The future of mobility.
For the fourth day of the Automotive Tour, we kicked the day off at Gigster. These last couple of days have been tremendously inspiring as plenty of idea’s are already bubbling up. These ideas eventually need to be developed in an app, website, community,… you name it! That’s where Gigster comes in! They only recruit the top 10X developers – being defined as 10 x faster, 10 x better, 10 x smarter. The kind of people to work for Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. But who – depending on how they stand in life – doesn’t? They’re the type of people that live in different countries, work in different time zones, with/without colleagues, on a beach, in an office, work on different aspirational projects. Gigster’s unique approach is to use Artificial Intelligence to link the right developers from their pool with over 1000 dev’s to the right projects. Together they are able to develop an impressive range of technologies. Customers range from start-ups that seek to develop minimum viable/awesome products to the big tech companies. They’re heavily funded. We already met them last year at Andreessen-Horowitz, the most renowned VC in Silicon Valley. Recently, they’ve raised a series B round with i.e. Michael Jordan, Marc Benioff, next to the existing investors.
Then we went on to Jake Lussier. He discussed in depth the huge opportunities and pitfalls related to flying cars. Matters like safety, noise, cost. Will it require pilots? Air traffic management? What will it solve? In all 16 questions, but 0 answers to date. However, the main learning to walk away with is that there’s a ton of people working on it today, so it’s definitely a space to keep a close eye on.
Next was micro-insurance at Trōv. The ability to insure i.e. your camera when you’re on holiday. Or have your car insured while you’re driving it, but have a lower insurance while it’s parked in the garage. This can all be triggered automatically, based on beacons, location, timing, purchases, etc. It’s already live in the UK and Australia. True to what’s expected from disruptive start-ups, none of the founders have any experience with insurances. However, several big traditional insurances aren’t only underwriting the products that are offered on the platform, they have also become investors. The platform can be white-labelled…so if you’re game for the micro-insurance market…contact them.
When we visited San Francisco a year ago, you could see the odd Chariot running around, a Ford Transit carrying up to 14 passengers servicing a line like traditional bus companies. If people wanted a line from their neighborhood, they could vote and even “invest” in it. If it was popular enough, the line would be opened. Through the app, you can book a seat on one of the Chariots serving the line you want to take, assuring that you have a place. The popular the line, the more Chariots there are. Currently, most of the lines are served with 2 minute intervals between Chariots. It has become incredible successful. And compared with other ride sharing solutions, it actually diminishes the number of vehicles on the road. (San Francisco has seen a rise of about 20% in city traffic caused by Uber and Lyft). They’re now active in 4 cities and are working on an international expansion. Ford actually bought the company last year (they started the discussions when Chariot was 1 year old!). Smart move from Ford as they now have a portfolio of mobility services (i.e. the Ford bicycles) that allows them to approach cities and offer them encompassing mobility solutions. We asked if we could buy them back from Ford, but that wasn’t really on the table. There’s lots more to tell about Chariot, but we’ll keep that for a follow-up article.
Our next stop was a real treat as well! Ridecell has been in the market for quite some time now. They had started up by doing their own ride sharing solution, but then Uber came along. Competition was fierce and Ridecell decided to pivot. They started focussing on further advancing their platform. Allowing it to be white-labelled. BMW i.e. uses it for DriveNow and ReachNow. They also see a huge shift going on in the automotive…. autonomous is on the horizon, electricity is the way, the internal combustion engine is done for. But also the ripple effect will be huge…what about the gas stations, what about the trucks bringing the gas, and so on. Not easy to hear if you’re in the business, but slowly but surely, we’re starting to see all the opportunities it will bring. We finished the day with a live demo at ridecell. Opening and starting the car and the engine through apps. Connecting with the backends of the OEM’s. Afterwards, the people from ridecell were so enthusiastic, they took us to a nearby bar to treat us on good old Belgian beers 🙂! Everybody in our group shared the enthusiasm for their system.