Pioneering spirit and a new era – Where we come from

April 21, 2021
3 min
Photo: Unsplash/Marvin Meyer
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.