You might have the guts to take on the entrenched giants of the auto industry.
But do you have the cash?
Vincent Bollore certainly does.
The French investor and technology provider, with a personal net worth of about $6.5 billion, according to Forbes, is spending $40 million to attract Indianapolis residents to the idea of checking out small electric cars to run short errands instead of relying on their own personal transportation.
That $40 million bet is part of a $2 billion investment his Bollore Group has made developing the technology and systems to introduce the car-sharing concept in France, the United Kingdom and now North America.
Bollore, who is also executive chairman of telecom giant Vivendi, runs a family-owned company that began 193 years ago producing cigarette papers and Bibles. Over the decades, it began making electric batteries -- and then producing vehicles to use the batteries, including large public shuttle buses and small cars. More recently, he pushed Bollore Group into the ride-sharing service concept called Blue Solutions.
"Bollore is a very large company with great resources available," says Herve Muller, president of the U.S. venture, BlueIndy. "Mr. Bollore is very committed to seeing this succeed, and he knows it will be an expensive undertaking."
BlueIndy launched in September as a network of rentable electric cars using Bollore batteries and distribution systems paired with Pininfarina-developed vehicles.
Most of the installation cost will be covered by Bollore. Bollore wants to introduce the concept in other U.S. and Canadian cities.
"The investment in Indianapolis will take us five or 10 years to recoup," Muller says. "We know we're not going to make money for the first years. We will lose money, and that's OK with us.
"This is an investment for the future," he says, "and that takes a strong conviction with very strong financial means."