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Monday, July 31, 2006

Mitfahrerzentrale: a German collective car trips matching platform

This week-end I came to know (thank you Mathias) about the existence of a really useful German website: Mitfahrerzentrale.

The idea is very simple: say you're driving somewhere this week-end (anywhere in Europe) and have some seats available in the car. Just mention where you're going, how much you're asking people who want to join you (either on the full trip or just a part of it), and the platform will match you with travellers. Same business the other way round: you're broke, cannot afford a plane, train or bus ticket. Just log on Mitfahrerzentrale and you're on your way to the destination of your dreams!

I have to say I loved the idea: it's simple, environment- and wallet-friendly. And it's safe since travellers are allowed to provide a feedback on their drivers (and conversely): safe driving? friendly atmosphere? etc. Great site!

Despite common belief that all internet intermediation ideas (suppliers - manufacturers; buyers - sellers; women - men; companies - investors; etc.) have been exploited, there is still plenty of room for creative and dynamic people to reinvent the world. And say you're not creative enough to come up with you own innovative business model, just reproduce in your country a successful story like the one of Mitfahrerzentrale in Germany!


  • they should change the name .... but you are right very good idea and easy to use website.

    By Anonymous gandon françois albert, at 7/31/2006 07:01:00 AM  

  • often, it's not like no-one had thought about it earlier, but that it's illegal or otherwise infeasible. For example around here, this kind of service itself wouldn't be illegal, but it would be illegal for someone to get money (even if it's just for gas to break even) for driving people around.
    There are many smaller sites which have things like this, but you can't talk about money. Without money, there's no profit in running such a service - no business model.
    Most of the intermediation ideas are exploited, those that are not, usually do not scale or are not profitable or legal.
    Free enterprise and all that... =)

    By Blogger Kari, at 7/31/2006 09:20:00 AM  

  • I do agree that the name doesn't look very appealing... :-)

    However of course the idea's great I would say first of all because surely it solves a problem for a lot of people.

    Therefore I just want to stress out that it is up to entrepreneurs to invent how people interact, of course specially around the internet. I admire Marc Simoncini - founder of Meetic - for that as he has allowed for a new way of considering dating in France (now expanding worldwide). I do admire as well iDTGV that permits to be seated next to someone that shares the same interests when travelling by train. Just a couple of examples, so much more could be said.

    The internet is such a perfect place to be right now for an entrepreneur...

    By Anonymous Hadrien, at 7/31/2006 02:57:00 PM  

  • François-Albert, Hadrien> I can´t see why the name´s so bad. It´s a German site and the name makes pretty clear what the company does. Do you criticize rueducommerce, meilleurtaux, and millemercis for being explicit French company brands? The same goes for Mitfahrerzentrale.

    Hadrien´s example iDTGV and Mitfahrerzentrale really show the extraordinary, yet unexploited, potential of the Internet. A potential that could be summed up with Nokia´s motto: "Connecting people".

    By Blogger Jeremy Fain, at 7/31/2006 04:20:00 PM  

  • About the name, I was actually kidding Jeremy, since the ":-)" . (meaning that for a French guy like me who only says "ichlibedish" in German I can't see how it reflects its activity!).

    By the way, you're probably aware that the motto you refer to Jeremy is not longer just Nokia's but also Vodka's which I believe is another good way to describe how I get to connect with people! :-)

    Ok sorry for all that it's been a long day at work today... :-)

    By Anonymous Hadrien, at 7/31/2006 08:07:00 PM  

  • jeremy i didn't criticize the name it is just the fact that if they want to conquer the world it is better to have an english name... isn'it ?

    just like spreadshirt...

    By Anonymous gandon françois albert, at 7/31/2006 09:06:00 PM  

  • Who said they want to conquer the world?

    I talked to Mathias (the one who showed me the site initially) and it appears that Mitfahrerzentrale has a long offline tradition in Germany (since the 1950s). The website is an online continuation of office operations that have been happening for more than half a century now.

    PS: Hadrien, good one the Vodka thing. Who gets inspired from the other: Finland from Russia or Russia from Finland? (Nokia & Vodka)

    By Blogger Jeremy Fain, at 8/01/2006 09:07:00 AM  

  • Living in Germany since june 2005, I can agree totally with you about Mitfahrzentrale (a concurrent in name of exists also).
    It is very useful and it works perfectly!
    What I don't know if it'is working because of the website or because of the german mentality. I think the two parameters are linked.

    By Anonymous cedric, at 8/01/2006 05:34:00 PM  

  • you are right jeremy

    it is not because it is an innovative company that it will go public or merge ...

    By Anonymous gandon françois albert, at 8/01/2006 10:43:00 PM  

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