They say “a dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” and this is truly the case with the three founding members of Cervello Tres. Coming from different backgrounds – land consultant, risk officer and accountant – these men are the epitome of friendship goals where they created a never-before-seen business in Malaysia.
“The three of us are actually old friends where Hazreen was my friend from primary school and Azreen was my colleague at UNiSA in Adelaide. We all come from different backgrounds but we always had the dying desire to venture into a business that’s unique and will give a good impact in terms of technology. After discussing and researching for almost a year, we chose to bring Velecifero, an Italian electric scooter, to Malaysia,” shares Azrul Helmy Hafiz, the Chief Executive Officer of Cervello Tres.
“We all come from a different background but we always had the dying desire to venture into a business that’s unique and will give a good impact in terms of technology.” – Azrul Helmy Hafiz
However, establishing this company was not a bed of roses. It was tough even from the conceptualising days as they didn’t know what kind of business they should open. During the initial discussing phase, the oil price was extremely unstable and it was slowly becoming a scarce resource.
Taking an opportunity on this situation, they did a lot of research to find an alternative resource that can help the people. It was then they realised that electric bikes are the future as one doesn’t need petrol for it and its cost saving. They then decided that they wanted to open a business on the electric scooter and did plenty of study on this until they found Velocifero.
Changing People’s Conception
Just like any other business, the initial stages were definitely a struggle.
“In the beginning, our challenge was sourcing finances for the business. We didn’t have any support or connection with the government. So we had to start from scratch and work really hard to gain the funds,” explains Mohamed Hazreen Johari, the company’s Chief Financial Officer. “But, we managed to pull through the difficult times and so far, our product is going strong in the market. Besides that, we also had a lot of problem convincing people and changing their mindset about an electric scooter.”
Since this is a new industry in Malaysia and Cervello Tres is the first one to bring Velocifero here, the three friends had to educate people about the product and tell them why everyone needs it. “We brought in something fun and attractive with a new technology. Basically, what we are selling is a brand-new lifestyle and we had to tune people’s perception towards this,” says Hazreen.
“Since this is a new industry in Malaysia and we are the first one to bring Velocifero here, we had to educate people about this product and tell them why everyone needs it.” – Mohamed Hazreen Johari
As the Executive Director of Business Development and Risk Management, Mohd Azreen Zainudin further adds that “when we first introduced Velocifero, people said it was modern and sophisticated but they still didn’t buy it. Therefore, we had to figure out ways to get them to buy our product.”
Initially, the trio thought it would be a good usage for students so they approached schools and universities to educate them about this electric scooter. After a while, when they found out it wasn’t the best method, they moved on to try other ways.
As first-time businessmen, these three individuals launched Velocifero as a scooter that people can use for their daily commute. Although the target is for the niche market, their focus was to use the product as an alternative to the pricey fuel.
“We started our company with the intention to offer the public an alternative for fuel. After studying more about the product and the market, we realised that it’s also suitable off-road, especially for sports. In fact, we are the first to discover that”, comments Azrul.
“There were a lot of try and error before reaching the stage that we are in now.” – Mohd Azreen Zainudin
He then informs that even their principal company didn’t know about the product’s full capability. To that, they decided to shift their focus to use Velocifero for more sporty events. As it is unique, the product is apt for sports and Cervello Tres now attract mountain bikers and motocross customers. “In a way, Velocifero is seen as a big boys toys. We also have multiple racing events at Shah Alam National Botanic Parks to give people a taste of this electric scooter,” adds Azrul.
As they are looking at penetrating into the sports industry, they are also in the talks to make this a Malaysian sports. Since Malaysia F1Grand Prix was recently cancelled, they are trying to convince Sepang International Circuit to bring this as a potential replacement, which can be extremely exciting for people who are into racing and bikes.
“As it is unique, the product is apt for sports and we now attract mountain bikers and motocross customers. In a way, Velocifero is seen as a big boys toys.” – Azrul Helmy Hafiz
Although Velocifero shows an immense amount of potential which may attract people to purchase it, in terms of price, the product is still fairly expensive for the general household. “The general misconception that people have is that our scooter is expensive. The starting price of the product is RM 3999 to RM 12,499 but we managed to strike a deal with AEON Credit so that customer needs to pay as low as RM 171.07 per month to purchase our scooter. And if you look at the bicycle industry, the price is almost the same as us. In fact, we are offering something with a similar price, but the product is much more powerful and modern than a bicycle,” smiles Mohd Azreen.
After starting the business for almost three years, the founders feel that the response has been going good so far and they’re pretty happy with people’s acceptance towards the product. When asked about their future plans, they said that the company is planning to open up an automotive institute specialising in the electric vehicle. On top of that, they also want to be a manufacturer for Velecifero in Malaysia.
“Right now, we have a warehouse in Bukit Jelutong where we assemble our products as they come from our principal company in Italy. But moving forward, we want to manufacture an upgraded version of Velocifero here.” – Mohd Azreen Zainudin
“Right now, we have a warehouse in Bukit Jelutong where we assemble our products as they come from our principal company in Italy. But moving forward, we want to manufacture an upgraded version of Velocifero here. Besides that, we also have plans to merge with our principal company in Italy where we become their marketing arms. Since they like what we do, we are discussing further with them about this move and I must say, this could be huge for us and we are pretty stoked about it,” says Mohd Azreen proudly.