Carpooling platform and self-proclaimed “Airbnb-for-the-road” Toogethr is back. After the original founders pulled the plug back in 2014, planning & mobility platform Calendar42 decided to buy into the company. No detailled information about the takeover was provided, nor did we hear anything from the startup since then. But now they are back. So what will Toogethr do differently this time in the tough carpooling market with dominant players such as BlaBlacar?
The main reason that Toogethr didn’t survive was the revenue model: not many people were eager to actually pay Toogethr for the service provided. Once a match was made between driver and carpooler, the platform could not add any more value or make money. ‘Other ride sharing and car sharing companies, such as BlaBlacar and Snappcar, have a revenue model that is built on reservation fees, mediation fees and insurances, something Toogethr lacked,’ explains Michel Boerrigter, CEO of Calendar 42. ‘Toogethr was a sharing economy forerunner in the Netherlands with a remarkable impact on the sharing mindset. Unfortunately for its continuity, the initial platform was not set out to earn money or add value in any other way. We took over the company with Calendar 42 in early 2015 with the purpose of exploring the extended potential of the ridesharing platform while adding some of our own magic.’
That magic comes from Calendar42’s extensive background in mobility and travel information. The company did its research and found out that almost 40% of our daily miles travelled are related to our daily commute. On top of that more and more organizations face issues regarding accessibility and a lack of parking space. ‘Based on these facts we decided to rebuild Toogethr with one purpose: addressing mobility issues in daily commutes & offer it as a B2B service. That’s where Toogethr differs from other ridesharing or car sharing companies,’ says Boerrigter.
Saving the planet
Although we all know that sharing a ride is better for the environment, short-term convenience is often more important to people than any long term purpose like saving the planet. Therefore it was clear to Boerrigter and his team that the approach and the customer journey in the carpooling industry needed to change. ‘The past 18 months Accenture and Calendar42 have worked closely with major employers at the Zuidas (Amsterdam) to discover how we could attune ridesharing with commuting. By combining our planning technology with existing communities of colleagues and a bonus system we could take away the hassle of getting people to drive together.’
With this new business model, Toogethr helps organizations leverage their communities that enable and simplify sharing a ride amongst co-workers. ‘Ridesharing with Toogethr is incredibly easy and profitable for every individual participant in those business communities. People will experience direct advantages from their daily trips to and from work: saving money, avoiding parking dilemmas and building a great network.’