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Workride: Enterprise carpooling startup

Curridabat, Costa RicaGAM, Costa Rica
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

There is a lot of inefficiency in the way people travel. Lots of us drive by ourselves, with all the waste this involves, even though a lot people have virtually the same routes. Workride is mobile platform made for enterprises, with the goal of promoting carpooling among its employees.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could reduce emissions and congestion by 30%, just by using current infrastructure and technology more efficiently?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is a lot of inefficiency in the way people travel. Lots of us drive by ourselves, waste money on gas, generate emissions and traffic with our cars, and use up a parking space as if we were the only ones taking a particular route. One of the reasons people travel this way, is they don't know of others with a similar schedule, travelling on the same direction. This affects every country, but the problem is even worse in emerging economies.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Workride is platform geared towards companies, with the goal to incentivise carpooling within its employees. The main issues with carpooling, are that people have concerns about security and flexibility. Workride solves this by targeting specific closed groups of people, such as companies, where there's a degree of trust between them. To solve the flexibility issue, we employ a mobile app that allows people to enter their schedule, route and address, in order to find good carpooling partners. If a ride needs to be changed due to an unforeseen issue, users can easily look for another match so they wont get stranded at the workplace. User adoption is not an issue, since upfront costs are covered by the company, and instead users are rewarded


One of 8 projects accepted into Open Future incubator in Costa Rica, Currently a Finalist on 2015 edition of "Yo Emprendedor", one of the top 500 latinoamerican projects on "Premios Latinoamerica Verde"
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Workride wants help decrease the amount of single occupant cars that travel on a daily basis. In doing so, we'd have an impact on the amount of cars, and therefore congestion of the countries we operate in. Additionally, we can quantify and measure the reduction of emissions generated by employees during their commute. As more people decide to carpool, more cars would be left home. The emissions related to that trip would be reduced, and additionally, with fewer cars on the streets, there would be less congestion, and with more fluid traffic, ALL trips are faster and generate less emissions. We also have positive impact on employees that travel together, motivation and productivity increase, along with overall stress levels of commuters.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Currently working on a closed beta version of the app. Right now we are only measuring the usability of the interface. In terms of projected future impact. We believe we can reduce between 5-10% of single traveler cars used at every company that has Workride. For a company with 1000 employees travelling with cars, this means at least 50 less parking spaces they have to rent (~$5000 monthly), 50 less cars means around 175 tons of CO2 not released into the environment each year. This reduction on the carbon footprint would be achievable by planting over 20000 trees each year these amount cars aren't used. People travelling together, can save anywhere between 20% to 70% of their commuting cost, just by carpooling one day per week. This is part of the measurable impact, but productivy gains, motivation, and results of less congestion are also additional effects that should be considered.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We outlined before the scenario of a 5% adoption on a single 1000 employee company. We believe we can extend our impact worldwide, after all, the model we have is easy to export as it is technology based. For big companies, mass of users wont be a problem for adoption. In Costa Rica (our first market), there's less than 20 companies of this size. We therefore thought of a model where smaller companies can participate too. We are confident we can launch the model in 2016 in Costa Rica. After we have some working capital, we are looking to expand to Panama and other Central American countries.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

This is a for profit endeavor. We believe the solution we have is very attractive to our end clients (companies), since they get a lot of environmental and social benefits, but also very important for some, operational benefits through cost reduction. A client company can save money on the parking spaces it rents, and also by reducing its investment on private transportation for employees. Productivity gains and better health for employees too.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a lot of carpooling platforms out there. One the most important differences, is that a website is not enough to solve the flexibility issues that arise. Workride allows user to request and change their planned rides at any time of the day, and since its mobile, others involved can react quickly as well. Aside from this, we are also positioning ourselves as advisers and partners, rather than a mere provider of a tech solution. In order to get people to change their behavior, we make an incentive plan for each company, to offer its employees, and that way maximize their adoption.

Founding Story

Costa Rica is a country that was ranked 51th on a recent WEF Global Competitiveness Report, but its ranked 131th on its roads, out of 144. I had a 1 hour commute in my last job, and we actually had a carpooling system in place. It was more of a traditional scheme. We had a wall where we had the address of some people, and we were told we should carpool. I carpooled sometimes, but this job had very flexible hours, so you could get stuck for 2 extra hours if you carpooled the wrong day. One day I was driving by myself, and 10 minutes into the commute I saw a coworker at a traffic light. We were going to exactly the same place, for the next 50 minutes, and yet both were using our cars. Why?


Right now, the core team is our two cofounders. Raul Martin has a business major from the University of Costa Rica. He has work experience of more than 3 years, on companies such as Dole Fruit Company, McKinsey and Co, and Copal Amba. (Accounting, consulting, investment banking). His current role is everything business related! Looking and handling meetings with clients/investors, thinking up the business model and relationships with clients/partners, researching other carpooling platforms and bibliography to include best practices, UX interviews with users, handling marketing efforts (branding, website, publicity), pitching, meetings, and everything finance related. Full-time since May. Rodrigo Estrada studied software design on CENFOTEC, a university dedicated exclusively to digital programs. He has over 3 years of experience building mobile applications for a boutique software firm, and important projects under his belt that are currently being used by the Hondurean government. His current role is totally focused on the technological solution. Thinking up the requirements and documentation for the app, managing the product process, fixing bugs and handling QA for the whole platform, looking up similar apps to include user friendly design, coding the complete back-end in AWS, finding and making decisions on the ideal tools for the infrastructure, incorporating user feedback into the app and following up with designers to improve the platform. Full time since May. We have three main advisors we consider part of the team. Juan Muñoz, Alejandro Egea, Manfred Kopper, on the advisors section we delve deeper into our relationship We believe we have the right team composition for the challenge today. We contract with a designer for some of our marketing documents, and other experts as specific things come up. In order to launch our app and get to market, the current team will be able to perform. ( we have some clients that have expressed interest in participating during 2016) However, we plan to grow the team once we can afford to. We would like to hire communications specialist first thing, since we need to create a strong community and set of information that end users should receive and grasp easily. We also need to expand our technical team, to be able to have a faster output on our tools. As we get larger, we would think of hiring a dedicated designer to work on all projects, and customer service reps as needed, since users will definitely will reach out with issues along the way. Most of the positions will need to be filled as our user base gets larger, and that is why we feel at the moment we are the most efficient team possible.