HitchPlanet aims to democratize travel between cities by using technology to help people share rides in cars, creating a more social, affordable and sustainable intercity transport system for all.
HitchPlanet started between Vancouver and Whistler, BC when our co-founder Flo Devellennes picked up some hitchers from the side of the road during the ski season.
After driving several people over the course of a few weeks, Flo realized the difficulty for people to travel on that corridor if they don’t own a car. He thought he could improve the process for people to find rides by building a website for drivers and hitchers to connect before heading up the mountain. In November 2010, HitchWhistler was born.
Between 2010 and 2014, HitchWhistler grew through word of mouth to 7,000 members. In the Summer of 2014, Flo partnered with Luke, a good friend and software engineer, to rebuild the website into a platform with the ambition to scale beyond the Sea-to-Sky.
HitchPlanet was launched in December 2014. Since, the platform has grown to 34,000 members, who have shared over 500,000kms and saved $100,000 in travel costs. The company has successfully grown into other parts of BC and Alberta.
Today, HitchPlanet consists of a team of four people in Vancouver, passionate about helping more people travel. The team is building and maintaining the HitchPlanet platform, which consists of a website, iOS and Android mobile app.
People can join HitchPlanet for free and either post a trip or find a ride in minutes. HitchPlanet matches people based on their travel requirements and lets hitchers book seats online with drivers. All funds are collected through the platform and hitchers incur a 15% service fee when booking. Drivers receive trip contributions via Paypal or Interac at the end of each month.
The service has grown thanks to its ease of use and member referrals. After a year and a half of product development and over $120,000 of transactions on the platform, the team is ready to market the platform beyond the Pacific Northwest.
This campaign’s purpose is to raise funds to boost HitchPlanet’s growth, increase brand awareness and build a solid base of company advocates by giving them an opportunity to invest.
HitchPlanet’s revenue model consists of charging a 15% service fee to passengers when they book on the platform.
For example: Joe offers a seat from Vancouver to Whistler and asks for a contribution of $15 per seat. Anne logs onto HitchPlanet, and books one seat on Joe’s trip. Anne pays $15 + 15% = $17.25. Joe gets a transfer for $15, and HitchPlanet keeps the $2.25 service fee for providing the service.
There are no other fees for using HitchPlanet.
The intercity travel market in North America is dominated by bus services, taking the train or flying. HitchPlanet is first-to-market as an intercity ridesharing solution, except in Eastern Canada, where Kangaride operate a similar service between Montreal and Quebec city.
We define the market opportunity by looking at our target audience and current HitchPlanet KPIs.
On the supply-side (drivers), our research suggests there are about 1.6 million Millennials who own a car and carpool to work regularly. By assuming 10% of them become regular HitchPlanet drivers, we estimate there to be 160,000 potential drivers in North America. At a current gross revenue KPI of $80 per active driver per month, we assess the target market opportunity to be around $154 million.
On the demand-side (hitchers), our research suggests there are about 4.8 million Millennials who use mobility services regularly (Uber, Car2go, etc). By assuming 10% of them become regular HitchPlanet hitchers, we estimate there are 480,000 hitchers in North America. At a current gross revenue KPI of $27 per active hitcher per month, we asses the target market opportunity to be $155 million.
We suspect the market could be substantially larger, considering our KPIs are currently based on relatively small routes in British Columbia. Additionally, we have restrained our target audience to Millenials, whereas we see potential in a broader audience, such as retirees and single parents.
Use of Proceeds
Assuming maximum raise of $350,000:
Our exit strategy consists of gaining the largest possible market share in North America to be acquired by a larger shared mobility company or IPO in the next 2-5 years.
How is HitchPlanet different to Uber?
HitchPlanet operates a service between cities, whereas Uber offers a crowdsourced taxi service inside cities. As a result, HitchPlanet prices are much lower and do not compete with taxi services, Uber’s do.
Furthermore, drivers on HitchPlanet are already driving somewhere and happen to have empty seats, which they offer to collect cost contributions towards their trip. Uber drivers make a living by driving people around, on-demand.
HitchPlanet is based on the idea of cost-sharing, to help more people travel affordably. Uber is revolutionizing the taxi industry by making it more transparent and efficient.
Is HitchPlanet legal?
Yes. Trips on HitchPlanet are capped at 12 cents per kilometre to ensure drivers are cost-sharing and not turning a profit. This lets drivers use our service within local carpooling regulations.
April 12, 2016