Thomas
von der Ohe

Co-Founder, CEO

WHAT DRIVES ME

You come across an opportunity to positively impact societies around the globe maybe once in your lifetime. An opportunity to truly make a difference. Our unique approach to autonomous driving gives us this chance: redefining how people move in a better way. Building and shipping a product with this great team is what drives me day and night.

BACKGROUND

Launched Zoox’ first self-driving vehicle on public streets as leading Technical Program Manager in Silicon Valley, launched Amazon’s first Echo as leading Technical Program Manager on Device Software, Founded two (funded) mobility companies. M. Sc. Computer Science & Product, Stanford University.

Fabrizio
Scelsi

Co-Founder, VP Engineering

WHAT DRIVES ME

Building products together with an amazing team based on cutting-edge technology to serve a greater purpose and solve problems – for the people, for our planet.

BACKGROUND

Manager of an engineering team in Silicon Valley to build autonomous shuttles, built teams and various mobility products: electric race cars, e-motorcycles, light electric vehicles, electric passenger vehicles, including one of the most successful electric delivery vehicles in Germany. RWTH Aachen, Imperial College London.

Bogdan
Djukic

Co-Founder, Director Engineering, Teledrive Experience

WHAT DRIVES ME

Vay is aiming to launch the first vehicle without a safety driver on public roads in Europe. This involves exciting engineering challenges, many of which have never been worked on before, ranging from autonomous vehicle technology, cybersecurity, backend, machine learning and safety-critical SW. Coming up with engineering solutions to these topics is something that I’m super excited to work on at Vay.

BACKGROUND

Team Lead at Microsoft, Senior Software Engineer at Skype. M. Sc. in Computer Science from Belgrade University.

Mariona
Bosch

Director of Engineering Operations

WHAT DRIVES ME

Working closely with people from different cultures and professional backgrounds (hardware, software, operations, etc.) gives me the chance to learn new ways of approaching projects, structuring teams, and setting up processes every day. The results of this incredible teamwork are hugely rewarding, and visible in each step of our product.

BACKGROUND

Part of the management circle at AUDI AG, responsible for the implementation of prototypes at early development stages of new products (innovation vehicles, concept and pre-series vehicles, show cars, design models, testing single parts, PoCs, 3D-printing)

Hans-Leo
Ross

Director of Safety

WHAT DRIVES ME

All my professional life I have been working for the protection and safety of people and the environment. I want to further provide safe and user-friendly automation systems for our future mobility needs.

BACKGROUND

25+ years experience in system safety at Conti., Mando, Bosch. Led the VDA working group in Germany to create ISO 26262 and influenced worldwide safety standardization. Author of several text books on functional safety.

Justin
Spratt

VP - Business & Corporate Development

WHAT DRIVES ME

What drives me is to work on goals that have a big impact on society. Additionally, I wanted to work with the smartest and most innovative people in the tech world. That’s better at Vay than any other company I’ve spoken to recently.

BACKGROUND

Was CEO and chief growth officer at Quirk. Began his professional life at Morgan Stanley as a fixed income trader after studying economics and finance. Built the first startup incubator in Africa in 2002 and has been mentoring founders of technology startups for over ten years. He is an angel investor in software technology and holds board positions in some of these companies.

Friederike
Reuter

Director of Expansion

WHAT DRIVES ME

Solving complex problems with ambitious and talented people who don’t accept the status quo. And having fun at the same time.

BACKGROUND

Political theorist turned economist turned venture builder. I hold degrees in economics from Harvard and Oxford, where I was a Rhodes Scholar, and spent a couple years as a consultant incubating and advising digital businesses at BCG.

Christian
Hertlein

Director of Product Design and Brand

WHAT DRIVES ME

Building the future of mobility, which is sustainable and truly serving the needs of people, by creating a holistic experience, a relatable brand and shaping services that are going to make a difference to how we move within and between cities.

BACKGROUND

Head of Global Design at N26, Senior Lead Designer at IDEO, in-car interactions for Volkswagen.

David
Gossow

Engineering Lead

WHAT DRIVES ME

After having worked in autonomous robotics research for a long time in the Silicon Valley, I am thrilled to be working at a company that is finally bringing this technology into people’s everyday lives.

BACKGROUND

Tech Lead at Google Tango in Mountain View, Research Engineer at Willow Garage, yoga instructor since 2018.

Vladimir
Bilonenko

Senior Engineering Manager

WHAT DRIVES ME

Helping engineers to do their best and most important work. Elegance in software. Bringing ideas from books to real life and from one domain to another. Going from A to B fast.

BACKGROUND

Software Generalist. Maps and Mobility Geek (Lon, Lat not Lat, Lon). High Load at Yandex, Geo Analytics and Last Mile at HERE Maps, Mobility Platform at Daimler. Conway’s Law Enthusiast.

Beatrice
Tîrziu

Software Engineer

WHAT DRIVES ME

The people around me. Seeing the team have such drive, determination and passion is unique and certainly contagious.

BACKGROUND

Having a B. Sc. and M. Sc. in Computer Science, I joined Vay as a Software Engineer in the company’s first months and early in my career. Still growing and learning together two years later.

 

ALINA
PRESTI

Teledriver

WHAT DRIVES ME

A car enthusiast, driven by cars, driving and technology.

BACKGROUND

Nursery school teacher. Driver at Skoda’s start-up Caredriver.

Anja
Rechtsteiner

Head of Communications

WHAT DRIVES ME

What drives me is to start something from scratch and use all my experience to find the best way to communicate our exciting story. I believe my work can have an impact on how people feel about more sustainable transportation options.

BACKGROUND

Worked in leading communication agencies for 15 years such as fischerAppelt and Ketchum in Germany and the UK for various brands and companies from FMCG to travel to mobility. Holds an MBA in Communication & Leadership from Quadriga University as well as a Master degree in History, Sociology and Media & Art Studies from University of Constance.

Johanna
Loomis

Lead Industrial Designer

WHAT DRIVES ME

What drives me at Vay is the enthusiasm and passion for a vision that is tangibly embedded in the company culture, and at the same time the discipline in its implementation.

BACKGROUND

Industrial Designer and Team Lead at TEAMS Design GmbH for over six years, started as a Trainee in Shanghai, China. Worked as Industrial and Product Designer at Lothar Böhm Associates, Lutz Herrmann Design and Werksdesign. Completed the GROW Design Leadership & Management Training and is an IF-Award jury since 2022.

Meet Christian Hertlein, Director of Design and Brand

Christian Hertlein shapes Vay’s identity as Director of Design and Brand. He has built our brand and is developing the overall brand image, product design as well as the Vay experience together with his team. Christian has worked in various fields, including roles as Head of Global Design at N26, as Senior Lead Designer at IDEO and at in-car interactions for Volkswagen.

Christian Hertlein
What is your role at Vay?

I am Director of Product Design & Brand. My role is to enable a team of designers, product managers, and marketing experts to create a disruptive product from a holistic approach, incorporating strategies and frameworks from a design-minded perspective. 

Tell us a bit about your career before you joined Vay.

When I was still at school, I was already programming websites. Very soon I had to deal with who the visitors of these pages are and why they visit them. Besides the pure intention, I also wanted to understand how to make them more attractive and user-friendly. That was the point when I decided to become a designer. 

I studied Interaction Design in Sweden and Germany, which is exactly the overlap between design, technology and psychology. 

After graduating, I worked in various companies, such as in marketing at Mercedes Benz and in the consumer innovation division of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories. Over time, I grew further into innovation consulting, first at IXDS/PwC and later joining IDEO. After several years I decided to move on and joined N26, a mobile challenger bank, where I have been leading their design departments. Building culture, scaling the team from 6 to 60 people, shaping a holistic product experience, and repositioning the brand towards the early majority were key achievements during this period. 

What made you join Vay?

I was fascinated by three different aspects: culture, vision, and opportunity.

During the first conversations, I have experienced a like-minded perspective toward culture, which is key for me to value and is a basic element to building a sustainable work atmosphere that unleashes creativity. 

The vision is something I was able to relate to immediately. I strongly believe design plays an important role to serve user needs and owns an essential part to shape how we want to live in the future. Vay’s vision to positively affect cities and mobility in the future is more than relevant, it will impact all of our lives. 

Creating and shaping an experience that bridges digital, physical, and service experiences to generate a holistic experience with such a large impact on people’s lives is rare and a great opportunity.

How would you describe Vay’s brand identity?
What was the process behind building the brand from scratch?

I would like to start by giving my perspective on what a brand is. 

A brand is one of the fundamental pillars of a company. It shapes and articulates personality, unifies goals, and contributes significantly to recognition. For this reason, a brand in a technology company is an integral part of the product and vice versa. Both influence each other and thus belong inseparably together.

Now the concept of a product is very broad and does not sufficiently do justice to what a company does. For this reason, the brand must also reflect those components that are not a core part of the product, which at the same time ensures the flexibility of how a brand evolves. 

This was our starting point to create the Vay brand. We wanted to create an identity for the exciting future we are working on that clearly puts the user at the center of all efforts, as well as the possibilities. 

For this, we started to establish a deep understanding of our business, our culture, our audiences, and our potential competition. Various workshops helped us to gather diverse perspectives and influences in order to define core attributes and sharpen our corporate values.

This was followed by a development of a future-proof brand strategy platform and a story to articulate what Vay stands for – internally and externally. The brand platform contains our meaningful differences, brand positioning as well as our brand attributes. This can be seen as the theoretical basis on which the translation into the most diverse perceptible areas takes place.

The very first perception takes place in the principle of the positioning of a brand, articulated as a manifesto as well as in the definition of the brand purpose.

The manifesto and brand purpose, as well as the brand attributes, served us as a basis, as orientation principles, to elaborate brand elements such as the logo, the typeface, the color palette, the general graphic language, and the visual language as well as the tone of voice.

The goal of Vay’s brand design is to create an accessible product that reduces the fear of the new and puts the human being in the foreground in all respects – with all the needs and desires that people have. Design does not have the task to be beautiful, it must be immersive and perceptible. 

How are you implementing the brand identity at Vay? 

We strive to create a holistic experience. Simply put, the experience takes place on three levels: The digital, physical, and the service experience.

So the exciting thing is to create an experience from the very first touchpoint someone has with us to the digital experiences in the browser or our app as well as in the physical environment of the car. 

That’s why we have an interdisciplinary team of marketing experts, product managers, brand designers, product designers, industrial designers, and user researchers who continue to define, refine and grow Brand. Bridging the gap between a digital and physical experience is considered one of the biggest challenges. 

How does an app smell, how does a visual language sound, and haptically is a brand in a car? This is the change of perspective we undertake in order to find answers and create a truly holistic brand. 

How does being a brand & design professional influence your personal life?

I believe that one becomes a designer out of conviction, not only as a job. 

In my case, I started with a classic education as a graphic designer. It was only later in my interaction design studies and in my work as an innovation consultant that my attitude towards design changed. 

Design is a mindset, a way of identifying opportunities from a different perspective and designing solutions. Design accompanies me every day, in everything I do. I especially love to be inspired, at dinners with friends, concerts, or exhibitions. My focus is always on the immersive, the sensory combination. At concerts, this is the atmosphere influenced by the people, the light and stage show, as well as the music itself.

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