“It starts with a great team, right? Only if you have a great team, you can actually achieve exceptional results.”
When it comes to strategy and success in sports – and in business – Marko Hrankovic takes his words to heart. He’s played in tennis leagues and coached competitive golfers, and is now running around after his young son!
As Group Leader with Modaxo, based in Hamburg, Marko is the head coach for the business leaders that are growing Modaxo capabilities and personnel. He says good business really is all about the people, and appreciates the company focus on developing talent.
“It’s my job to hold people accountable and lead by example,” he says of his hands-on approach.
And an empowering work environment goes a long way to building a strong team spirit, something he’s become known for throughout his career in managing commercial operations for start-ups and established companies in the European market.
“Every business has different challenges and different growth aspirations. But what’s key is taking time for business leads, setting clear goals, and supporting them on the way forward to achieve these targets.”
And for Modaxo, which he joined in October 2021, that means acquiring and growing businesses in public transportation with a long-term perspective. “The goal is to provide the technologies that will enable the daily movement of more than one billion people by 2030,” he says. He uses transit himself, but admits he relies on his car for family trips and driving to sports facilities.
He also says green mobility, with the best technology behind it, is something to get excited about.
“A lot of cities have goals to become climate neutral. Public transportation needs to be the backbone of mobility that people are looking for,” he explains.
“It’s about providing an attractive service, so you can motivate people to step away from individual transportation. This is not only important for achieving climate neutrality but will also contribute towards more livable cities by gradually freeing up parking spaces in city centers as additional spaces for pedestrians or cyclists.”
What set him on a path for building great teams and leveraging technology?
Marko grew up near Cologne in Germany, a busy urban commercial and cultural center on the banks of the Rhine. He took business administration at the University of Cologne and then went to the University of California, San Diego to further his studies in corporate finance, controlling and macroeconomics.
He’s spent his career working in Germany in the telecommunications and energy sectors at start-ups and more mature companies to scale up and do better.
At one point, he parlayed his love for golf with his entrepreneurial skills to co-found Time to Golf, a company that delivered a platform for online bookings for tee times.
He also spearheaded operations for a digital parking services provider with a top-rated app, first responsible for building the markets in Germany and Austria and then heading operations throughout Europe. The company was part of a global joint venture that promoted car sharing, ride hailing, charging and parking solutions for people navigating urban journeys.
If that sounds like the perfect setup for his move to Modaxo, Marko would hasten to agree: “I’ve always been passionate about technology and mobility,” he says.
“Strategic thinking and execution are important skills for every leader. I think especially when you’re working in start-ups and in scale-ups, it’s actually a lot about getting the job done.”
Part of the job is measuring progress and challenging the team to look at how well they’re doing and if necessary adapting quickly, he says. And when you take a long-term perspective, solid performance truly depends on creating customer value and developing a strong and loyal employee base.
All this, he says, is driven by his own quest to take on new challenges and rank up the wins.
“Staying curious is key because the world is moving very fast. So being curious and always willing to learn new skills and capabilities is critical.”