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19
Aug

Find out how GoCarShare is trying to fill the 38 million empty car seats on the UK’s roads.

Every day, there are 38 million empty car seats on the UK’s roads. Luckily, GoCarShare is trying to change that with a website dedicated to car sharing. With 40,000 people already using the service, we asked founder Drummond Gilbert more about it.

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What is GoCarShare?

It is Airbnb for car journeys. We use the internet to help people share car journeys and meet new people. As it’s also about meeting someone you’re going to get on with, we pull as much social information as possible, such as what music people and if you have any mutual friends.

How will your business change the world?
I think it is more about what happens if people keep using cars the way they do today. In that case, we will be in a situation with massive congestion and pollution.

Is car sharing the future?
We are moving from an era where everyone had to own a car into an era where people will think more about getting from A to B, rather than owning a car. But importantly for car sharing, I think in three to five years, this whole concept of someone being a stranger will die out. There will be so much public information available about people that you can find out really quickly who is trustworthy and who is not. This will let us move much quicker into an era where we will have real-time car sharing. At the moment, it is only planned car sharing where you go to the website and offer or book a journey for the (near) future.

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Where did the idea come from?

I was walking down a street, looking at the cars stuck in a traffic jam and noticed that most of them only had one passenger. It just made no sense. If there were more people in one car, there would probably be fewer cars on the road and then cars could actually be moving. We started in 2010, and the recession supported our idea as people had to save money.

How does GoCarShare make money?
When passengers book a journey, they pay a contribution to the fuel and we take a part of that contribution. At the same time, we work with companies and license our technology to them.

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How are companies using your technology?

We create a platform for them similar to GoCarShare but with their branding as a closed user group. In addition, we also give them specific data back such as how many people took part in car sharing. For companies, it has the great side effect of increasing the exchange between employees as people from different departments get together.

When did you know GoCarShare was going to work?
The first year was quite difficult and there were a lot of ups and downs, then The Daily Telegraph published an article about us. At that time, I was on a holiday on a Scottish island with hardly any connection, but my mum managed somehow to send me a text message saying there was a full-page article in The Daily Telegraph. They had called it “The Car-Share Champion” and it was in the same issue as the royal wedding. Obviously, this is not a sign of success but it showed that people seemed to be interested.

What advice would you give to people who are just starting off with their business?
I would say get a really good team together with people that ideally have complementary skillsets to you. Don’t be too possessive about the idea and get people involved as early as possible so that they can help form the idea. And start building your network to investors right from the beginning.

For more information, visit gocarshare.com