Anya Babbit has already started multiple businesses and exited one. She’s worked in enterprise sales, strategic partnerships, corporate communications, marketing, and product design.
Yale Zhang is a serial entrepreneur who has started three medical device companies and has a background in sales and logistics.
When Anya and Yale connected, Anya immediately urged Yale to come to New York where she was in desperate need of a technology team.
When they added Ben McMillan, a full-stack developer with a successful entrepreneurial track record that would ultimately build SPLT technology, the SPLT founding team was complete.
SPLT is a ride sharing app meant to help companies encourage their employees to split their commute into work by sharing rides with others that take the same route. Download the app, enter your commute info, and share your ride.
SPLT already has a presence in San Francisco, New York City, Austin, Atlanta, Denver and Detroit. They recently were one of the winning teams at the Greenlight Business Competition in Lansing and hope to introduce SPLT to the community.
The Problem Being Solved
Each day in the US, 128 million people commute to work.
75% of those people ride alone. This many cars on the road and this many lone riders result in damage to the environment and damage to employee productivity. Not only are high doses of CO2 emissions released into the air, but increased traffic congestion, frustration and stress from a long and annoying commute can lead to losses in employee productivity.
SPLT wants to fill the empty seats in cars going to the same places using their B2B platform. By offering a way for drivers to connect and share rides, they can reduce wear and tear on personal vehicles, have a positive impact on the environment and improve employee moods and productivity. Sharing a ride can contribute to positive team building, enhanced culture, mentorship opportunities, shared ideas and more.
The positive effect also stretches to infrastructure as it offers the potential to repurpose space through a reduction in a need for parking. Companies using the app can qualify for energy incentives and employees using the app can cut the personal costs associated with owning and driving a car.
SPLT is excited to be a part of the movement to cut back C02 emissions, cut back the number of vehicles on the road and help make cities more livable. The government is already offering incentives like HOV lanes and carbon credits and the team says it’s exciting to be a part of that. “These opportunities only fuel our mission of impact.”
“We think the future of transportation is multi-modal and SPLT will become a part of the fabric of how people meet and move in cities of the future.”
They are part of a larger team working to address climate change and believe the key to affecting change is about aligning all the mobility options through smart collaboration, which the platform will provide. They have also teamed up with others trying to do the same thing. “We’ve teamed up with four other startups to form the Smart City Startup Consortium, created through a $40M grant opportunity from DOT. Groups such as Rocky Mountain Institute are seeking partnerships to aggregate commuter demand with clusters of businesses to provide efficient, economical, and complete commuter services. Our company complements these services and smart collaborations.”
Where the Idea Came From
When founder Anya wrote a paper on the reduction of carbon emissions, she intensely studied the urban landscape and realized there had to be a better way to move about the city.
SPLT started as a BNC model that worked with Uber and Lyft, allowing users to choose who they shared a ride with. As Anya built her tech team, bringing on Yale and Ben, they entered the Techstars accelerator and realized they needed to change their business model. Even after changing the model halfway through the program, they managed to be the only company with three enterprise customers by Techstars Demo Day. In 45 days of the Techstars accelerator, SPLT acquired seven customers totaling 35K in annual recurring revenue. “Techstars mentors and supporters continue to drive our business to new heights.”
SPLT’s target customers now are corporations, universities, and hospitals with 1000+ employees. “Our target customer has a need for SPLT whether it is parking relief, corporate image, aligning with a green initiative or offering a fitting employee benefit. We want customers who can support the implementation of SPLT within a company and get behind it 100%.”
So far, SPLT’s biggest challenge has been handling the amount of folks interested in SPLT. “We want to offer SPLT to everyone but we are a new startup.” Before they can offer SPLT far and wide, the team is focused on perfecting their craft with the resources available. To do this, they are looking to their sales and launch process. “The more automatic and informed both are, the more effective we will be as we scale.”
When entering the space of shared mobility, the SPLT team was surprised by the lack of teams focusing on the commute. “Services like Uber and Lyft are prevalent but the industry could not seem to figure out the commute.”
SPLT has raised $429K from a $750K seed round and are excited about the relationships they have built. “Forming investor partners is a bond that is important to us as our investors are always our close advisers as well.”
While the process has been difficult, the team says it’s also been enlightening. “The process helps your business in the long run because you are forced to package your business and put a value to every asset. Being in Michigan has not been the easiest place to raise money but it has also taught us the value of making every dollar count.”
SPLT wants to see the company evolve to take on big challenges. “We measure our success by our impact, internally and externally.”
Internally, they want to grow their team and become a workplace that fosters professional and personal growth. Externally, they want to take as many cars off the road as possible by creating as many avenues for shared mobility as possible. In doing so, they hope to not only reduce CO2 and traffic congestion but change the way people think about how they meet and move.
“To young entrepreneurs or new entrepreneurs, get started! It almost doesn’t matter where. The more diverse your experiences, the more versatile an asset you will be.”
“For young entrepreneurs, you will earn your stripes in different ways, many of which will be unexpected. Remember that team is everything because when things go south, which they do sometimes, your team is the only support there is to catch you.”
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