Based in the heart of Berlin CarJump has the goal to make carsharing available to anyone. CarJump enables its users to search for, reserve and book carsharing vehicles from a multitude of providers via one simple app. With its newest features CarJump enables its users to register with all carsharing providers with one signup process – digitally and instantly. CarJump not only aggregates freefloating providers which you can book spontaneously for trips from A to B (car2go, DriveNow …), but stationary models as well. Stationary carsharing providers are especially great for trips planned in advance that return to the point of departure (cambio, Stadtmobil, …). The app is available for iOS, Android and Windows. Fabian Kofler, their CEO and Founder, gave us some insights into his background and his startup.
FundingSpree: How did you come up with the idea for your startup?
Fabian Kofler: Living in Berlin, the world capital of carsharing, is great. There are thousands of available cars at your disposal and it makes it very easy to get around both spontaneously as well as for a long weekend. Unfortunately, the big number of providers meant, that you had to go back and forth between many different apps with different user experiences, making the process of selecting and booking the right vehicle very complicated. That’s when my co-founder and I saw a problem we could do something about. Carjump solves all of these problems, allowing users to find, compare and book cars all in one place. Simple, transparent, easy – and Carjump is free! On top of that, we can sign our users up to all the providers they want in one go, even including a digital driver’s license check. We even throw in free sign-ups and free minutes for most providers. This means that our users can now have access to any car they want instantly, without having to sign up to each provider individually first. That’s the next step for us – and the world of carsharing!
CarJump Founders Michael Stumpe and Fabian Kofler.
FS: What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome so far?
FK: Building a technical infrastructure that can handle a highly complex set of rules and situations as we have in our industry is a very challenging task. Hiring the right people is definitely the top priority to make a successful product come to life. It is very challenging to wait on the right person to fill a role, since you always want things built yesterday and it is tempting to make compromises. This type of discipline is a daily exercise, making it one of the more demanding challenges to tackle. But being disciplined and compiling a top-tier team is a key success factor.
FS: Tell us about one anecdote which made your transition to working for a startup worth it
FK: It really pays off to provide a product people can have a great experience with. I vividly remember the great feedback last year, when we took eMio (an electric scooter sharing company) live on our platform. Users can sign up to the eMio service directly via our app and instantly start driving. It was summer, and some of our users sent us pictures from the lake or the park where they were able to drive thanks to this great, instant-delight feature. These are the moments it’s all about in a startup: when you can see your product in action, creating great experiences for users.
FS: Is there any growth hack you use to improve/scale your business or to make some of your workflows more efficient?
FK: Tips or how-tos regarding growth hacks or special methods are common. My honest opinion is, that most of them are nonsense. There are no silver bullets. There is no magic potion. Usually the only way is, to quickly try every angle to find a model that works (before the money runs out). One thing I can recommend is to do things that don’t scale and then learn how to solve them at scale much later. Many great ideas seem hard or inefficient to make happen, or perhaps prohibitively expensive to implement at first. Once you run through the process manually or with a system associated with alot of “pain” however, you learn what is important, and what is not. And you learn how to automate or fix these “hacked”, but often critical processes in your business.
FS: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about starting their own company?
FK: Think about three key areas:
1. Relevance: What is the problem you are solving? Is it real, or is it just a problem YOU want to exist?
2. Product market fit: Is there a relevant nice or relevant overall market for your solution in terms of size? Can you monetise it (and be realistic here)?
3. Team: Can you (or your team) actually solve the problem, and do you guys have a good basis for working together, incl. clear separation roles, complementary skill-sets, do you know each other well and know how you interact in case of conflict, …?
If you can answer these questions, you have a chance of contributing something worthwhile to this world, and you’ll find it not all that hard finding great people and financing. If you lack these, you’ll find every step of the way much harder than they are (and they are hard to begin with). Finally, if you do find you have good answers to the three questions above, run your company according to the following priorities: 1. People, 2. Product, 3. Profit.
FS: If you will start another company, is there anything you would do differently the second time around?
FK: No, not really. We were lucky enough to have a great run in a highly interesting industry, find an amazing team and excellent investors to make our vision happen.
Thanks Fabian, and keep rocking!