- Founders: Maarten Neeskens
- Founded in: 2021
- Employees: none, we are with two partners and have a flex pool of delivery people (we are looking for people!)
- Money raised: private investments only
- Ultimate goal: Keeping cities livable and getting as many people as possible to use shared mobility in a way that provides a lot of comfort.
Greenwheels, Share Now and MyWheels: there is at least one shared car parkeed on every street in Amsterdam. Walking down these streets, one automatically gets the idea that the shared car is doing well. However, figures from the KiM (Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis) say otherwise. Although the use of shared cars is growing, only two percent of the Dutch use this service, which accounts for 0.02 percent of the total number of car trips made in 2021.
“The promise that one shared car will replace ten ‘regular’ cars is not really coming true yet. Users of shared cars are mainly people who do not own a car themselves,” says Maarten Neiskens, CEO and founder of Appacar (pronounced App a car). The start-up wants to facilitate mobility services so well that a shared car is actually more economical and convenient than owning a car yourself. In this episode of Start-up of the day, Neiskens talks about how he plans to get people to give up their own car for a shared car.
How do you plan to change KiM’s sobering figures?
“We deliver shared and rental cars in minutes to businesses and individuals at their doorstep. Our target group is people who are used to having a (second) car on their doorstep. We want to make the sharing car process so user-friendly that it feels like you have a car in front of your door. But without the hassle of having your own car. So: no hassles with parking, taxes, maintenance or charging.”
And how exactly will you do that?
“Our service can be used in other mobility apps. So someone orders a shared car through a mobility provider’s app, which integrates the Appacar delivery button. If you use that, we come and deliver the car to your doorstep.
We divide areas into zip code pools. That’s a small area where we link a delivery team to car sources and the customer group. Does the zip code pool get too busy? Then we cut it up. It is very important to be able to assess the pressure in such a ZIP code pool well and not to wait too long before splitting it up. The most important thing is that users can rely on us and that we can deliver.
We have developed software and algorithms to optimize this process. We don’t own cars or users ourselves. Our partners are mobility apps and, of course, the sharing and rental car companies. For them, we provide an attractive customer experience for a new target group while improving car availability and utilization rates.”
How far along are you at this point?
“We did a pilot in two zip code pools: one in Den Bosch and one in Tilburg. Here we learned how to develop a zip code pool and focus on implementing the service with cars and users from our partners. Now we have acquired three test areas through the Mobility Lab. One is Helmond (including Stiphout, Automotive Campus and the Brandevoort neighborhood) where we will go live April 16. Here we can deliver cars to the door within an hour. We will test how we get the area profitable quickly and how quickly we can expand with our partners.”
What does it cost?
“It works a little like booking a plane ticket. If you order a car far in advance, our delivery service is very cheap. If you want to use the car within an hour, it’s more expensive. The delivery price is communicated in advance.”
Where do you want to be in five years?
“By then, we will probably be mostly located at Sharehub mobility hubs on the periphery of large and medium-sized cities. That’s where we can make the biggest difference, because that’s where owning a car causes the most hassle. By operating from the periphery, we can also serve surrounding municipalities and business parks well. Our concept seems to fit well with a large number of European cities. So we are also already making contacts for pilots in Paris, London, Brussels and Antwerp. But, those big cities also have a big disadvantage. Because to what extent can we guarantee to be at the door at the agreed time if there is a traffic jam? We experienced this at a test location in Amsterdam. In theory, you could be in Amsterdam East within ten minutes and in the center within twenty minutes. But yes, if you are behind a truck that is unloading, it stops. So we have to learn to deal with that.”