As we go to press there is still very little hard information about the future of online moving company Movinga following the resignation of its founders Bastian Knutzen and Chris Maslowski in June.
However, according to a report in the German press the company has shed around a quarter of its 500 strong workforce and has ceased operations in the UK and Italy.
In the March issue The Mover reported on the extraordinary case of the German-based start-up which obtained US$25 million in funding from venture capitalists and claimed to be Europe’s fastest growing removals company. Movinga launched in the UK in September last year and according to Bastian Knutzen - in an interview with The Mover’s Editor Steve Jordan - was carrying out 1,000 moves a month.
German website Gründer Szene (Founder Scene) published a quotation attributed to Bastian Knutzen where he said: “This has not been an easy decision and probably is the hardest decision we have ever made in our lives. The biggest mistake we made was scaling too quickly. We were fully on fire to bring the moving industry to the next level. It is a complicated service and we have underestimated some of the challenges. “
Movinga’s revolutionary business model is online-based and relies on its customers providing key information about their move via the Movinga website, following which a quotation is submitted for the job. Once the quotation is given and accepted by the customer the price is fixed and Movinga guarantees that no additional charges will be made. Unlike most removal companies, payment is not due until 24-hours after the move is completed.
The company uses what it claims are carefully selected partner companies to carry out the moves often using spare capacity to accommodate part loads and avoid empty or partly full runs. However, The Mover has been contacted by several disgruntled moving companies from various parts of the UK saying they have been undercut by Movinga only to find the customer has been let down on moving day and been forced to make other arrangements at short notice.
In our interview with Bastian Knutzen last March he was not - for contractual reasons – able to name the subcontactors appointed by Movinga and at the time of going to press it is not known if any moving companies have been adversely affected by the decision to cease operations in the UK and Italy. Under the terms of their supplier agreement subcontractors are not allowed to talk to the press without obtaining permission from Movinga. This could be one reason why there is so little hard information being circulated.
We have asked Movinga to clarify the situation on several occasions since the resignations were announced, but at the time of going to press no official statement has been received.
Meanwhile the gossip and rumours continue.
Photo: Bastian Knutzen and Chris Maslowski
It was obvious to anyone with direct knowledge of the industry that the Movinga model was one that would be hard to make work long term. That said, this does seem to be the trend and there are many other companies trying to make similar systems work. Although Movinga seems to have had a setback, this type of competition to the traditional moving industry has not gone away.
Click here to see the next Editor's Pick