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Ellen Kugelberg, Chief Product Officer at Einride
Tech5.8.2023
9 min read

Einride Mesh 2023, NYC: Explore opportunities at Einride

Tech5.8.2023
9 min read

Einride Mesh 2023, NYC: Explore opportunities at Einride

Einride Mesh is a freight mobility conference that brings together industry and thought leaders from around the world. The event – now in its second year – caters to a broad range of audiences, from transportation industry professionals to businesses with goods to ship. Mesh will also cater to people who are interested in working at Einride. Chief Product Officer Ellen Kugelberg hopes such individuals leave the event feeling energized and inspired. If you would like to attend Mesh 2023, you can register here

Einride Mesh will take place on June 8 in New York City. Why is Einride hosting this event?

Holding an event like Mesh really ties back to Einride’s vision of being a company that makes an impact. It’s about transforming an industry for the benefit of the world and the people in it. It’s about finding a way forward that’s more sustainable, and establishing solutions that make economical sense for the ecosystem around transportation.

To do all this, we need to lean towards being more open than closed – because by sharing our thinking and working collaboratively, we will accelerate the change. By getting the whole ecosystem together, we will move faster. So that’s part of the reason Einride hosts Mesh – to recognize the importance of partnerships. 

Another reason is to show the businesses of the world that there is a way to unlock smarter and more sustainable movement of goods. At Mesh, we will be showcasing the latest digital, electric and autonomous solutions, and there will be talks and panel discussions that highlight how businesses can make their freight operations resilient. We encourage representatives from these “shipper” companies to attend. Another group the event aims to draw in is talent – people who are curious about potentially working at Einride.

What is your message to those who might consider working at Einride?

As with all industry transformations – and this is definitely not just a small incremental improvement in this industry but a genuine transformation – new opportunities open up. And this applies to those who already work within the industry, but it also applies to those who might not have previously considered working in this space. I think of myself as an example of that. 

I have never worked in transportation, trucking, nor autonomous technology – but rather, come from more of a digitalization and business transformation background. I had never pictured myself in freight technology; I saw this as a very male-dominated space. But having found myself now working here and enjoying the challenges, I really believe we can change perceptions around this. So as we drive this transformation, we at Einride really want to attract more diversity into this world of freight and transportation. 

“For us, it’s about attracting people who come from all diverse backgrounds who can add something to this transformation.”

I think it’s really important to see all the opportunities that come with the clean tech transformation of this industry – whether it’s digitalization, electrification, or autonomous technology – as having the potential to attract people who might not have been drawn to this world intuitively, based on past perceptions. 

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A glimpse of Vision Shop – an Einride facility where teams can build prototypes, modify hardware, engineer software, run experiments, and put their imagination to the test.

What makes Einride different from other types of automotive or transportation companies?

Even though Einride is no longer considered a start-up, I would still call us a very entrepreneurial company. While there are more than 500 of us, we're still in the phase where we want to recruit people who are able to carve a way forward. People who want to find new solutions, and who are eager to go where no one has gone before. That requires an entrepreneurial spirit. 

Many companies that have been in the automotive space for some time are currently grappling with having to re-skill their employees to some degree, in order to cater to the demands of electrification and digitalization. At Einride, we have the luxury of being able to recruit people that already have the skillset and the mindset we need. And, for us, it’s about attracting people who come from all diverse backgrounds who can add something to this transformation. This may include people who have contributed to business or technology transformations in other industries, whether they are consumer-focused, B2B, hardware, software, data, demand management, or something else. They could be engineers, designers, transformation leaders, commercial professionals – these are just a few examples. 

“We invite people to consider making intelligent moves when it comes to their careers – because perhaps Einride may provide the perfect challenge for them.”

We also can’t overlook the value of people already in the industry – transportation professionals who see the need for change, and want to be part of that change. Their expertise and deep understanding of transportation is immensely valuable. And it is the combination of people from other spheres plus change-drivers from within the industry that will bring us to our best solutions. 

The theme of Mesh 2023 is “Make intelligent moves”. Does this line of encouragement apply to talent?

Absolutely. We invite people to consider making intelligent moves when it comes to their careers – because perhaps Einride may provide the perfect challenge for them. Einride is not just a mover of goods. Yes, we move goods for our shipper customers, but we do much more – handling, coordinating and operating all the complex physical and digital infrastructure so the shipper doesn’t have to. Ultimately, Einride is a tech company – not a transportation company but a transformation company. It's about leveraging and adapting technology to transform an industry. That’s Einride.

A lot of people have contributed to digital and technological transformations and may be wondering “What’s the next big thing?”, or “Where can I go in and be part of something really cool?”. And transportation really is due for that big, sweeping change. And Einride is approaching it differently compared to established transportation companies, since we are looking at the problem holistically, and we’re building solutions from the ground up. 

I believe there are people who are attracted to this type of transformation and who have a lot they can bring to the table. It’s people of this mindset that we are hoping to attract. Those who want to one day look back at their career and feel a sense of reward for making an impact at such a critical and exciting time. You could certainly call that an intelligent move.

Ellen Kugelberg presenting at Einride Mesh

Ellen Kugelberg on stage at Mesh 2022.

Why would you consider this an exciting time to be working at Einride?

The fact is, transportation is not a well-functioning industry right now, but the technology exists to change it, and that’s what Einride is designing, developing and deploying. The industry today, broadly speaking, is very dirty – in terms of CO2 but also NOx – and it has very low margins, driven by the fact that it’s highly fragmented. For example, vehicles aren’t experiencing high usage, and the fill rate of vehicles isn’t nearly as high as it could be – meaning a lot of trucks are being driven around with capacity going to waste. There’s also a lot of room for improvement in terms of the quality of delivery and overall transparency. So these pain points are symptoms of the industry’s fragmented nature. The need for change very much exists.

Now, addressing this through digitalization alone can only help to a certain degree. There have been digital products in the transportation market that have tried to remedy the issues, but they haven’t really moved the needle. But what’s different now is that three different technological disruptions are happening – and they’re happening in parallel, in quite a short period of time. You have digitalization, but you also have electrification and the ramp-up of autonomous vehicle technology.

“You kind of need to see it for yourself to believe that it's actually here; it's happening.”

You can compare this to the last major disruptions that happened in the freight industry. You could say the most recent one dates back to the 1950s, with the standardization of the shipping container. And before that, we’re going back over 120 years, to the arrival of the diesel engine in the late 1800s.

So the fact that you have these three different technology trends that are happening now and in the near future – it’s putting transportation much higher on the strategic agenda of business leaders. There’s space to make a significant impact, which opens up a great opportunity. And Einride is at the forefront of driving this change. 

What do you hope prospective talent will be able to take away from attending Mesh?

Many people are still saying the transformation can’t be done. The narrative across much of the industry is that electrification is still many years out, and that autonomous movement of goods is even further out. In reality, the change is happening right now. Having events such as Mesh gives people a glimpse of that and allows them to meet the faces who are driving it. It’s partly about breaking that common narrative.

As the world goes from one climate meeting to the next, it’s easy to become demotivated by a lot of what you hear. And while the discussions are highly valuable, you find that some people stop believing. But if you can see where the next big change is taking off, that can be incredibly inspiring. You kind of need to see it for yourself to believe that it's actually here; it's happening. Bear in mind that not all existing players in the transportation industry will benefit from the transition – for some, the case is the opposite – so the narrative of what is possible today might differ. But at Einride, we are paving the way. And our mission is to accelerate this change, and to prove what can be done today.

Really, what we hope to do at Mesh is to motivate and inspire. I hope a broad array of talent will attend, and I hope they leave with a sense of how rewarding it might feel to join Einride and be at the forefront of driving this much-needed transformation. We want to share the progress that we have made so far – show that we have uncovered some of the answers, but also give a glimpse at some of the challenges still ahead of us. 

I think a great aspect of Mesh is the fact that we don’t just look at transportation; we also bring in perspectives and inspiration from other areas. There is a real excitement and energy that comes with meeting people who share similar motivations and goals – regardless of their experience or expertise. We are reminded that there are many reasons to be optimistic, and there are countless ways to make intelligent moves. That’s what we hope people will take away from Mesh.

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If you would like to join Einride Mesh in New York City on June 8, register here.

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