Interview of our CEO, Mr Tony Lourakis. Focusing on vehicle connectivity, autonomous vehicles and electric mobility.
Tell us about Fleet Complete, the reasons that led you to start this company 20 years ago, and the services that are provided.
I was fortunate to know from a very young age that I wanted to be a businessman. My studies were in Computer Science. I grew up in a somewhat "business family" - my father was also a businessman himself, so I learned a lot, participating in it since I was a child.
The communities of Greek people living outside Greece could not easily find work, so it was very common for the first generation of Greek Diaspora to start their own businesses.
As for Fleet Complete, I created this company completely by accident! I had a friend who worked as a driver for a company that had nothing to do with tracking technologies. So I found the opportunity and created a software and suggested it as a solution. They accepted, and we started working together. So while I was still in college, I set up my first company, which was later called Courier Complete, and we sold our solutions in the US and Canada. In 2004 the company became Fleet Complete.
Since April 2019, you have been operating a branch in Greece and, last February, the Global Operation Centers of Excellence in Athens began operating-Grand Opening in Athens- Please inform us about your presence in Greece and the importance of this Excellence Center as part of the whole company operation
There are two main reasons why I chose Greece as one of Fleet Complete's Global Operations Centers of Excellence:
Firstly, the market in Greece is very large with very low penetration, so there are many opportunities for our sector. Also, selling in Greece and providing business support for both Greek and global markets through our partnership with Cosmote, was a huge opportunity.
Athens has become the second Global Operations Center of Excellence to serve the entire world, fulfilling orders throughout Europe and serving our customers worldwide. The first Global Operations Center of Excellence is located in Mexico City.
What is the number of vehicles (and other hardware) your customers manage through your platform? How many businesses do you cooperate with today and in which countries do you have presence?
Fleet Complete is a leading global provider of connected vehicle technology, delivering mission-critical fleet, asset and mobile workforce management solutions.
The company is servicing approximately 600,000 subscribers and over 40,000 businesses in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia and across Europe. It maintains global partnerships and distributions with AT&T in the United States, TELUS in Canada, Telstra in Australia and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) in various European countries. Fleet Complete is one of the fastest-growing companies in the world.
“Internet of Things” plays an important role in your products (as well as in your partnership with Cosmote). In your opinion, what will be the future of this sector? Will it have an even greater impact on “business marketplace” and our daily life, as it is expected to have?
I absolutely believe so!
There are three technological trends that will affect fleets in any way:
1.Fleet Connectivity: Just like we already do in Fleet Complete. We connect the vehicles directly from the factory, making telematics services readily available to more fleet owners. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partnerships are an important part of our sales strategy and we will continue to develop and expand this channel worldwide. Fleet Complete cultivates strong OEM partnerships with global market leaders, such as Cummins, General Motors, Mitsubishi Australia, and Toyota, among others and most recently with the addition of Ford in the US (and soon in Europe), we are one of the leading providers of integrated telematics in the market today.
2.Fleet Electrification: While electric vehicles comprise a small percent of the current vehicle market, they are poised to become the future of transportation. Electric Vehicles (EV) are beneficial to health and environment, however the market in Greece we are still in the embryonic stage.
3.Autonomous Vehicles: The prospect of widespread use of driver-less cars brings with it many benefits for the business world and will certainly change the way we experience driving behind the wheel.
Combining the above, Fleet Complete can become the best fleet management solution in the world!
You are a Greek entrepreneur who is making a significant development, having Canada as his 'base'. Through your own business experience and path so far, what are the "lessons" that young entrepreneurs can take? What are your tips?
Young entrepreneurs should carefully craft a strategy and understand that they need a very well-structured business plan. Also, they need to spend some time doing their homework gathering information and further knowledge of customer needs and behaviors.
It takes hard work and determination - They should always have a strong drive to succeed and overcome obstacles. They must remain confident, and persistent in their goals. It takes passion to succeed!
We know that you have a significant presence in corporate social responsibility. Please let us know more about this and about the importance you think CSR has for today's business world.
During this Covid-19 crisis that the whole world has faced, Fleet Complete supports its employees in many ways.
First of all, all Fleet Complete employees, during these times, work from home. Our working environment is flexible. It is important to note that we provide Coaching Online Sessions to all Fleet Complete employees worldwide, responding to anything that might concern them in the midst of a crisis, providing them with tips for "work-from-home".
Our business is part of society – as a company we re supporting not only our our employees, customers, but also our communities
We recently offered 5,000 euros to the SOS Children's Villages, a Greek Charity Organization which provides abandoned, orphaned children with a new and permanent home.
In addition, we launched Fleet Complete Cycling Academy in Greece. The goal of the Academy is to inspire and develop the new generation of young Greek cyclists. The academy is based in Loutraki, Greece and provides young Greek athletes with the right professional support and proper framework to compete on an international scale.
You have 40 employees in Greece. Is it easy for your company to find the talent it is looking for in our country? Also, what do you think of the Greek business environment, perhaps, compared to that of Canada?
Athens is a vibrant, international city, with world-class talent, and is strategically located to provide robust customer success activities globally. Unemployment still exists and many talented candidates are looking for work! Our team in Athens, is constantly growing!
Business activity in Greece remains complicated, there are too many restrictions, too much bureaucracy. Canadian environment and culture for entrepreneurship is healthier than the Greek, with fewer regulations, so being an entrepreneur is easier! In Greece, many changes have occurred in the labor market during the last years, but more needs to be done to attract more entrepreneurs.
What are the next steps for Fleet Complete, your next goals? In which technologies and areas will you focus on in the coming years?
At Fleet Complete we have very ambitious goals! Our goal is to increase business tenfold by 2025, for example our subscribers to become from 600,000 to 6 million!
Also, as I mentioned earlier, the focus of the coming years will be on vehicle connectivity, autonomous vehicles and electric mobility.
We will continue to innovate and promote our technology – by Helping Fleets Thrive!
Μαϊ 13, 2020 Angeliki Konstantinidou