Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: February 8, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini
Spain flag

History behind a success: The 23-year-old CEO leading GDV Mobility’s ascent

In an exclusive one-on-one with Mobility Portal Group, as part of the "Personalidades" series, Germán Agulló recounts the story of how he became one of the country's youngest CEOs, successfully positioning his company as a "powerhouse" in the sector.
Germán Agulló, CEO and founder of GDV Mobility.
Germán Agulló, CEO and founder of GDV Mobility.

Where is the plaque Forbes awarded to Germán Agulló displayed today? “In the boardroom of GDV Mobility, alongside all the other awards,” details the Gold CEO.

Germán Agulló, founder of GDV Mobility.

What is the story behind this recognition from the business and finance-focused magazine that propelled this 23-year-old and his company to become a “powerhouse” in the sector?

This narrative begins in 2022 when the publication included him in a list of 30 young individuals, nearing 30 years old, who stand out as leaders and influential professionals from a young age.

However, despite his youth, the CEO’s journey dates back much further.

Coming from a humble family, at the age of 14, he started working to contribute to his household’s economy.

At that time, he didn’t excel in his studies.

“In fact, I repeated a grade twice,” he assures Mobility Portal España during the “Personalidades” series.

Faced with this situation, he began forging a path as a professional cyclist, but a heart attack forced him to abandon his short-lived career.

Far from giving up, young Germán chose to clean bicycles in a workshop in Alicante, and together with the owner, they decided to establish a brand.

With the arrival of the pandemic, among other circumstances, the company went bankrupt.

After overcoming the health crisis, Agulló began exploring the business world, primarily with the aim of settling the debt left by this venture.

“It was then that I remembered my father and grandfather, who were wholesalers in the traditional distribution, and I noticed the need to digitize and transform that entire business model,” he recounts.

Participating in discussions on artificial intelligence, he starts distributing a brand of electric bicycle spare parts.

Finally, as the saying goes, “persevere and you will succeed,” this niche led him to meet his current partners, who were his clients at the time.

Together, they noticed a need in the EV sector: the lack of a battery repair and recycling factory in Spain.

The founders of GDV Mobility: Héctor Arana, Germán Agulló, and Óscar Bárcenas.

Their “Silicon Valley” was in a premises in the Carolinas neighborhood in Alicante, where they lacked both electricity and water, and the floor was under construction.

Just three months later, the company was already profitable, giving rise to GDV Mobility, currently the largest battery reconditioning factory.

To illustrate this success story, in 2022, the startup experienced an increase of approximately 15 per cent in its employee base, and in 2023, a growth of 400 per cent.

Currently, they collaborate closely with companies listed on Nasdaq and have recently launched an application called “My Battery.”

Through this, with just “one click,” comprehensive information about the battery can be accessed, as well as requesting repair services if necessary.

“In case of any inconvenience, with a click from anywhere in Europe, we take care of collecting the equipment, performing the repair, and returning it, or we send a replacement,” he explains.

In this way, they manage to solve a problem that previously took more than a month in just a few days.

GDV Mobility’s task is to optimize the profitability of companies in the mobility sector.

GDV Mobility Team.

What role does frustration play in the CEO’s journey?

“Everything happens for a reason,” Germán asserts and emphasizes: “If I get frustrated, I gain nothing. The important thing is to acknowledge the mistake, learn from it, and move forward.”

What is it like to interact with large companies?

The counter-question would be, “Why couldn’t I do it?”.

Undoubtedly, persistence is rooted in the DNA of GDV Mobility’s co-founder.

Despite having come a long way, the 23-year-old still finds challenges in his path.

In this case, he recalls how he secured his first major client.

Just like a twenty-year-old “stalks” a person on social media, Germán decided to investigate this company, initially calling them constantly.

The second step was to take a flight and set up in the client’s frequented café, waiting for them to appear to get them to tell him their problem.

After a whole morning on guard duty, he finally got the information he was looking for and bought two batteries, which he and his team dismantled to investigate the cause of the issue.

A week later, he met with the client again, presenting not only a solution but also a financial report.

The rest is history.

The question that arises now is: where did he acquire these skills?

Instead of presenting a specific methodology, Agulló maintains that his learning is based on trial and error.

“In the end, nobody knows anything. If you are convinced that you can add value, then go ahead,” he emphasizes.

In this context, the fundamental keys are humility and earning respect.

Looking ahead to the near future, the CEO aspires to continue growing hand in hand with GDV Mobility, and this expansion will be marked by the opening of a new plant, for which they have already secured a financing round.

“Now is the time to grow and start becoming that powerhouse, which I will never say we will be, but hopefully time can say that we have been,” he concludes.

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