Meet The Finalists of Dubai Startup Hub's Smartpreneur Competition 6.0: One Moto

"It's not always easy to look at your business from the outside, when you're so engrossed, but the Dubai Startup Hub team and advisors have been exceptional in giving me the insights on how to evaluate our business, its messaging, and market-fit."

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OneMoto is one of the top 10 startups pitching for prizes worth a total of AED150,000 at the finals of Dubai Startup Hub’s Smartpreneur Competition 6.0, which will be staged as part of Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Forum 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai on January 20, 2022. Register HERE to be a part of the event. 

One Moto

Back in 2016, Dubai-based serial entrepreneur Adam Ridgway recognized the potential of a global market boom in the last mile delivery sector, and then set out to design and build the world’s best electric vehicles that could play a vital role in this particular landscape. Today, he is the founder and CEO of One Moto, the MENA region’s first approved, data-driven and multi-award-winning electric vehicles manufacturer with a focus on the last mile sector, and a mission to make all delivery vehicles in the UAE electric by 2024.

Now, with companies’ commitments to sustainable business practices grabbing headlines these days, it would be reasonable to expect that Ridgway faces few challenges in building his business. However, he explains that demonstrating how the last-mile operators can be both profitable and sustainable is a hurdle he is yet overcome. "There is still a discussion between a 'want' and a ‘need’ when it comes to sustainability,” he explains. "Although we are supporting the UAE's governmental agenda of electric vehicles adoption and sustainable mobility, at the moment, there aren’t any real incentives to make the switch. It will happen, but in the meantime, the private sector is a focus for us.”

This answer provides more background about why the support of an entity like Dubai Startup Hub, the entrepreneurship arm of Dubai Chamber, is so crucial for visionary entrepreneurs like Ridgway. "We’ve had a tremendous relationship with the team at Dubai Startup Hub for the past couple of years- I feel they are all on this journey with us,” Ridgway says. "We won the Dubai Chamber Market Access program [an initiative that pairs leading companies and government entities in the UAE with startups that offer innovative solutions to address their key challenges] last year, which provided us with so many opportunities, and allowed us to expand into 21 territories this year alone.”

Source: One Moto

As such, when Dubai Startup Hub opened the Smartpreneur Competition 6.0 to technology startups with solutions centered on the themes of opportunity, sustainability, and trade, Ridgway did not hesitate to apply, because his startup contributes to advancing all three areas. "Let me give you an example," Ridgway says. “From one side, we know that air pollution is the greatest killer of humanity, because the 15,000 delivery motorcycles on the roads in Dubai produce enough carbon dioxide to kill 21,000 acres of forest each year. From the other side, I understand that fleet operators, delivery aggregators, and logistics companies aren’t always profitable, and that is why our One Moto fleet reduces operational expenditure by 74%, and guarantees a return on investment in five to seven months.”

Ridgway took it one step further by signing deals with two regional leasing providers to offer One Moto vehicles as leased assets, making it easier and cheaper for them to adopt more sustainability-centered business decisions.

With the theme of opportunity often being explained as helping individuals and communities to unleash their potential, Ridgway presents a well thought out proposition on how One Moto improves the wellbeing of delivery riders in order to help them create a better tomorrow for themselves. "If we know that they cover their own fuel costs, which are around AED650 per month and which reduce their salaries with each fuel price increase, and that their work pressure is enhanced due to a volume based bonus system and high working hours, it is clear how One Moto can help them,” Ridgway says. "Our data-driven vehicles can optimize routes, reduce work pressure, maintain delivery volumes, save money, and reduce accidents. Quite a substantial claim that we’ve proven many times.”

It seems that Ridgway is more than prepared to deliver a successful pitch at the finals of the Smartpreneur Competition 6.0, which will be staged as part of Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Forum 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai on January 20, 2022. "It's potentially the largest and most prominent stage I’ll ever present on, to an unknown panel of peers and experts, and it can be a lonely isolating place on stage, I realize that,” he says. "Yet, I know my business, I believe in our vision, I can back up every statistic with facts, so the content doesn’t wobble me.” He credits the Dubai Startup Hub team for supporting him in this endeavor with encouragement and experience-led advice. “They gave me a fresh way of looking at the business,” he says. "It’s not always easy to look at your business from the outside, when you’re so engrossed, but the Dubai Startup Hub team and advisors have been exceptional in giving me the insights on how to evaluate our business, its messaging, and market-fit.”

Ridgway is also looking forward to 2022 with a lot of excitement, because One Moto is building the UAE's first electric vehicles manufacturing facility. “It is a pioneering change that places the UAE on the world electric vehicles stage,” he says. “In 2021, our team has achieved 10x on sales and expanded 5x more than forecast, with an international sales pipeline, so our growth through dealerships is just one route that we’ll be harnessing. We have a global vision of all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals being achieved by 2028, and we support it with our presence in 100 cities, one million vehicles sold, and one billion tons of carbon dioxide eliminated, so this will be our longer term focus.”

For those aspiring to start up a business in Dubai, Ridgway advises to build their network first and foremost. "The UAE is built on relationships,” he says. "The culture has evolved on interactions, and your network is a crucial part of success in the region, so try to collaborate and invest in relationships. It’s an easy place to do business, but it is tricky to navigate at first, and starting any business will be far more expensive than you initially budgeted. Your network is everything, and once this is understood, along with the culture being respected, any nuances or complications can be overcome.”

‘TREP TALK: Tips for entrepreneurs from One Moto founder Adam Ridgway

1. Build your business on the traditions of growth "Grow through sales, do not rely on raising capital to start up, and make sure you maintain a very, very clear focus."

2. Don’t be a ‘wantrepreneur’ "If you’ve got an idea for solving some problem, then go all in, take risks, deep dive into uncertainty, and embrace the mistakes, but try to make them as inexpensive as possible."

3. Help others, and especially those who have helped you "No one owes you anything, nor do they respect ‘hope-based promises.’"

OneMoto is one of the top 10 startups pitching for prizes worth a total of AED150,000 at the finals of Dubai Startup Hub’s Smartpreneur Competition 6.0, which will be staged as part of Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Forum 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai on January 20, 2022. Register HERE to be a part of the event. 

Related: Winners Of Dubai Smartpreneur Competition 5.0 Take Home AED150,000 In Prizes