15 Mar 2019
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A Model of Drive and Impact

Business success paves the way for a philanthropic venture.

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Pablo Fernandez Alvarez (GMP 17, 2014) is cofounder of Clicars, an e-commerce platform in Spain that allows users to buy and finance refurbished cars hassle-free. In this interview, Fernandez explains the business model, the reasons behind the company’s rapid growth (€50 million in revenues in three years), and the opportunity it has provided to fulfill a personal mission.

“What we do at Clicars is to eliminate in-person visits to car dealerships through digitalization and trust. Thirty percent of consumers would rather go to the dentist than to a car dealership. We found that the car-buying experience was not so good and we thought there was a space for a company that provides a more digital experience. And also more transparent.

“It's an industry where there's a lack of information. Whenever you try to buy a car, you have a lot of questions about the quality of the car, the inspections, insurance, the financing, the guarantee. What we try to do is to provide a hassle-free experience. And you can create that trust element––that just with a click, you can actually book a car and in 24 hours it's in front of your house.

“We started in January 2016. And in our first year we made $5 million in revenues. We grew very fast.

“I decided to donate part of the money that we made with Clicars to social causes related to swim challenges. I decided to pick out different places in the world to conduct unprecedented swims across channels, rivers, and oceans.

“A few months ago, I was the first person in the world that swam between Senegal and Gambia. I had to cross the Gambia River. There are strong currents; there are crocodiles. It was a nine-hour swim of 30 kilometers. And I was very happy, because I could donate the money to teenagers from the Gambian Swimming Federation for scholarships for a high school and university.

“At the end of the day, this is what makes me wake up in the morning and say, ‘OK, what I'm doing today, I'm going to make a better world. I'm going to feel good about what I'm doing.’ I'm basically changing the world by developing new products, but also changing the world by creating opportunities for people who were not as lucky as I was. I think that's something that really drives me and motivates me.”

(Published March 2019)

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