After working in the world top IT company as the sales manager for many years, David Coulombel recently joins Vulog's leadership team as the Chief Sales Officer. Today, let's talk with David, to know about his story, his insights about the mobility and MaaS industry.
Hi David! You’ve just joined Vulog as Chief Sales Officer. Can you introduce yourself and share your vision of your role here and how it relates to your experience in the technology industry?
Hello, my name is David, I’m French and based in Paris. Yes, capital of fashion - but more importantly - a leader in all-things innovation! We’ve got the world’s largest start-up campus here, Station F, although we can’t forget the famous Sophia Antipolis technology park in Southern France.
Perhaps it’s in my blood, but I am, myself, quite interested in innovation and how IT has the potential to disrupt traditional markets. I’ve seen major industry shifts happen firsthand in my various professional experiences including 9 years at Microsoft and 5 years at Dell where I worked in sales on a number of medium and large-scale international projects involving hardware, software and various services.
A love for innovation and transformation is actually what drew me to Vulog in the first place. Vulog is not only a trusted partner - but also a pioneer - in automotive transformation. It’s at the heart of the shared mobility movement. But as the old saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility” and Vulog is no exception. We have a huge responsibility on our shoulders to ensure that our clients get only the very best service and that our technology is serving our cities and communities in the most efficient and sustainable ways possible. This will mean adapting our sales and negotiation methodology, engaging the right network of advisors and business partners and taking into account the client and market feedback in a transformational environment.
What drew you to Vulog?
As I mentioned earlier, I was drawn to Vulog for its innovative technology and capacity to transform the way we live and breathe...
But on a more personal level, I realized that there comes a time you have to ask yourself what you're really looking for in life. For me, this moment came this year at the age of 45. After almost 20 years working as a key account manager and sales team manager for major international IT groups, I realized that what I was really looking for was a people-centered organization that is making a visible and tangible difference in the world. The companies I worked for in the past have given me a lot in terms of opportunities and experience, and it is now my turn to give back and pay it forward by contributing this knowledge towards making a positive impact.
Vulog’s core mission to bring clean mobility to cities and combat climate change really hits home. Transport is responsible for 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion and three-quarters of transport CO2 emissions come from road vehicles (private vehicles, buses, etc.). So the air that you and I are breathing right here in Paris - or that any number of our clients are breathing in cities across the world - are directly impacted by our individual choice to purchase and use a private vehicle versus a shared vehicle.
Being a part of a trendy start-up on this day and a change of disruption is fantastic. But being part of the environmental movement towards a greener, healthier planet by directly participating in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through Mobility Services is exhilarating!
Your day to day activities suddenly take on greater meaning and importance, because what you’re doing isn’t just about you anymore - it’s about your children, your community and ultimately, humanity.
You joined Vulog 1 week ago. What is your first impression so far?
Vulog has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, you can feel that employees are passionate about what they do and share common values. These past few days I was able to spend some time with the Technical & Development teams in Nice and have been very impressed by their vast experience and knowledge - plus their enthusiasm is extremely palpable and contagious! I’m a firm believer that a positive work culture translates to happy customers and Vulog seems to confirm this philosophy.
How do you see the MaaS (Mobility As A Service) market evolve in the next few years?
Fast! In an age of transformation and disruption, only the most agile and robust companies will survive. Like most other products out on the market these days, shared mobility isn’t just about the vehicle itself. It’s about creating a story that speaks to the consumer and adapting it to fit their lifestyle. Considering a wide set of factors, I see the mobility market continue to structure and develop itself on an international scale at exponential rates.
And as demand grows, so does competition. Interestingly enough, we’ve observed some competitors becoming increasingly more aggressive as they try to penetrate the market. This is a shame because, at the end of the day, we are all working towards one common goal. Having been on the market since 2006 long before shared mobility was “cool”, Vulog has never focused its energy on taking down competitors. Our focus is - and will always be - how best to raise up our clients, our partners, and our industry! This is the only way that we are going to ensure that the industry thrives and cultivates positive change.
Name one of your favorite modes of shared mobility vehicles.
Carsharing! I like traveling by car but don’t like the hassle that comes with owning one, especially since I don’t need one every day.
It’s interesting because I’ve heard some people say that shared mobility is a “younger generation thing”, but I disagree. Many of my friends and I who live in Paris do not own cars (needless to say, after hitting our 40s we no longer belong to the “younger generation”) and therefore, we rely on shared mobility services to get around town. The choices are so wide and varied, why wouldn’t you take advantage of such convenient (and green!) options?
Anything else we should know about you?
Not only do we practice “shared mobility” at Vulog, but it turns out we share some of the same passions - I am a “bon vivant” which basically means that I’m a big fan of wine tastings and celebrating the little things in life. I was very happy to find out that my colleagues are, too!