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. Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University.

Fabrizio
Scelsi

Co-Founder, CTO

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, VP 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

VP Programs and 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

Safety Advisor

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

CBO - 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

Responsible for global strategic partnerships at Uber, where he focused on deals with automotive OEMs, vehicle fleet operators, vehicle battery technology companies and electrification infrastructure providers. 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.

Anja
Rechsteiner

Director 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 for 15 years in leading communication agencies 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.

Caleb
Varner

US General Manager

WHAT DRIVES ME

We’re close to letting users experience the Vay Magic for the first time in Las Vegas and I know that they are going to find it a compelling mix of great value powered by a super slick in-app experience. It’s awesome to have the opportunity to take this piece of underlying tech (remote driving) and build an experience around it that users will use, love and tell their friends about.

BACKGROUND

Co-founded and served as the Global General Manager of Uber Rent & Valet, a new mobility investment by Uber. Lead the Global Vehicles team at Uber, overseeing critical planning and P&L responsibilities. Built Uber’s vehicles business in Latin America from the ground and managed the customer-facing financial services business across Sub-Saharan Africa. Lead international financial services strategy engagements with the Boston Consulting Group for John Deere, focusing on regions like Brazil, Africa, and India. Owns a Masters of Business Administration of Duke University.

David
Gossow

Senior Principal Software Engineer

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.

Johanna
Loomis

Lead Industrial Designer

WHAT DRIVES ME

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

BACKGROUND

Industrial Product Design Lead at TEAMS DESIGN GmbH for over six years, started as a Trainee in Shanghai City. Worked as Industrial and Product Designer at LOTHAR BOHM ASSOCIATES LIMITED, Lutz Herrmann Design, Indeed Innovation and Werksdesign.

Vladimir
Bilonenko

Director of Software Engineering

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.

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.

Stefano
Buzzanca

Head of Operations

WHAT DRIVES ME

What drives me at Vay is the magic. That daily feeling that every small step forward, every single improvement, every small success is a step towards the final goal: to create something unique that will change the lives of many.

BACKGROUND

His 20+ years of experience in various mobility companies make him a great leader and KPI driven operator at Vay. Launched and ran various mobility services in 16+ cities, focused on free-floating car-sharing.

Thomas von der Ohe is named Founder of the Year

We are more than excited to share that our co-founder and CEO, Thomas von der Ohe, was named “Founder of the Year” by the Startup-Verband.

André Schürrle, former German football player, and Thomas von der Ohe, co-founder and CEO at Vay

On May 11 2023, the German Startup Award ceremony was held in Berlin. This exciting event is organized by the Startup-Verband and attended by many inspiring guests, including our Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

As the representative and voice of startups in Germany, the German Startup-Verband (German Startup Association) aims to create a favorable environment for startups and to promote their interests vis-à-vis politics, society, and the economy.

This event brings together innovative and forward-thinking minds and incredible special guests like Düzen Tekkal, Nico Rosberg, Janne Müller-Wieland, André Schürrle.

This year Thomas was nominated in the category “Founder of the Year”, together with David Nothacker (co-founder & CEO at sennder) and Hanno Renner (co-founder and CEO at Personio). 

Thomas, as well as the whole Vay team and Vay’s supporters, are happy to have won this prestigious award. In 2022 it was won by Jochen Engert, founder & CEO at Flixbus.

Thomas says: It has been an incredible journey so far, building Vay with Fabrizio and Bogdan. We founded Vay with the mission to bring sustainable, affordable and door-to-door mobility services to the city – enabled by teledriving (remote driving). The realization of our vision is not easy – but the support and encouragement of my team, investors, and mentors have helped me push through the challenges and continue on this path.

For Thomas this award is not just a recognition of his personal achievements, but it is a recognition of the entire Vay team’s contributions to make cities more livable. Together we continue to make the impossible possible!

We are excited to reach our next milestones: While close cooperation with Hamburg is underway for the launch in Germany, we work together towards a possible launch of our teledriving service in the United States.

Congratulations to the other winners Mona Ghazi (Optimo),  Dr. Alexander Glätzle (planqc), Jenny von Podewils (Leapsome), Tina Dreiman (better ventures), Fridtjof Detzner (Planet A Ventures, Jimdo), Gülsah Wilke (2hearts), Christoph Schmitz (Acker).

All co-founders of Vay at the German Startup Award 2023
Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany
Vay’s co-founders and Nico Rosberg, 2016 Formula 1 World Champion and Vay Investor

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