Shaping the future of mobility – Founding and mission of Mobimeo

February 23, 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.
Mobility is undergoing a major transformation. New forms of transport, sharing models and smart technologies define this change on the technical side. Beyond that, we want to have with greater flexibility, freedom and sustainability in our everyday travel choices. Sometimes we want to take things slow, sometimes we need to move fast. Sometimes we want our own hands on the wheel, other times we prefer to sit back and relax. In 2017, the idea was born to create an app that would act as a key to this changing world of mobility and simplify access to all the services on offer.
Author: Lea Zander, Head of People & Organization

A new dawn

At that time, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies in Ger­many had start­ed to offer apps as dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion chan­nels for mobile devices. These apps were often lim­it­ed to one basic func­tion: find­ing the best route from A to B. At the same time, mobil­i­ty providers entered the mar­ket with offer­ings that were based on a dig­i­tal busi­ness mod­el from the start. The shar­ing econ­o­my was made pos­si­ble by smart­phones, GPS tech­nol­o­gy to show your own loca­tion and the trend towards “shar­ing over own­ing”. With­in a short peri­od of time, an over­whelm­ing vari­ety of options emerged for get­ting from A to B in nov­el ways. At the same time, a mul­ti­tude of new apps were pub­lished in the app stores, each requir­ing its own cus­tomer account and pay­ment data. As for clar­i­ty and user-friend­li­ness, they were left by the wayside.

Unterwegs!

With ser­vices such as Call a Bike and Flinkster, Deutsche Bahn (DB) par­tic­i­pat­ed in this trend from an ear­ly stage. The key ques­tion was: How can the users’ “pain” result­ing from dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion – con­fu­sion, poor com­pa­ra­bil­i­ty and labo­ri­ous book­ing – be turned into an advan­tage using the tools of digitalisation?

Based on its expe­ri­ence in dig­i­tal­is­ing busi­ness mod­els and its roots in local pub­lic trans­port, it quick­ly became clear with­in DB that a cru­cial link had to be cre­at­ed between new­ly devel­oped forms of mobil­i­ty and the tra­di­tion­al­ly frag­ment­ed local pub­lic trans­port indus­try to avoid being left behind: a spe­cialised tech­nol­o­gy ser­vice provider that knows the indus­try and can devel­op inno­v­a­tive solu­tions with the meth­ods and speed of a start-up. In just a short time, an inter­nal project called “Unter­wegs” (“On the Way”) evolved into a con­crete plan to found a new company.

Kreuzberg

Look­ing back at Mobimeo’s found­ing from today’s per­spec­tive, it all starts – as is so often the case – with an encounter: Kalle Greven, Project Man­ag­er at DB, wants to get the new com­pa­ny off the ground – prefer­ably right away. The idea is there, a pos­i­tive busi­ness case and the tech­ni­cal under­stand­ing to imple­ment it. What’s miss­ing is a col­lab­o­ra­tor to help turn the idea into real­i­ty. The search quick­ly leads to a name, then a phone call to a meet­ing. Kai Peter, financ­ing expert and entre­pre­neur­ial go-get­ter from the rail­way indus­try, finds Kalle’s enthu­si­asm infec­tious. Togeth­er they get the keys to the new company’s office on Prinzessin­nen­straße in Berlin-Kreuzberg in the sum­mer of 2018: “Unter­wegs” becomes Mobimeo GmbH.

Growth and first products

In the first few months, speed is the word most often heard in the cor­ri­dors of Mobimeo. We set a quick pace in the devel­op­ment of our min­i­mal viable prod­ucts (MVPs), with which we aim to prove to our first cus­tomers that we’re on the right track.

The young com­pa­ny is grow­ing. The two founders become a team of 32 with­in the first year. Key posi­tions are filled and it quick­ly becomes clear what Mobimeo can do to stand out from its emerg­ing com­peti­tors on the mar­ket for Mobil­i­ty-as-a-Ser­vice solu­tions. One of the cru­cial fac­tors for the future suc­cess of mobil­i­ty providers is to estab­lish and devel­op the dig­i­tal inter­face to their cus­tomers. This enables the providers to offer the best ser­vice and to bind cus­tomers to their own platform.

From the very begin­ning, we have pur­sued a part­ner­ship-based approach. Togeth­er with cus­tomers and mobil­i­ty providers, we devel­op white-label apps and mod­ules that, as a first step, incor­po­rate the require­ments of Ger­man local pub­lic trans­port and give users an alter­na­tive to the offer­ings of inter­na­tion­al tech companies.

In this way, we win over S‑Bahn Stuttgart, Berlin­er Verkehrs­be­triebe (BVG) and S‑Bahn Berlin in quick suc­ces­sion. That gives us at least three rea­sons to cel­e­brate Mobimeo’s sec­ond birth­day in 2020!

2021

At the end of 2020, Mobimeo acquires part of moov­el Group GmbH (moov­el), which has been devel­op­ing mobil­i­ty plat­forms for munic­i­pal­i­ties and trans­port asso­ci­a­tions for some time. This makes us one of Europe’s largest plat­form devel­op­ers for Mobil­i­ty-as-a-Ser­vice (MaaS) appli­ca­tions. Togeth­er with BMW Group and Daim­ler Mobil­i­ty AG as the exist­ing share­hold­ers of moov­el, Deutsche Bahn AG pools its resources for devel­op­ing region­al mobil­i­ty plat­forms at Mobimeo.

Changing the way cities move 

We are con­vinced that glob­al solu­tions, like those offered by inter­na­tion­al tech com­pa­nies, are not the best solu­tion for the mobil­i­ty indus­try, nor for users. To achieve what we set out to do when we found­ed Mobimeo, we need our local per­spec­tive. How can we move through cities in a way that’s easy, con­ve­nient and still good for the plan­et? What modes of trans­port can we inte­grate into our prod­ucts to pro­vide the most com­pelling offer?

Our answer is a plat­form that we con­tin­ue to devel­op in col­lab­o­ra­tion with strong local part­ners. A plat­form for easy-to-use apps that take users straight to their destination.

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