Aric Ohana and Ori Sagie of Envoy

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Aric Ohana and Ori Sagie, the co-founders of Envoy, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Envoy – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

The idea of Envoy came about while we were working on a student housing development. We were researching amenities we wanted to offer students that would provide services they needed. After looking into 3D printers, drafting rooms, etc., we realized that what most students needed was affordable transportation. That’s when the lightbulb went off and we came up with the idea of providing electric vehicles on property that students could book out through an app – we call it Mobility as an Amenity™. We quickly realized that this idea had far reaching potential beyond student housing to all multifamily residential markets and even workplaces and hotels. Now more than ever we realize transportation is an essential need. And, an affordable option located conveniently on your property is a huge value, especially when it’s only shared among neighbors (not the general public), as it’s easier to keep clean, sanitized, and safe. As most people are working from home or unemployed these days, the need for a daily commuting vehicle is less necessary. And as real estate is desperate to attract residents and maintain occupancy, Envoy is able to offer residents/tenants/employees/guests a convenient option to save money – and at little to no cost to the properties. It’s a win-win.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

COVID-19 – it has stalled financial markets and slowed our progress. That said, in the end, it might have opened up a big opportunity for us as all public shared mobility has shut down, leaving a dearth of supply to the growing need and demand. Also, automakers are sitting on high inventory levels and therefore offering attractive pricing that we can take advantage of.

What does the future hold for Envoy?

The sky’s the limit. We’re excited to be partnering with some of the largest CRE property ownership groups in the country and are looking to deploy throughout their portfolios. Eventually, we see the international markets on the horizon as well.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Culver City?

We love the tech scene here in Culver City. Especially before COVID, the vibe in the area was really exciting. You could feel the energy growing. It has that up-and-coming feel where new things are popping up all the time. As soon as the state reopens more, we’re sure it will thrive again soon.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
  • Define a framework and the strategic steps necessary to reach the short/medium/long term goals through constant quarterly check ins and resource balance across the company.
  • Assuming a true, successful business model, a key (needed) strength is the ability to act with the same focus and operational stability during hard and challenging times and know that there are many ways to ensure survivability and growth. If you thought you were trying hard, try harder. Growing a business from the ground up is not easy. You need to check your ego at the door, roll-up your sleeves, and be ready to do anything it takes.


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