as just a call center job. But I really wanted to work at GoMore so I interviewed and got the job. I then worked 60 hours a week where I was working 9 to 5 in my “regular” job and spent the rest of the time doing projects for my boss. All because I loved what I was doing, helping GoMore members and increasing sales at the same time. That developed and then gradually I took over more responsibilities and now I’m managing the entire customer support and customer experience team.
What is it like working at GoMore?
It has been a huge learning experience. It is very motivating to see that you are part of the decision making processes and point at specific things that you and your team have done. You’re part of a young team and if you work hard then you can develop yourself and the business a lot within a short timeframe. In GoMore there is strong culture for solving problems and business developing across teams. GoMore is anything but silos that you see in big companies – in GoMore there is shared passion for our community and a common drive for things to work out - even if it means helping out other teams or working weekends.
Advice for people who want to work at a startup?
It’s important not be “too good” to start somewhere. You need to find a company that’s working on something very meaningful and if you also know that the people are clever and ambitious, then it isn't so important what the actual role is. Once you have the foot in the door then you can show what you’re capable of and move up in the organization.
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