Everybody living in the countryside is very familiar with the topic of the „last mile” – the question of how to get to the next public transportation. But the scarce or complete lack of infrastructure wasn’t the only issue Sebastian Tanzer and Christopher Stelzmüller wanted to solve when they founded Triply in 2017. Driven by intent to better the rural mobility they created an intelligent taxi sharing system.
Impact and biggest achievements
It seemed that the citizens were not using the implemented solutions for their daily commute. Even though all the municipalities face the same issues and the need was there, subsidizing turned out to be too expensive. To keep their project alive the team focused to tackle one field of the subject – event shuttle services. Being dependent on a car whenever you go somewhere, means that a lot of people take on the risk and drive to events themselves, despite sleep deprivation and maybe having a drink or more. Every year approximately 3.000 people are injured in alcohol-related car accidents in Austria alone.
With Triply event managers now can organize a safe, environment-friendly, social transportation to their event. The biggest success so far was the transportation of 900 people in one night and a total of about 4.400.
Future plans and challenges
In the beginning, Triply tried to focus on the day to day commutes by intelligently merging different rides so that the users could share a taxi. Now they are analyzing the demographics (where people at which age live and where no public transportation is available) so that they can estimate how many people are going to an event, which directions are the best, what kind of vehicle is needed, where to put up a stop and which local company to book to operate the drive. During the ticket sale, the algorithm adapts the requirements accordingly to the sold tickets.
Still with the vision in mind to reshape rural mobility Triply is building software to simulate transportation for certain regions so that you can realize what solutions would work best for the municipalities. The challenge here is to get everybody on board – from the Austrian federal railways to local taxi companies. Another challenge is to get the required data. You have to use different data sources, like statistics, publicly available data from the European agency and think outside of the box to combine different data to get the results that you need.
Social entrepreneurship in Austria
Sebastian Tanzer, the CEO of Triply, states the situation for social entrepreneurs in Austria is great when you start your company. You receive grants and different funding opportunities to kick off the project. In the later stages, when your firm grows and you need to raise additional money, the conservative mindset sets in and it gets more challenging. Funding in other countries (like the USA or Germany) seems easier. Therefore the idea is to expand into other countries in Europe.
Inspire more youth to start their own businesses
The founders also introduced an interesting project in their school, called “Think your product”-week. During this week the students get the opportunity to work one whole week on their product ideas, develop their project, train pitches and then receive feedback from mentors. That whole experience made it a lot easier to found their own company as they did not only had to focus on the project itself, but also take into account the economic side of the business.
Another improvement that Sebastian suggested, would be to simplify the process of starting a new company. While in other countries the setting up of a firm only takes a few minutes and in some cases can be done completely online, in Austria you have a time-consuming process ahead of you that might discourage some people. From contacting and paying a lawyer, to setting up a contract, sign every change before a notary and physically go to the company register. Young entrepreneurs would benefit from a more transparent, open and digital incorporation.
“If you have something in mind that you want to pursue, just start! Start somewhere! Even if some parts of it seem scary, all will fall into place and you will eventually learn everything that you need to do it.”
Sebastian Tanzer, CEO of Triply
Interview conducted and text written by Sanja Cancar