Scoop, a corporate carpooling service that works with companies like Tesla, Twitter and Cisco, has raised a $5.1 million round of funding led by Signia Venture Partners with participation from Index Ventures, BMW i Ventures and Workday Corporate Ventures. Scoop was founded by brothers Jonathan and Robert Sadow (pictured above), who respectively worked at Google and Bain & Company.
With Scoop, trips are pre-scheduled, so you can select from one or more times you’d be willing to leave in the morning and afternoon, and have up until 9pm the night before for morning trips and 3:30pm the day of for afternoon trips to schedule your ride. After the deadline, Scoop’s algorithms work to automatically create the most efficient carpools based on routes, detours, company preference, favorites and more. There’s no limit on how often you can use Scoop, but Jonathan tells me that the average person takes more than four trips a week and about 40% take six or more trips a week using Scoop.
“What really impressed us was their grit and passion to solve this big societal problem,” Zaw Thet, partner at Signia Venture Partners, told me. “For both of them, it’s something that is as much of a mission in life as it is starting a company, meaning they really got into it for the right reasons.”
That big societal problem Thet is referring to is the reduction of both traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Since launching in August 2015, Scoop has facilitated over 40,000 trips, which has offset roughly 500,000 commute miles and cut emissions by nearly 450,000 pounds of CO2. From the very beginning, Scoop has been working with companies and city regulators like the Transportation Management Authority, Chamber of Commerce and Stanford Research Park.
In March, however, Lyft teamed up with the California Transportation Commission and its 511 Rideshare program to launch a carpooling feature to match riders with drivers heading the same way on their daily commute. Given Lyft’s roots with Zimride, Lyft certainly has more knowledge about carpooling than Uber, but at the end of the day, there will always be competitors. Competitors that more closely operate in Scoop’s space are Carma and, of course, Zimride by Enterprise, which recently shifted its focus to serve university and corporate customers.
“Competitors are good things in this market for the purpose of raising awareness,” Thet said. “But, I am a firm believer in focus. If one company is doing one thing and one thing only, they’re always going to do it better, despite the financial resources of any other company.”
With Scoop, it’s really about the community of carpoolers the service creates through working directly with employers, which is really what distinguishes the company from startups like Lyft and Uber.
“Scoop is more appealing to employers than typical ride sharing services because it’s much less expensive,” Urlich Quay, head of BMW i Ventures, said. “It’s also attractive to employees who could receive an incentive to carpool through a subsidy or a cheaper or better parking space.”
At Cisco, for example, the company subsidizes the rides so that employees only have to pay $1. Workday, Stanford Research Park and Tesla are also subsidizing rides for employees.
Scoop currently operates in the San Francisco Bay Area and has plans to expand outside of the area later this year.