5 things Aric Ohana has learned from driving the mobility revolution

Nicole Sara Sivens
October 1, 2018
8 min read
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Aric and Ori Sagie, co-founders of Envoy, both have a background in commercial real estate. Over Aric’s nearly 12 year career, he gained experience in the entire lifecycle of real estate investments – from acquisition and asset management to ground-up development of commercial and multi-family projects.  

Starting in 2013, he and Ori created a real estate company that invests in housing on or near campuses of expanding universities. Their goal was to aggregate land for a student housing development.

Within a few years, they were able to acquire enough land for a larger student housing development. They were most interested in building a project that was environmentally friendly and had amenities that would help students in their path to a degree. Shared e-bikes you can take to class, shared cars for weekend getaways or even to earn money in the “gig economy” were first on their list.

Ari Cohana, Co-Founder of Envoy
Aric Ohana, co-founder of Envoy

Here are 5 things Aric has learned from driving the mobility revolution

Timing is everything

By fate in 2016, before Ori and I started the student housing project, another developer gave us an offer to purchase the land. That enabled us to switch our focus and we couldn’t stop thinking about the effects that the mobility revolution was going to have on the commercial real estate industry. After several months of research and due diligence, we founded Envoy.    

Look back to look ahead

The cities we live in were designed around personal car ownership. When cars are shared and self-driving, we will need a lot less parking and a lot more electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Electric vehicles and infrastructure will have a dramatic effect on building energy management and in many ways, buildings will benefit from electric vehicles.  Eventually, commercial real estate will look to redevelop body shops, service stations, and even gas stations. The horse was our primary mode of transportation for 5,000 years and in less than a decade the horse economy disappeared. This mobility revolution will be even more dramatic on the built environment.

Access isn’t just for the wealthy

As a company, we are afforded an opportunity to fundamentally change the way people interact with transportation. Traditionally, shared mobility services are deployed in more affluent areas where vendors believe they can prove out their business model. As we push to radically change the nature of car ownership, we feel a responsibility to make this new revolution inclusive, as lack of access to transportation is one of the main issues keeping members of low-income communities economically stagnant. If we help to raise up those in need with access to reliable transportation, it will have positive effects on society and the economy for people throughout the socio-economic spectrum.  

It’s important to fail upward

Everything we’ve done has brought us to where we are today - even the mistakes were important learning experiences. Envoy has a very bright future and I think it’s important to move quickly. We know we will make errors along the way but it’s how we react to fix those that make us a strong team. Our team is focused on our momentum and executing on our goals.

We will be better, faster, stronger

We aim to get Master Service Agreements with the largest national real estate developers to be able to deploy our vehicles at the thousands of properties they have in their portfolio. We have seen some great traction so far. As the tech develops, we’ll grow along with it. It is only the beginning but this revolution is going to be big, and happen quickly. It’s an exciting time.

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