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 Johanna Loomis, Industrial Design Lead

Johanna Loomis is Industrial Design Lead at Vay. Previously, she gained experience in various international design agencies. As Design Manager and Project Lead she worked with various clients such as Bosch, Dräger and Siemens in B2B and B2C. Together they developed distinctive design identities, experiences and strategies to make the core of the brand tangible for customers through their products.

Johanna Loomis
What is your role at Vay?

Industrial design is about developing physical user interactions for our products and services and creating design concepts and products in collaboration with Mechanical Engineering, UX (user experience) Research and the digital UI (user interface) department to communicate the brand identity of our mobility service to the customer. In our context, it means, for example, designing the exterior of the vehicle to be easily recognizable at the pick-up location or introducing a customized smell to create a relaxing atmosphere inside the vehicle. At the same time, we are also working on the driving experience, ergonomics and interactions of the teledrive station to make the new profession of teledriver attractive.

How does being an industrial designer differ between different industries?

Industrial designers by nature have an interface position within a company and are inherently process-oriented. By using these points of contact with marketing, development, production and project management, communication between the individual departments can be improved and processes accelerated, making projects more efficient and streamlined. The differences in each case lie in the type of product and how much system thinking is required in the background. But also in how decisions are made and what influence the designers (as sympathisers for the users) have in the organisation and thus also on the design quality of the final product.

Why did you choose to work at Vay? 

I see a lot of value for the brand in creating a holistic user experience. Industrial design is not just about the physical aesthetics, but about the unique user experience behind the entire customer journey. This creates an emotional connection with the customer. The brand is the key component of a holistic user experience and connects the different touch points into a recognisable image.

Exploring how target groups experience the brand and focusing on key moments is challenging when there is no comparable product on the market yet. Nevertheless, it is a great opportunity to start with a blank sheet of paper and have the possibility to create a benchmark.

Vay has a sophisticated culture and vision and is a mid-stage start-up that gave me the opportunity as Industrial Design Lead to join a company that has significantly less risk than super young start-ups.

It’s also very appealing to work in small, interdisciplinary teams, to quickly take on responsibility, to do something meaningful that no one has done before and probably to do more than the job description says. All this makes me and my competences grow a lot in a short time.

And most importantly, I have the chance to be part of this highly motivated, user-centred design team and play a major role in shaping the direction and future of the company at this stage.

What are you working on and what influences your work?

I am developing a design language that is strategically rooted in the core values of the Vay brand. Specific elements  will be found in both physical pieces and other media, to appeal to users’ senses.

My experience with different clients and target groups (from e-car chargers, firefighting and industrial equipment, medical equipment to outdoor equipment, just to name a few) had made my way of thinking, understanding problems and thinking my way into unfamiliar topics very flexible. This means that when circumstances change, I am able to work around them, rethink them or find new, maybe even better solutions. Having this tool in my pocket helps me a lot in a startup environment.

Certainly, mega, macro and micro trends in design, mobility and society have a big impact on our customers’ expectations. Repeatedly seen visual cues determine what people find attractive. We need to be aware of the current movements and align our decisions and orientations accordingly.

What are your top three learnings that helped shape your career?

The first and most important thing I would say is to have a vision and a culture of growth. A vision for yourself but also for the team is crucial for a motivating work environment. My role as Design Lead is to shape a healthy culture and be a good example of positive, collaborative communication.

It sounds very simple, but the second big learning experience of working for multiple clients at the same time is: make a plan! A plan gives you, your team and everyone involved in the project certainty, a framework in which designers can let off steam, and it ensures that any issues discovered are addressed.

The third point is to collect arguments with decision criteria before the design project starts. The prioritisation of criteria may change during the process, but the basis should be established. It is ensured that the requirements of all stakeholders are collected in advance. In this way, the design results can be assessed neutrally on the basis of measurable decision criteria and not just on the gut feeling and emotions of certain people. Considering that gut feeling can also be a criterion in the list, generating positive emotions is the result of good design.

What do you like to do besides work?

As for work related topics, I read a lot about trends in mobility and movements in society. I like to meet friends, enjoy good wine and food and get inspired in conversations about god and the world. Outside of work, I continue to create products and experiences, but with my bare hands. I like to knit and sew soft toys for my friends’ children. To blow off steam, I regularly play volleyball in a mixed team, go swimming or enjoy hiking in the mountains.

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