GoOpti might be described as an Uber (or UberPOOL) for independent shuttle bus providers. It connects travellers from smaller European cities who want to travel to or from larger city airport hubs, and in doing so ensures economies of scale so that laying on a shuttle bus is viable.
“Our platform is a marketplace that is solving problems on demand and supply side,” GoOpti co-founder and CEO Marko Guček tells me. “On demand side we have people living in the cities, which do not have a local airport or have one with a scarce number of direct flights, which usually means higher prices of tickets”.
The solution for those passengers is, of course, to travel to the nearest airport hub city, but that is typically 1-3 hours away or more. Currently, most people drive, but this means “expensive fuel and toll costs, airport parking fees and unsafe driving after long and tiring flights”. Others ask friends to drive them but this means double the cost since it amounts to four journeys.
Instead, by pooling prospective customers and using variable pricing to nudge them towards the most viable shuttle service and time of departure, together with an algorithm that predicts demand, GoOpti gives travellers a cheaper and greener option. It also helps struggling shuttle companies.
“On the other side there is local supply of transportation companies with vans and mini buses, which used to work mostly for business travellers and private groups, but due to changes in the industry have a challenge of decreasing business or stronger competition,” explains Guček.
In addition, shuttle bus owners are often managers and drivers, which means they work long hours, are available to their clients and drivers 24/7, but with no guaranteed income.
“Transportation companies get access to an innovative business model, our customers, fleet management tools, a unified support centre and guaranteed yearly income if dedicated. In short we take the stress away on both sides by putting them together in the way both sides are satisfied”.
To help with that mission, GoOpti — which is currently operational in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia — has raised €4.4 million in new funding. €1.5 of that comes via a European Union grant, whiles investors in the company’s Series A include EBRD, Point Nine, and RTA. The new capital will be used to expand further across several European locations.