Start-up

NEXTRIDE

HERMINE Thomas & DELVAUX Mathieu & DE RÉ Margaux

2012
Mobile App for transport
WebFb

NextRide, it is half a million downloads on Iphone and Android and 200 000 active members. The app has been named second best belgian app by the newspaper Le Soir and appears in the 50 best-investment startups, according to the Trends.

NextRide is the mobile companion of public transports.

The app (iPhone and Android) offers free, fast and funny access to bus, tram and metro schedules in Wallonia (TEC) and Brussels (STIB).

Waiting under the rain, at an uncovered bus stop, without any timetable, for a bus which will probably be late? A problem lost to history! NextRide wants to encourage sustainable mobility and to make public transports a more pleasant experience, thanks to the best transport app: schedules, itineraries, disruptions, push notifications in case of a strike, off-line schedule, reminders, accessibility, and all of this with a nice interface, strengthened by thousands of feedbacks from our users.

Created in 2012 by four motivated students, the start-up aimed to answer to the challenge of mobility in the XXIst century: digitalize and modernize the access to travel-information.

Since then, the start-up partnered up with Belgian transporters, but also with numerous actors from the mobility field. The goal is simple: encourage people to use public transport. Because, fort NextRide, it is by improving the access to public transports information that we will make those more comfortable and competitive against the car.

Put forward the singularity of your start-up, from its value added to its innovative dimension

NextRide is a pioneer in the digitalization of access to travel-information for public transports. Back to the beginning, NextRide and the TEC, it was David against Goliath. The public company was out-of-date, digital issues were almost completely unknown.

Thanks to the start-up and for the very first time, Open Data arrived in the Belgian mobility world. The TEC data were thus unlocked and made fully accessible to the public. NextRide becomes an important actor in the Belgian Open Data field.

But all of this would not have happened without a motivated team. If NextRide was imagined in a student room, it is because it is born from a passion: a passion for a smart city and the mobility of tomorrow. Therefore, the founders of the start-up have this in common: they all use a lot of public transportation and refuse to have a personal car. A pride which, still today, allows them to continue other projects.

From the NextRide start-up is born NextMoov, the digital agency specialized in mobility. Graduated, the founders of NextRide keep on wishing to revolutionize the mobility and create Cambio, Belgian carsharing leader, and Modalizy (Octa +), a payment card for smooth mobility.

What were your motivations while creating the start-up?

NextRide exists because we want to modernize the Belgian field of mobility. For us, NextRide is, before anything else, a story of passion. Convinced by the importance of sustainable mobility, we wanted to give this ideal the means to conquer the daily life of Belgian people. Take a bus in Wallonia or in Brussels often turns out to be a very bad experience: wait for the bus, find the bus stop, find the good direction, know where to get out. Technology appears like THE solution.

Four years, half a million downloads and thousands of feedbacks after, NextRide is a staple in Belgian mobility. By the way, it is thanks to and with this community that NextRide was able to grow.

As a true energy provider, the daily users and their satisfation are the first motivation of this project.

 

What obstacles did you face while creating it?

When you create a start-up, the most complicated part is to convert your passion into a viable economic model. This is a difficult reality, which you can try to ignore, but it will always catch you up.

Moreover, when your parents are public workers or factory workers, stepping in the world of entrepreneurship is a dare. And it is not easy.

The start-up, it is a never-ending pendulum between two moods: I love what I do and I want to keep on doing it / I cannot base all my carreer on uncertainties. Each minute you put in the economic development or your company is one less minute to think about the new version of the app, or to answer to users.

But the true solution to these difficulties, it’s the others! The ones who advise you, who help and support you. We made unforgettable encounters, good people helped us, backed us, and still today, the human adventure is incredible.

We were lucky we could join some start-up incubators: the Venture Lab and Leansquare. One of those gave us two exceptionnal coaches and a strong network ; the other helped us in finding a business model to monetize the application. And then there is all the inofficial hands.

 

Did being a women, besides of being a cretor, appear to be a singularity in the start-up wold?

Being a woman in the business worlds is never easy, most of all when you are surrounded by men. Automatically, people would more easily look at my colleagues instead of me. It is like it is. I have always prefered irony in this kind of situation. I have never made it a flaw. We are all extremely proud of what we did, and the look of retrograde entrepreneurs will never affect that.

Step by step, the business world evolves and naturally, in a few years, being a woman will stop being a drag for entrepreneurship. At least, this is what I hope for.

On the contrary, the majority of the public do not have any prejudices if you are a woman. I was lucky enough to take care of the user relations for several years. I have always handled my own responsibilities and signed with my own first name. Noone ever made me feel less credible.

When you do something which is helpful in people’s daily life, they are only supportive and greatful, they do not want to judge you.

 

What advices would you give to a future entrepreneur?

Do what you love, what makes you vibrate.

There is nothing that makes me sadder than meeting with people, meeting with women, who restrain themselves because they think “it will not work” or “it is not possible”. We cannot know if a project is a failure until it fails. I have seen women so motivated by what they do, they could move mountains.

On the contrary, I have seen others bury themselves in projects they did not like, only because it was economicly profitable, or because “it worked”.

I let you guess who were the happiest.

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