Our HQ is on Smedjegatan 10 in Sickla, Stockholm. In total, Wheelys currently operates out of four offices. Two in Stockholm, one in Shanghai, and one in San Francisco (opening in May).
Addresses and short descriptions of the offices:
— Product development
Address: coming soon
Address: coming soon
Smedjegatan 10, 131 54 Nacka
— Sleep & Sex
Norrtullsgatan 45, 113 45 Stockholm
Stockholm. We’re Swedes and Stockholm is our capital, having an office in Stockholm is maybe the most predictable thing we’ve done so far. But it has its advantages. Stockholm is a great city for anything related to coffee, with a highly developed coffee culture, we’re among the heaviest coffee drinkers in the world. The long dark winter days require coffee to keep people awake and the long summer nights no one ever sleeps, so we drink coffee and vodka all night long. We even have a word for it. Kask. Equal parts vodka and coffee. As Churchill said about Champagne; in success you deserve it and in defeat, you need it. You are welcome to Stockholm anytime for a cup.
China is a learning experience on many levels. As food for thought: while we Swedes were still walking around in animal hides trying to eat snow, Chinese philosophers sat in great cities writing things that are still read today.
Also, it was not until we visited China that we learned that it is very dangerous to drink cold water.
THE SHANGHAI PEOPLE
A global revolution without China is not much of a revolution. Not only are the Chinese experts in making bikes, they also happen to love coffee. Or at least Bo is loving coffee and he also loves to perfect production. This is why Bo is a key person at Wheelys. He’s making sure the bikes come out in tip top condition. Helping him is ChuWei Liu, the kind of assistant who solves problems before they become problems. A dynamic duo, and soon to be many, many more.
We will soon open our office here. If you are a fast growing global company, disrupting old industries then there’s plenty of advice to get in the Bay Area.
North America is a key market for us and we will oversee the North American operation from San Francisco. The hilly landscape of SF is probably not the best choice for a bike company but three little words is all we need, "Thighs of steel".
Currently we are eight people at Wheelys HQ, but there seems to be someone new every day. The people are: Maria De La Croix (Boss Of It All), Per Cromwell (Baron of Bikes), Cenk Özbakir (Digital Duke), Hannah Lina Frey (Caesar of Sales), Emma Fitzsimons (Sovereign of Support), Jamie Corley (Caliph of Coffee), Tomas Mazetti (The Visionaire), and Simon Lesnik (Emir of Engineering).
The day before we flew illegally over Belarus, we realized that our plane might get forced down on hostile territory. Tomas, the pilot, sent a text to Per , who was hiding out next to a military base in the eastern part of Belarus in a getaway car: “We need food if we are forced to land and get stuck in the woods.” It was in the middle of the night in Belarus, a country not exactly known for its 24-hour shopping centers.
Three hours later, Tomas got an answer: “I’ve fixed strudel, a LOT of eggs, and Chablis.” It is really hard to find a guy to sneak into Belarus with forged passports. It is even harder to find someone who is also socially skilled enough to buy precious strudel from suspicious peasants in the middle of the night. What is almost impossible to find is someone with the nerve to remember the white wine to go with it.
Try calling her at 4 a.m. and ask for the phone number to the Wheeler in Villa Nueva, Guatemala. She will say, “Just a momento,” all while (very realistically) acting as if she was not at all just woken up.
She is also extremely resourceful, to the extent that we, every day, live in fear that some foreign intelligence agency will headhunt her.
We also hope that this description will put some badly needed pressure on Maria, since she has actually started showing signs of human behaviour. For instance, it is rumoured that one time last month she stopped working at 11 p.m.
Tomas is the guy who constantly thinks opposite. “Why hasn’t anyone done this before?” is a phase you will hear a lot when hanging with Tomas. Combined with endless curiosity and a brain no one here at the HQ really has figured out, this constant curiosity and questioning of what others take for granted makes Tomas a key figure at Wheelys.
He was the one who first uttered the words, “Why are there no global and organic coffee chains operating bikes in Mumbai?” This was the starting point for Wheelys. Tomas used to question the advertising business and by doing so he became very successful at award-winning advertising. He also later questioned the dictator Lukashenko and was awarded for this as well. Now he is questioning the global coffee business, but he hasn’t been awarded for this. Yet.
Sales is tricky. And the last thing you want your salesperson to be is… tricky. For Hannah this is easy. Everything you’re good at is easy, but for Hannah it’s extra easy since she was born doing this. Understanding people, understanding what they want, then understanding what they really need, then making sure they get what they need and sometimes what they want. This makes them happy, Hannah happy, and everyone else at Wheelys happy. And we are indeed happy that we have Hannah working for us.
Without Cenk (pronounced “Jenk”), nothing really works. He connects things. Makes everything digital just work. If Cenk would have been around and done his magic at Anchieta, Rio de Janeiro before the railroad disaster in 1952, it probably never would have happened. If Cenk would have helped out in Chernobyl in 1986, things might have ended differently over there. Maybe this is a stretch, but we’re pretty sure Cenk would have been able to somehow stop Krakatoa as well. Enough said.
We are very glad that Cenk is currently fixing our digital stuff. And, not to forget, Cenk is also a designer. Some people are just lucky.
Simon is our own MacGyver. MacGyver could—by using a paperclip and a pingpong ball—build a helicopter. Simon is building these things for us but more focused on bikes and coffee. Someday, we will give him one month and a million kronor and just watch. It will be spectacular. Simon is mainly working with Per but basically everyone wants a piece of him.
Ireland must be a great country. This is one of the few things we agree on here at the HQ. (We also agree Arabica is slightly better than a Robusta.) The reason why we all think Ireland is great is because without it, there would be no Emma. This would have been a disaster for Wheelys.
Emma is the one who will help you, and at the same time she will help a lot of other people in need of help. And possibly some friends of these people also. In short, Emma is the go-to-Irish-girl when something needs to be straightened out, fixed, explained, and--now recently--baked.
In order to run a coffee company you need people who love coffee. We all do. But Jamie loves coffee a bit more than the rest of us. He dreams of coffee.
If Jamie could have it his way, he would be living in a far-away country nursing coffee plants, taking care of them like his children, gently picking the beans on the exactly perfect misty morning, roasting them at the exactly perfect temperature, grinding them on an old fashioned British grinder from 1923, then carefully collecting the newly ground coffee in order not to spill one single grain. Heating the water to exactly 97.2 degrees Celsius, meticulously pouring the water over the filter, and then before tasting, soak in the smell of the coffee while watching the morning mist slowly fade away. Then sip the perfect cup of Robusta.
Now Jamie is still with us and inspires us all, as well as the customers in Stockholm, who taste some of Jamie’s coffee magic.