Moovel acquires RideScout, mytaxi to further its vision for urban mobility in the age of smartphones


If you want to partake in the sharing economy to get from point A to B, it’s about to get easier. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Car2go’s parent company announced Wednesday that it is acquiring two transportation apps, Austin-based RideScout and Hamburg-based mytaxi. The services bolster efforts by Moovel, formerly known as Daimler Mobility Services, to leverage smartphones for transportation needs.

“We really want to give our members more choices and many choices for compete needs. We don’t want to make it more difficult, we want to make it easier for the customer to really get from point A to B,” Moovel chief executive Robert Henrich told me.

While car2go and mytaxi will remain as standalone apps, the promise of the acquisition is creating an even more powerful RideScout, which aggregates transportation options for travelers.

“It’s further validation for Americans all over the United States that multi-modal transportation and the ability to get around without your car is going to be made much easier,” said Joseph Kopser, co-founder of RideScout.

Henrich expects an all-in-one transportation app to be appealing to consumers, instead of having to open several apps to compare one’s options.

“We think the way the smartphone is being used today to augment transportation is in a way, if you think through it, is kind of stupid. The user makes the decision first, to use for example the bike or the taxi or the car2go and then he opens one of those many apps,” Henrich said. “What smartphone should do is prepare the decision for him and come up with meaningful options.”

Car2go member will be able to reserve a car from within the RideScout app, but it won’t be playing favorites with its recommendations.

“The app will bring the best mobility option for you depending on your preferences and current conditions, like traffic and weather. It can be car2go or other means of transport,” Henrich explained.

Henrich said there are no plans to bring advertising to the RideScout app. The business lies in Moovel getting a cut of the money you spend on your taxi or bicycle. Terms of the acquisitions were not announced.

Car2go began as Henrich’s idea while working in the Daimler Business Innovation lab seven years ago in Stuggart, Germany. The first iPhone was released and he was excited about the potential of the mobile Internet to shake up transportation.

Now the popular car sharing service has 850,000 registered members in 26 cities worldwide and expects to have one million members by the end of the year.

In the late summer of 2013 RideScout set up its first offices at 1776, a tech incubator in Washington, D.C. An additional office was later opened in Austin*, and will remain open even with the acquisition.

*An earlier version of this story stated that RideScout relocated to Austin. Only a portion of the staff moved to Austin, some employees still remain at its original office at 1776. We regret the error.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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