Bosch has announced its acquisition of the ride-sharing startup Splitting Fares Inc. (SPLT). The U.S. start-up, based in Detroit, operates a platform that allows companies, universities and municipal authorities to offer ridesharing services to their workforces.
The B2B approach is designed especially for commuters. SPLT uses an app to connect people who share the same route to their place of work or study. An algorithm finds the best composition for the ride-share and computes the fastest route. The aim is to reduce congestion and make the daily commute more relaxed. SPLT was founded in 2015 and some 140,000 users in the United States, Mexico, and Germany currently use the service. It has been agreed that the purchase price will not be disclosed.
“With SPLT, we are extending our portfolio in the growth area of mobility services,” said Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management. “Increasingly, smartphones are becoming the most important means of travel.”
Connecting road users and modes of transportation is making flexible, multimodal mobility possible: in a matter of seconds, everyone can decide how they want to travel, and make the necessary bookings.
“With this sustainable and affordable mobility service, we want to fundamentally change the way people get from A to B,” said Anya Babbitt, the co-founder and CEO of SPLT.
Increasing Numbers of Commuters
Ridesharing, in which digital services and apps are used to form carpools and to organize vehicle sharing and taxis, is a growth market in the connected mobility sector. By 2020, the number of people worldwide using rideshares is expected to rise 60 percent to 685 million (source: Statista). Up to now, the services available have usually directly targeted people who happen to be traveling in the same direction, and who want to book a ride on the spur of the moment. They have not focused so much on companies and commuters.
Commuting Without Stress
Companies, universities, or municipal authorities enable access to the SPLT platform for their employees, who then download the SPLT app, register and look for or offer a rideshare. Bookings can be made on the spur of the moment or in advance. Arrival times are displayed in real time, and costs are shared among colleagues and charged online. One advantage of this is that rides are shared by colleagues, which means users never have to get in the car with complete strangers. As a side benefit, such rideshares encourage communication and offer a chance to network. The result is a journey to work and back without stress, at low cost, and with little environmental impact. Companies can also play a role in reducing traffic volume. In the years ahead, the number of SPLT users is expected to rise many times over – with new regions also being included. Within Bosch itself, associates in Mexico are already using the app, and it is planned to extend its use to the entire company.
“We believe we have a good chance of global growth together with Bosch,” Babbitt said.
SPLT will remain an independent entity within the Bosch Group and be run as a wholly owned subsidiary.