Voices From The Pod: Matt Kassler, Operations & Account Lead – United States

At Zeelo, we encourage a culture where people work smart, move fast, and work together. Over the next few months, we are going to hear from some of our team from across all areas of the business
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Hi Matt! Thanks for joining today! Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work with Zeelo?

Hey Jack! Thanks for having me. I joined Zeelo a little over 2 months ago. My previous experience was at a Big Four Accounting firm, PwC, in their Digital Assurance and Transparency practice, working with Fortune 500 companies and specializing in IT External Auditing and SDLC Consulting. I was looking for a startup in which I believed strongly in its mission and values. Specifically, I searched for a role where I could make a huge difference in society. I quickly found that with Zeelo. We’re providing employees and students with safe, reliable transportation, and helping businesses with their recruiting and retention efforts, all while taking cars off the road and reducing carbon emissions. I’m excited to be part of this journey, and I’m very passionate about what we’re building here.

A little more about me, I’m from Boston, and I’m a huge Boston sports fan. I like to run, go to the gym, listen to music, watch stand-up comedy specials, learn how to cook (I’m getting better I swear), go to the beach, explore new places in the city, and spend time with friends, family, and my dog, Muffin. Some fun facts about me are that I was an extra in the movie, Grown Ups, and I was once slimed on a Nickelodeon game show.

What does a typical day in the life of an Operations & Account Lead look like?

The cliché answer I’ll give you is that we are a startup, so no day ever looks the same! My main responsibility involves working with both our clients and our internal operations team to ensure the continued success of our accounts. So many different areas make up that responsibility. It’s a cross-functional role. I work very closely with our operations, marketing, product, engineering, sales, operator partnerships, finance, live operations, and customer service teams to achieve this goal. The US team in particular is currently very small, so, although we all have set job responsibilities, often we all give a helping hand in multiple departments whenever needed. It’s all about shared success here. We’re one team. We all win and lose together as a pod!

Why are the services provided by Zeelo important for businesses in this day and age?

The services provided by Zeelo are super important for business for a number of reasons. Firstly, in the post-Covid era, we’re in today, many businesses are challenged with incentivizing employees to come into the office. With a free, reliable, technology-based bus platform like Zeelo, our clients are able to incentivize employees to work in person.

It’s also a great employee benefit that has proven to help tremendously in both recruitment and retention, especially in areas where public transportation may be lacking. Zeelo’s services enable employees to save a tremendous amount of money on gas and vehicle maintenance. It’s a huge financial saving.

With Zeelo, we can also help businesses tackle their ESG initiatives. As I mentioned earlier, we’re taking cars off the road and reducing carbon emissions. I’m excited to be part of Zeelo’s journey to having 100% electric buses on the road by 2030.

Your work sees you interacting with clients all the time, so building relationships is critical. How would you describe your interactions with organizations using our service?

We receive incredibly positive feedback from our clients. I typically meet with clients on a weekly basis, which usually turns into a few ad-hoc calls throughout the week as well. In these meetings, we discuss ridership and operational data from the past week, as well as feedback from riders to understand how we can continuously optimize the service. Additionally, I welcome clients to bring in members of different departments to our weekly touch points to understand their initiatives and determine how Zeelo can assist with their goals; we typically partner with recruitment and marketing teams, internal employees and external agencies, but it varies from client to client. I also receive a steady flow of applicant/new hire data during these calls to assess the geographic data so that we are always able to adjust routes specifically around employees and their homes.

How would you say the market in the United States differs from that of the United Kingdom?

Depends, how much time do you have? Haha. The US market is so unlike the UK. We basically have 50 different countries in one. Every state has different laws, regulations, and insurance requirements, which is unlike the UK. It’s my job to understand each state’s differences in order to provide the most optimal service for our clients and riders. The US also has many different product requirements than the UK. I meet weekly with our Product Manager in order to communicate the US-specific needs for our apps.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your role?

My role sounds very defined, but, as I said earlier, it’s actually very broad. Mostly due to the small team, we have in the US at the moment, but also because I enjoy trying new things and being involved in various aspects of the business. The US is the newest market Zeelo has entered, so we’re still learning along the way. I frequently reach out to colleagues in our other markets to see how I can build out similar processes that my UK/SA counterparts have already established in their offices.

What gets you most excited about the future of Zeelo and what has been your proudest moment in the business so far?

This is such an exciting time at Zeelo! The number of clients is growing, our US team is growing. We’re moving fast and gaining a ton of momentum. It’s super exciting! As I said, at Zeelo, it's all shared success. We’re a great team here. My proudest moment so far is our partnership with UPS. We first started running services for UPS in Harrisburg, PA. Most employees were either walking to work or taking public transportation. The UPS facility soon relocated to an area where public transportation did not serve as well and many of the employees who previously walked to work did not have access to a car, so were stuck with no way to get to and from work each day.

Zeelo first came in and provided a shuttle service from the old UPS hub to the new one. Using our proprietary routing algorithms, we have since expanded the route to 8 stops northwest of the site, which allows us to pick up employees in more centralized locations closer to their homes. Recently, we also added a southern route, as public transportation is lacking here and UPS is focusing their recruiting efforts more heavily in the area.

And finally, because it can’t be all about work! Important question! Deep dish or thin crust pizza and your favourite topping? And because there seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in go-to karaoke songs here at Zeelo, would you care to share yours?

Ah, saving the best questions for last! I’m Team thin crust for sure. I went to Italy last summer, and the thin-crust pizza I had there was by far the best I’ve ever had. For toppings, I’m a big buffalo chicken guy. I also believe that peppers and onions are underrated on pizza. However, when I can’t decide, there’s nothing wrong with the classic cheese. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

For karaoke, if anyone passes me the mic, I’m singing Mr Brightside by the Killers. Unless, Jack, we’re doing a duet. In that case, I’ll take Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee. I can sing both parts so you choose!

Thank you Matt for your time and thank you for all you do here at Zeelo!

We will continue sharing some of our inspiring team members with you this year. Keep your eyes open for our next employee spotlight next month! Make sure you are following us here and on LinkedIn and Twitter as we continue to celebrate our team.

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