Arna, you joined Wind about 9 months ago and are currently managing Wind’s e-scooter operations in the Nordics. What has led you to become part of the Wind team?
I moved to Oslo to study and have always been interested in working at a startup where things move quickly and where I can be part of building a company from the ground up. When electric scooters first came to Oslo in spring 2019, I just knew I wanted to be a part of this micro-mobility revolution. When I heard that Wind was planning to launch in Oslo and that it would be their biggest launch in the Nordics I wanted to be a part of that. Since then I have launched operations in both Bergen and Reykjavík and running the operations in the Nordics has been one exciting journey!
You are also responsible for Wind’s central operations. What does that responsibility entail?
As we operate in multiple countries and in over 35 cities with offices in China, Germany and Spain and teams working remotely, local markets need support from a central level. The central team helps standardising processes globally, improve operational efficiency, analyse and compare data between markets and also help with any obstacles local operations face. The Central team plays a key role when it comes to scaling up the business while ensuring sustainability within operations.
Wind currently has 1,500 scooters on the streets in Oslo and 300 scooters in Bergen. Why has Wind expanded to Norway?
Norway has been on the forefront of carbon emission reduction. Oslo as Norway’s capital has set up an ambitious plan to transform the inner city and become completely car free. Oslo has closed off streets in the city center to cars entirely. The city removed all on-street parking spots inside the city’s inner ring road and instead expanded the cycling lane network and constructed parks and pedestrian areas. Electric scooters are playing an integral role in this transformation and complement existing modes of transport. Norwegian people in general are early adopters of technology and innovative solutions play a central part in society. So Wind decided to support Norwegian cities in their efforts and launch operations first in Oslo and later on in Bergen where our vehicles have become an essential part of people’s daily commute and city life.
What challenges are you facing and how has Wind’s operations in Norway improved since the launch?
The people of Oslo are early adopters and the infrastructure of the city is favorable for micro-mobility services. However, there now is quite a large volume of e-scooters in the Norwegian capital. The parking of e-scooters in the city has definitely been one of the main concerns. We work closely with the city to discuss the parking and other issues and find solutions. Last year, the e-scooter operators in Oslo launched the first joint street patrol to help make sure scooters are parked correctly. This was definitely a great initiative and we have seen positive results. We are definitely starting to see a positive trend when it comes to the parking behaviour of users and we hope that with continued user education and well-run operations this we will see further improvement for the upcoming season.
Isn’t it dangerous to leave your scooter fleet on the streets during the winter months?
It can be challenging to operate in markets where the weather changes drastically between seasons but our local operations team and a robust scooter that is made specifically for the sharing industry allow us to have maintain our service over the winter months. Of course, we are monitoring weather conditions very closely. Our local team responds quickly when the service needs to be paused during snow storms or adverse weather conditions. We always want to provide our users with a service all year around and that’s why we have tested hardware features like studded tires to improve safety for riding in tough weather conditions.
Arna Ægisdóttir is Wind’s Country Manager Nordics & Central Operations Lead