Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Maximilian Wuehr, the CEO of FINN, a trailblazing company redefining the way we approach car ownership and mobility solutions. In this candid conversation, we delve into Maximilian’s journey and his vision for FINN.
Maximilian Wuehr’s story is one that resonates with many of us who have experienced the frustration of purchasing a vehicle and enduring cumbersome customer experiences. He hails from a time when buying his first car in the United States during his studies left him feeling taken advantage of and burdened by the process. It was this personal struggle that fueled his determination to create a company that addressed the common pain points shared by many.
Founded in 2019 by Maximilian and a group of like-minded individuals, FINN entered the U.S. market in early 2022 with a mission to make car subscription services easy and affordable. Their unique approach offers customers a fully digital experience with a single monthly fee covering all aspects of car ownership, except for fuel or charging. The car is even delivered to the customer’s doorstep. With operations spanning 11 Eastern states and Washington, D.C., FINN is poised to transform the way we perceive and access mobility.
Join us in this exclusive interview as we uncover the journey of Maximilian Wuehr and the remarkable innovations brought forth by FINN in the ever-evolving landscape of the automotive industry.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Maximilian Wuehr: Part of the origin of FINN relates back to when I bought my first car in the U.S. on the West Coast during my studies, and it was one of the worst customer experiences I’ve had. From beginning to end, I felt like I was taken advantage of and was a huge hassle.
And so when it came to starting a company, I revisited the biggest pain points that me and probably many other people also had, to see if we could address this frustration and hassle.
Founded in 2019 by Nikolai Schröder, Andreas Stryz, Max Beyer, Hans-Peter Ringer, Max-Josef Meier, and myself, FINN entered the US market in early 2022 with the goal of making a car subscription service easy and more affordable.
Starting a car subscription with FINN is done entirely online with one monthly flat fee that covers everything but the fuel/charge, including maintenance and full-coverage insurance. The car is dropped off to customers at their doorstep. We are live all over Germany and in the US, with operations in 11 Eastern states and Washington, D.C.
When I returned to Munich after my studies to help start FINN, my co-founders and I settled on a mission which still remains today, to make mobility fun and sustainable. Toward that goal, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to purchase offsets for the entire CO2 emissions of our fleet based on the average vehicle consumption.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Maximilian Wuehr: My role as the global CEO and as a founding team member requires that I am deeply involved in maintaining a sustainable level of growth. Every startup and scale-up is laser focused on growth, but many obstacles and distractions present themselves along the way.
- Finance Growth: With the business entering its second year of operations in the U.S., and given the high inflationary period we have in this market, our top business challenge was to stay focused on organic growth , finding new efficiencies for our financing and operations.
- Retention Growth: Considering also that many of our first-adopters were coming up for renewal, we are very proud to have consistently raised our retention rates and put our customers in their second FINN vehicle.
- B2B Growth: We have continued to fine-tune our B2B offering in the U.S. and see steady growth with small-to-medium sized businesses who are looking for flexible mobility solutions. The addition of pickup trucks and Audi models has also been a value-add for our business audience.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Maximilian Wuehr: I would say that hiring great talent, and promoting a strong, positive and entrepreneurial culture are the most important parts of building a successful company. We intend on improving both in the next quarter – as our business grows, so do our talent needs and the importance of maintaining culture.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Maximilian Wuehr: People will continue to gravitate towards online ecommerce for car shopping, and prefer a “no-hands” approach.
No visit to the dealer, no physical paperwork, no worry about resale. You just order and we deliver. We will continue to provide a fully digital shopping experience.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Maximilian Wuehr: In the end, we all serve a customer. There is an ever-delicate balance of addressing the need/trend towards automation (and even AI) within the context of customer advocacy.
In other words, working to become better at solving customer problems with as many automated tools as possible, but so long as it does not frustrate, confuse or limit the customer’s product or lifecycle experience.
2020, 2021, and 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Maximilian Wuehr: In our category, during this time, automotive inventory was very volatile, and had a direct impact on our bottom line – all within the first 1-3 years of our startup.
We faced inventory shortages and delays, with each scenario having an associated cost (financial and operational), not to mention the direct impact on the customer (who is on the other end waiting for their car.) We have learned (and would share this as advise), to be better at:
- Solving customer problems.
- Anticipating further volatility and shocks.
- Becoming as financially independent as possible.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Maximilian Wuehr: Read the customer’s thoughts as to why they chose FINN (or why they didn’t). This information is hard to get, even through customer surveys. Armed with this information, you could put more of your focus on these factors and less on experimentation.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Maximilian Wuehr for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
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