Creating space for commuters
In dialogue with the founder and CEO of SPLT
The whole world is sharing — information, experiences and data. It’s why Anya Babbitt is asking “Why not the journey to work?” The founder of the carpooling startup SPLT is on the verge of revolutionizing commuting.
Sharers are winners?
There are good reasons to share car journeys with other people — people that don’t travel alone, save money says Anya Babbit. “And it’s good for the environment.” The more people sharing the journey to work, the less traffic on the roads. Nevertheless ride-sharing programmes have not yet become the norm. Babbitt speaks of the “stigma” of ride-sharing opportunities, something she first had to shake off with her SPLT startup. By her own account, it is also something she has managed to do — and built up a profitable ride-sharing service within the space of four years.
In 2020, the number of commuters using ride-sharing programmes have been increased by an estimated 60 per cent worldwide to 685 million.
Her recipe for success: “We are focused from business to business. We partner with corporations, universities and municipalities.” Over 140,000 commuters worldwide have already downloaded the SPLT app onto their smartphone. “They are receiving different incentives from organizations,” explains Babbitt. It could be vouchers to fill up with gas or have a reserved parking space right next to the building. “At BMW, they are now offering BMW 3series cars fresh from the manufacturing floor to anyone who participates.”
The average time commuters spend commuting according to a survey conducted in 52 industrial nations (source: Dalia).
Babbitt can speak at length about the advantages of people commuting together — she’s never short of an argument. Workers that share their daily trip to work are obviously more relaxed, she says. Due to SPLT selecting the ride-sharer by means of an algorithm set to the shortest journey, it brings together people that would have otherwise never met up. “Often organizations are very siloed. In addition to sharing their car and the trip, they are also sharing stories. They are solving problems together and they are helping each other in a way that is very different. In a way, they wouldn’t normally meet in the organization.”
“If five per cent of the cars are taken off the road, highways would move 50 per cent faster.”
Anya Babbitt, founder and CEO of SPLT
It results in an approach that extends far beyond the pure aspect of mobility. In Babbitt’s eyes, sharing is not an anachronism in an increasingly individualised world. People are now far more willing to temporarily rent out their apartments and houses. “Why don’t we also see our car as a part of our homes and invite colleagues to share spaces and costs.”
Gold rush in the shared mobility sector
“The basic form of transport in the future is only now just starting to be developed,” believes Babbitt. The way in which people get from A to B is no longer decisive, “more important is the platform by which they reach their destination.” At the moment, there is a distinct “goldrush” feel to the shared mobility sector says the SPLT boss. “And we’re doing the initial digging.”
An interview with Anya Babbitt, founder of the carpooling startup SPLT
Anya Babbitt, 35
Founder and CEO, SPLT
Our vision is to change how people meet and move worldwide.
Anya Babbitt, who worked for a long time in Boston and New York, got the idea for SPLT in 2014 when she was waiting for a shuttle bus on the daily journey to the office. As it was full, she opted to split a taxi with two other people who were also waiting and headed in the same direction. The idea for SPLT was born — and so simple it may be, it could revolutionize commuting. Bosch acquired the US startup at the start of 2018.
On average people spend more than an hour on their daily journey to and from work. To save time, Anya Babbitt founded the startup SPLT. It successfully uses an algorithm that is designed to transport employees quicker and more relaxed to their destination.