Porsche NEXT OI 2019 — Last Year’s Interview with Fleetbird

In this series of blogs we are revisiting some of the interviews we did last year with a handful of the teams who took part in the Porsche NEXT OI Competition. We hope these first-hand accounts will inspire you to take part in this year’s competition as well as give you a realistic idea of what you can expect from the competition itself.

Right now, we’re about two weeks in to this year’s competition and if you’ve not signed up yet, don’t worry, there’s still time to get involved! Registration is open until the 30th of April: simply head over to the competition site now and sign up to get started.

In this post from last year we caught up with the team at Fleetbird, a German startup which provides users with a software solution to run their free floating car or scooter sharing businesses. Fleetbird has since the last year’s competition been acquired by Wunder Mobility and rebranded to WunderFleet — congratulations!

We hope that what they have to say will give you a deeper insight into the work processes, struggles and highlights of the teams and individual developers as they go through the competition.

If you feel inspired by Fleetbird’s 2018 Porsche NEXT OI project, there’s still time to register and take part in this year’s competition yourself! Simply head over to the Porsche NEXT OI Competition site and sign up now.

What made your team want to take part in the competition?

The whole Fleetbird team is already an active part of the mobility market. In this competition we want to demonstrate how Porsche technology is a great addition to existing concepts and how it enables new ideas.

What is your company working on (outside of the competition)?

Fleetbird is a mobility software company. Right now we are the leading SaaS platform for free-floating scooter sharing. Our platform enables cars, scooters, transporters, and e-bikes in over 25 cities worldwide. Our customers are Emmy (Germany), Muving (Spain), Felyx (Netherlands), Scooty (Belgium) and more. Right now we are working on a new concept for an on-demand shuttle services among other things.

Tell us about the application idea that you are developing for the competition.

If you take a look at the mobility market you will see different concepts and business models. In the past few months there have been several premium OEMs piloting subscription and free-floating models. Services like the Porsche Passport, Mercedes me Flexperience and Audi Select are examples of this kind of concept.

At Fleetbird we think that these models:

a.) need clearer customer communication

b.) more personalization

Our project brings together our platform with Porsche technology to build a new solution. We can’t tell you more yet, but it will be amazing!

What do you see as the biggest value of the competition for your team and/or idea?

There are a couple of key benefits for us in taking part in the competition. First of all, we think that we can grow as a team and build great concepts in a short space of time. Secondly, the competition offers lots of APIs which are very useful for building modern business models. We really hope that other OEMs will follow suit. The main problem we see in the market right now is that the communication between hardware and software is awful. It feels like in 80% of cases this is the reason why people don’t launch new businesses in the mobility market.

Which apps do you find particularly inspiring?

We really like Postmates, myTaxi, and Car2Go. The UI is clear, the concepts are simple and they function exactly how you’d expect.

What’s your previous experience of developing apps for connected cars?

We are working on connected vehicles every day. This is our main business. But of course we are more focused on the “meta-level” and operators in general.

Which have been the most enjoyable aspects and the biggest challenges of taking part in the competition so far?

A challenge of ours has been the number of ideas we’ve had — to begin with we simply had too many! It was hard to figure out which features we wanted to build and how the concept should look. Due to the relatively short time frame scheduling everything correctly is crucial.

If you could give one piece of advice for other startup teams or developers taking part in the competition what would it be?

Focus on the product. Start small and then add new features. As we say in Germany: don’t try to build an “Eierlegende Wollmilchsau”, which means something like “egg-laying and milk-giving woolly pig”.

Has the team from Fleetbird piqued your interest in taking part in this year’s Porsche NEXT OI Competition? If so, make sure to head over to the competition site for all the details you need to join this innovative and exciting development challenge. Over the coming weeks we’ll be publishing some more interviews from last year to get your ideas flowing!