It was official in February.
Detroit-based ride-sharing startup Splitting Fares Inc. (SPLT) has been acquired by Robert Bosch GmbH and is now a wholly owned but independent subsidiary of the German technology and services supplier.
Since its launch in New York City and its subsequent move to Detroit, SPLT has blazed an innovative digital trail in the B2B mobility market. The startup operates a closed-network, enterprise carpool platform that allows companies, universities and municipalities to offer ride-sharing services for their employees.
Currently 140,000 commuters in the United States, Mexico and Germany use SPLT’s digital services and apps to connect with co-workers who share the same route to their workplace. The aim is to reduce traffic congestion and to make daily commuting a lower stress, less costly experience with reduced environmental impact.
Recently, SPLT co-founder and CEO Anya Babbitt took a few minutes to reflect on the key drivers behind her company’s success and what the future holds for it.
Q: What benefits did SPLT gain by being a presenting company at the 2017 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium?
A: At MGCS, our biggest supporters were in the audience, where they were able to learn about some of our latest initiatives. Bob Saunders, the head of OCA Ventures, was one of those many investors. Although we did not choose to take an investment, our presence at MGCS added to our credibility and standing. The precursors to attending MGCS also proved very valuable. Advisors’ input into our presentation regarding expectations, as well as additional PR opportunities such as blog posts, social media and collateral marketing material, were all very welcome in the promotion of SPLT.
Q: How did your move to Detroit from NYC help SPLT accelerate its growth and development and prepare it to be investor/acquisition-ready?
A: We are thankful to have benefited from Detroit’s lower cost of doing business, the support in the form of lower rents and the friendly voices in business and expert local workforce. Being a beacon startup that is not lost among the other voices has helped us amass both resources and attention and propel us to greater success. We think an understated team member of SPLT is the city of Detroit itself. When the name Detroit is mentioned in conversation, people immediately think mobility, transportation, cars. The marketing that has been done and is continuing to be done by people in Detroit proves the effectiveness of the brand.
Q: When was the acquisition by Bosch finalized? How did you first connect with Bosch?
A: The acquisition was finalized in late October 2017. The terms of the deal are not disclosed. We first connected with Bosch, specifically the CIO of Bosch Mexico, at Google Demo Day in Mountain View, California. Afterward, we nurtured the relationship and converted Bosch into a SPLT client and a strong proponent of our mission. Showing them, on the ground, the value of the SPLT service and technology was crucial to our slotting into their global vision of the future of mobility.
Q: What does the future hold for you and your team, and for SPLT, following the acquisition?
A: Bosch is interested in preserving the SPLT “secret sauce” as much as possible while helping us scale up our reach. Everyone [on our team] is staying onboard. We are taking steps to expand the tech team and to make the product better. Since the acquisition, we have hit the ground running ─ no, hit the air flying. We now have a new director of the West Coast market and staff in the U.K. and Germany. We have tripled our Mexico team to capture the Latin American market. We are now a team of 25─ and are continuing to grow.