How will I go to work tomorrow ?
Like, literally tomorrow…
As a proud Parisian millennial and tech enthusiast, I am always looking for innovations, usages and ideas to improve my daily life. Paying with Revolut, ordering on Deliveroo, keeping in mind what happened in my life with Mapstr and booking my holidays on Airbnb are now things I don’t even consider as innovative or easy, they entered my life forever, at least for now.
But I still cannot decide how will I go to work tomorrow morning. Sure I won’t take my mom’s car (yes, as a Parisian, I still don’t have my license) nor will I hail a cab in the street (If you don’t understand why, try one of them next time you are in Paris). Of course I could take, as usual, the sweet ol’ parisian metro. But yesterday, Taxify’s new promotion allowed me to cross half of Paris for €0.70 and Karos proposed me to carpool.. for free (!) thanks to their new partnership with the RATP, the Paris Metro operator.
From a promotion to another, from a carpooling proposal to another, I have now on my app (to name a few) Uber, Heetch, Taxify, Karos, Chauffeur Privé, SnapCar, LeCab…and each one has its own value. I’ll take Uber to be sure to have a car within minutes or in high-demand hours, Heetch by default to have a great conversation with the driver, LeCab for the Via Technology (https://ridewithvia.com/) and Taxify out of curiosity for now but I’ll find out :)
Now the question is, what will be the future of all these companies ? It is broadly agreed that on the one hand legislation in France is evolving and is allowing more transportations companies to develop and that on the other hand these companies might not be the future of smart transportation at the eve of the autonomous/electric cars era. Here are a few possibilities of what is about to happen, at least in France.
Interestingly, each company is today trying to differentiate itself with pretty cool strategies. Uber has launched as great ad campaign with the underlying idea being “Without you we would not go anywhere” and thanking its customers for the continuous improvements they allowed the company to make via their critics. Heetch, who recently raised €12M and back by Felix Capital (http://bit.ly/2kWUB0i) where I had the opportunity to work, is THE car network for nightbirds millennials, with the “My car is your car” approach and at the intersection of carpooling and ride-hailing and so on… Price is not the only criteria anymore, consumer can now identify to a particular network of cars.
Speaking about price, another war is raging and the secret sauce is yet to be determined: where is the perfect equilibrium between price and commission ? Except Uber, the current strategy seems to be today: let’s have a promotion campaign, generate traffic, keep low prices and pay our drivers better. Basically, let’s improve the stickyness of our customers AND drivers. But this will end up pricey and more and more risky…
But for how long these strategies will coexist ? The new era of carpooling has to accelerate its transformation, which is sadly for now the privilege of the rich guys : Uber might be one of the only car-hailing and transportation pure-player company able to afford R&D in autonomous car… So better think about transformation even before consolidation.
Btw, I am still looking for the city transportation company of the future, if you happen to be a founder or have a deck to share ping me ;)
Edit : forgot to mention Antoine Nussenbaum on his great article on Heetch fundraising ;)