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Fredrik Hjelm and Douglas Stark

Did you know that our previous BSc in Business & Economics students Fredrik Hjelm and Douglas Stark have been listed in the Forbes 30 under 30, class of 2020? Get to know them in this interview.

Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

Fredrik: I manage Douglas and he manages me. Except that I work a lot on HR, Finance, Product/tech and the Strategy side of the business.

Douglas: Most of my days I spend thinking about how to best run operations on the ground in all the cities across Europe that we operate in. Formally I'm COO and on the board.

What inspired you to start your company? Is there a story there?

Fredrik: I wanted to be free and build things! Now we are quite free and we are building a lot of things :) For Voi specifically, I saw Douglas riding his low quality e-scooter back in 2017 which inspired me!

Douglas: I just love scooters, it gives me a feeling of freedom and it's so fun. I want everyone to feel what I feel.


How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to where you are now or the career journey you have embarked on?

Fredrik: We learned what grit is and made friends who are working with us still today... And tried banking/consulting and realized that wasn't for us :)

Douglas: The first time I heard about Fredrik was my first day at SSE. Voi was founded at SSE Business Lab and we have many talented Voiagers coming from SSE. SSE expects a lot from everyone, both students and teachers, which attracts people that want to pursue great challenges.


What are 3 words that sum up your time at SSE?

Fredrik: Just do it!

Douglas: Ekporten, aulan, atriet

What is it that your company is doing that stands out so much in the transport/e-scooter industry? 

Fredrik: We are trying to have the strongest brand and most efficient operations in the business

Douglas: Fundamentally looking at the transportation business, what we do stands out in terms of enabling people to transport themselves in a fun and simple way without requiring anyone else to do the transporting for them.


How have you incorporated sustainability into your company’s everyday work?

Fredrik: It's central for us and goes through everything we done – from product design to our e-cargo bike operations

Douglas: What is more efficient for us, giving us lower costs and higher profit, is also more sustainable. For instance, we are now doing battery swaps in Stockholm with bikes and small electric vehicles. It is better for Voi and better for the planet.

How are you adjusting your operations during COVID-19? Are you working with specific companies/individuals to allow them transportation during this time?

Fredrik: Supporting key workers such as nurses/doctors, trying new business models and working from home much more!

Douglas: We have also been using this time to roll out our scooters with beacons on the head, signalling green for available and red for unavailable. This makes life easier for our operators as well as our riders to identify what scooter that is ready for a ride or ready for a fresh battery.


What advice would you give to students considering applying to SSE?

Fredrik: Just do it. And remember that your study time is one of the best times to try projects and ideas and found a company since you have no obligations really, besides passing the exams.

Douglas: If you get into SSE, that should be the last time you ever worry about failing. Once you are in, what you should seek for is opportunities to fail. These opportunities will show themselves in the classroom, in the student basement and in the world outside. Seize them all!