Pioneering spirit and a new era – Where we come from

April 21, 2021
3 min
Die Corona-Pandemie hat sich auf fast alle Bereiche des öffentlichen und privaten Lebens ausgewirkt. Auch mit Blick auf die Mobilität hat die Krise für noch nie da gewesene Verhältnisse gesorgt und Entwicklungen beschleunigt, die sich sonst wahrscheinlich erst in einigen Jahren realisiert hätten. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) kann eine Lösung für Mobilitätsanbieter sein, um mit den Folgen der Pandemie umzugehen.
At Daimler AG the potential of new mobility services such as car sharing, mobility apps, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and on-demand mobility was recognised early on in the 2010s. In 2012, a start-up emerged from Daimler's Business Innovation department that aimed to put an end to the constant switching between apps from different providers to make a journey from A to B. Our conviction was “one app, one route, one payment process”. And on this principle, we developed the MaaS solution that enabled users to find, book and pay for different mobility services in a single app – a solution that has played a major role in shaping the “new mobility” in Germany and internationally. In 2020, Mobimeo acquired the part of moovel Group GmbH (moovel) that develops mobility platforms for municipalities, transport companies and associations (B2B/B2G software solutions).
Author: Philip Fürmann, Head of Delivery & Program Management

A new era

When I start­ed in Busi­ness Devel­op­ment at moov­el in 2014, some ele­ments that are now con­sid­ered inte­gral to Mobil­i­ty as a Ser­vice (MaaS) were already part of our prod­uct vision, but were still a long way from becom­ing estab­lished. We were not aware at the time that we were work­ing on “MaaS”. It took time for a clear pic­ture of poten­tial solu­tions to the now proven mantra “search – book – pay” to devel­op. Nor was it fore­see­able at the time that white-label solu­tions would hold the key to success.

How moovel brought the “from A to B principle” to an app

Even before I joined moov­el, Daim­ler was run­ning the suc­cess­ful app car2go – one of the first ever car shar­ing apps. It applied the broad­er trend of “shar­ing instead of own­ing” to cars and led to a break­through for the niche phe­nom­e­non of car shar­ing. moov­el then expand­ed the “new mobil­i­ty” con­cept. The idea was sim­ple: moov­el com­bines all options for get­ting from A to B by pub­lic trans­port or shar­ing vehi­cles in one app. At its core are the three steps: search – book  – pay.

At moov­el, we helped to shape much of what defines MaaS today. When it was found­ed in 2012, moov­el ini­tial­ly pur­sued an even broad­er approach: as well as means of trans­port, users should be able to book oth­er offers through the app, such as hotels or event tick­ets. An “app for every­thing” might sound appeal­ing at first, but in prac­tice it over­whelms most users, as the main ben­e­fit of hav­ing a clear and intu­itive app gets lost along the way. Our answer was to strip it down to the essen­tials – and this remains a key part of our phi­los­o­phy at Mobimeo today. Back in 2015, we com­bined pub­lic trans­port, car and bike shar­ing, taxi ser­vices and Deutsche Bahn offers in our app. In 2016, moov­el received the Ger­man Mobil­i­ty Award for this innovation.

From B2C to the white-label approach

At that time, many tech com­pa­nies want­ed to build mobil­i­ty plat­forms under their own brands. With their direct access to usage and cus­tomer data, they sought to con­trol the inter­face between providers and users. Even then, many of our part­ners expressed their wish to retain con­trol over this data, which is at the heart of their cus­tomer rela­tion­ships. Our response to this request was to evolve our offer­ing towards white-label apps. Their look and feel can be adapt­ed to the brand of our cus­tomers – pri­mar­i­ly trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions – who gain their own pres­ence on the mar­ket with our apps. Using this approach, we won over cus­tomers in Stuttgart, where we were head­quar­tered, in Ham­burg, Karl­sruhe, Düs­sel­dorf, Aschaf­fen­burg and abroad.

The next step was to expand out­side of Ger­many. In North Amer­i­ca, for instance, moov­el became the lead­ing provider of mobile tick­et­ing appli­ca­tions. And in Japan, a key mar­ket for future tech trends, we estab­lished a coop­er­a­tion for a MaaS app with one of the world’s largest pas­sen­ger rail com­pa­nies in col­lab­o­ra­tion with anoth­er con­glom­er­ate active in trans­port, real estate, retail, leisure and cul­ture. As a result, moov­el grew to reach over five mil­lion users.

An ideal combination – moovel and Mobimeo

In 2020, moov­el and Mobimeo joined forces to accom­plish even more togeth­er: we aim to become the num­ber one for MaaS solu­tions in Ger­many and a lead­ing provider in Europe. Both com­pa­nies have a proven track record in their fields. moov­el brings its expe­ri­ence from the pio­neer­ing years of MaaS and the tech­nol­o­gy it has devel­oped since. Mobimeo, found­ed as a cor­po­rate start-up of Deutsche Bahn, has a strong con­nec­tion to the “nat­ur­al own­ers” of pub­lic trans­port, i.e. the trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions. By bring­ing togeth­er the per­spec­tives of the providers and the users, we cre­ate the ide­al con­di­tions to devel­op inno­v­a­tive MaaS plat­forms for every­day use in the mobil­i­ty sector.

Work­ing with the inte­grat­ed mobil­i­ty providers, we cov­er all options for users to get from A to B in cities – whether on road or rail, by train, bus, bike, e‑scooter or even by car.

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