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Meet Aidan McClean, the CEO who took down the GVS pitch battle

Meet Aidan McClean, the CEO who took down the GVS pitch battle

Last week, Silicon Valley came to Luxembourg! The Global Venture Summit (GVS) consolidated the Grand Duchy's position as a leading start-up nation. One of the event's highlights was the pitch battle. Meet the CEO who took it down.

Numerous entrepreneurs and founders of start-ups took part in the much-anticipated GVS pitch battle, competing for a chance to win $50,000 in investment and a trip to Silicon Valley to meet with investors.

It was ultimately Aidan McClean's pitch that took down the battle.

We had a chat with the CEO of UFODRIVE. 

Congratulations on winning the pitch battle! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and about your company?

My name's Aidan McClean, I'm from Ireland but I've lived in Luxembourg for the past seven years. I'm a former financial services executive specialising in big digital transformations in banking, insurance and wealth management. I'm passionate about electric mobility, great customer experience, and the environment. After many frustrating car rental experiences, I decided to create a radically better approach: an "out of this world" customer experience. The result is UFODRIVE.

So what exactly is UFODRIVE? Was makes it so innovative?

It is a 100% digital car rental experience via a smartphone. The entire process takes just 2 minutes - compared to traditional car rental which takes on average 45 mins from arrival at a rental desk to driving away.

UFODRIVE solves all the pain points of car rental with a simple 'Arrive & Drive' process. No key, no paperwork, no queuing, all-inclusive insurance and with free fuel (we have premium electric cars only) making UFODRIVE not just a great experience but also the best value in class.

UFODRIVE was launched in Luxembourg last May (2018) and has grown successfully and rapidly to 8 countries and 15 locations in just 18 months. We operate in the best, most convenient airport locations (e.g. Brussels, Hamburg, Vienna, Luxembourg, Cologne) and prime city centre locations (such as Dublin, Amsterdam, London, Berlin and Paris). Our collection facility is called the UFOBAY and is more like a high end car showroom than a carpark. We have developed a unique e-mobility platform that monitors and supports 24/7 the customer journey to ensure they never have to worry about range and charging. UFODRIVE eliminates range anxiety.

Any next step or plans for UFODRIVE?

We are now finalising our SERIES A funding round which will help us expand globally in addition to further exciting technology developments on our unique e-Mobility platform.

What did you hope to get out of GVS?

I hoped to learn from and connect with established experts in Global Venture Capital with a view to taking UFODRIVE global.

I'm sure you came closer to that goal by winning the pitch battle! How did you prepare for that?

We prepared a few simple messages, mostly images and - just told the story of UFODRIVE and our ambitions to rapidly grow internationally while helping to encourage electric mobility.

What did you pay particular attention to? Any tips for other entrepreneurs who pitch an idea or project? Any mistakes they should avoid?

1. You have to get the audience's attention in the first 20 seconds or else it's lost.

2. Your solutions needs to relate to a problem the audience can understand immediately.

3. Keep the messages simple and non-complicated

4. Be passionate and genuine

5. Smile and enjoy it!

Did it ever happen to you that a pitch did not go according to plan? Can nervousness become an issue?

I'm always nervous before a pitch /speech - even the most seasoned music stars get nervous after thousands of performances - it gives you the adrenaline and makes it real.

I'd say don't take it too seriously - half the audience are not listening to you anyway and the rest probably can't understand my fast-talking Irish accent!

I once got the giggles many years ago when speaking in front of a big audience in the US that included Bill Gates - couldn't stop smiling and giggling - think I scared the audience!

Thank you for your time, and good luck!


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