Daniel Bartel (2nd from left) is one of the co-creators, along with Sebastian Ballweg and Marcus Goesser, of Autonetzer, an online platform that allows private owners to rent their car to others, following the idea of collaborative consumption. The cars are fully covered by Autonetzer’s insurance, owners can fix the price and decide if they rent by the hour, by the day or by the week and prices for the user are more convenient than an average car rental. The system is community-based and allows both owners and users to rate the experience.
How did you come up with this idea?
Well, we met at Startup Weekend Stuttgart. Sebastian and Markus have experience in business and they already had the idea. I have a sales and service management perspective, so we thought it would be a good fit. The idea is not to put more cars in place but give a better use to the ones that already exist. We believe that collaborative consumption is the future, even in Germany where people love their cars!
So far, what have being the greatest obstacles that you have encountered along the way?
The hardest thing has been to find an insurance to make it safe and attractive. That took a long time! The way we have set it up, our insurance complements the owner’s insurance and covers the drivers and all potential damage to the vehicle so the owner’s insurance doesn’t suffer for it.
What made you get in contact with betahaus?
We started our business at the coworking space in Stuttgart. We love the idea of coworking and we believe coworking spaces are very adequate for our concept. We want to build a community, not just a platform. It’s nice to know the other users, the people you lend your car to and in coworking spaces people know each other, so it’s easier for them to lend their cars to others. Since betahaus is the pacemaking coworking space in Germany, it was obvious for us that we had to approach the managers to introduce our innovative mobility concept. Now we have a specific URL where betahaus users can rent out and borrow cars nearby at http://betahaus-berlin.autonetzer.de.
Is there anything you would improve?
I love the idea of betahaus: I believe it’s the future because it represents collaborative working, the fact that you can go to other cities and feel at home, meet different people everywhere. You don’t need to work in one office anymore and betahaus is your office worldwide. The only thing is that even though I understand it includes a lot of services besides coworking, the prices are ambitious for young entrepreneurs. Maybe it would be nice to have special discounted prices...
You’re a young startup, but do you have any advice for people creating their own startup?
I would suggest that they try to early prototype to show the product or service and let people experience it, give their feedback. A prototype opens a lot of doors, even if it’s not perfect. Failures and mistakes actually improve the learning process and give you a better chance of success.
So, what are your plans for the future?
For Autonetzer, grow the platform and make it more popular. I'm exited to use methods like Design Thinking in order to impove our plattform even further, so people can loan their cars even more convinient and earn money while doing something good for the nature. Bethaus-Users should definatley check out http://betahaus-berlin.autonetzer.de.
Eva Roig led the interview. She is part of the betahaus | Barcelona Team.
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