The Munich startup Ridebee wants to develop a carpooling app for daily commuters. The three founders Tobias Reinerth, Fabian Seitz and Lukas Mohs already have their first customers on board. In addition to Xpreneurs and LMU EC, the Exist Grant has definitely helped the founders drive their startup forward. So what else does the mobility startup have to say? Tobias answered our seven questions.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
Lukas met me, Tobias, during a semester abroad for his computer science BA studies in Melbourne. I had studied math at the Technical University of Munich and was in Paris for an MBA and convinced Lukas to transfer to TU Munich for his Master’s. During other semesters abroad at MIT in Boston and CMU in Pittsburgh, Lukas met Fabian, a business graduate who then completed our founding team.
With Ridebee, we’re developing a carpooling app for daily commuting. That was exactly how the idea originated, since I had to commute about 40 km (25 miles) to the campus in Garching during my studies. In addition to initially matching up carpooling groups, our platform primarily focuses on long-term daily organization. That allows us to guarantee regular use. That, in turn, helps build a critical mass and get the platform rolling.
Companies can reduce costs and make better use of vehicles
2. But that’s already been done!
We actually hear that often… it ranges from comparisons with BlaBlaCar to DriveNow. Every shared mobility solution is suitable for particular routes. With car-sharing (such as DriveNow, Car2Go), vehicles are made available, with ride-hailing (like Uber or CleverShuttle), you even get both a vehicle and driver. The closest comparison is with BlaBlaCar. That being said, their set focus is on specific long-distance routes between cities and on the B2C market.
With our approach, companies are addressed directly, and they also bear the costs for their employees. For now, our platform is limited to daily commutes to work and between company locations. That means we already cover roughly 50% of the short-distances traveled in Germany. By arranging rides that happen daily anyway, we’re decreasing costs compared to car-sharing by about a factor of four and by a factor of 10 compared to ride-hailing. Another goal of ours is not to increase the number of vehicles on the road, which has proven to be the case with car-sharing and ride-hailing. In contrast, we want to increase the number of people per vehicle.
“Decreased emissions, traffic and parking lot problems”
3. What are the three main ingredients in your recipe for success?
First and foremost, a strong team — we complement each other well with our skills and are always in a good state of mind – both in and out of the office.
It was important to us from the beginning for product development to be very data driven. That allows us to see where our resources can be used most efficiently and, in the true meaning of the phrase, to quickly get from A to B.
A lot of mobility services increase individual convenience, but unfortunately actually end up putting more miles on the road. With our product, we’re reducing the strain caused by emissions, traffic and parking lot problems, which allows us to contribute to a sustainable mobility revolution. That motivates us every day.
4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
We now have a project on the TUM Campus at the Garching Research Center and at a new company location. Getting started with other companies is set for spring 2019. In the existing projects, the product has been widely accepted with a registration rate of up to 15%. We also have a clear road map for how we can increase use rates even further.
5. What does Munich mean to you?
Munich is a true mobility stronghold. This is where startups like Mitfahrgelegenheit.de, Flixbus and Lilium were established. The incubation programs from TUM and LMU really helped us move forward. Moreover, Digital Hub Mobility and Munich Urban Colab, which should open in 2020, also offer further opportunities for funding and networking. There’s also something that (unfortunately) is an advantage for Ridebee… Munich is Germany’s traffic jam capital!
Ridebee is “all in”
6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
The shared mobility market is growing by about 30% each year — it’s a win-win situation for every approach. On the other hand, our undertaking is also naturally a question of the social mindset and the right timing. For us, that definitely means we’re “all in” without any backup plans.
7. Schweinshaxe (knuckle of pork) or Steckerlfisch (fish grilled on a stick)?
We don’t always agree on everything, be we do in this case: Without a doubt, a pork knuckle!