IN GOOD COMPANY: How GoGet uses data insights to build its national car hire network

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GoGet CEO Tristan Sender. Image: Supplied.

GoGet has come a long way from the days when it was two guys in Sydney’s Newtown who were obsessed with the idea that Sydneysiders didn’t need to own their own cars, because they could share them instead.

After testing the idea at the annual Newtown Festival by borrowing a car and setting up a stall, founders Nic Lowe and Bruce Jeffreys launched the carsharing company in 2003 with three vehicles and 12 members.

Since then, the idea of renting assets when you need them rather than buying them outright has created some mammoth companies. Think of AirBNB and Uber.

It was just five years ago that GoGet hosted a party to celebrate hitting 5,000 users. Today, GoGet has more than 65,000 users and 1,800 cars across Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane.

GoGet CEO Tristan Sender told Business Insider that when the company was smaller, it had to spend a significant amount of time educating the market. Today, it’s more about trying to figure out what customers are going to need in future.

Sender explained that GoGet iterates on its offering by drawing on insights from the market and user data. The company is even working on self-driving cars, after recently teaming up with UNSW to pursue research into the technology, because the company thinks that’s what future customers will want.

GoGet has a whole team which looks at useage, demographics and density to predict where good places are to locate a car.

“Equally, we look at usage of our current cars, we look at how well they’re doing and how popular they are and then add according to demand,” Sender said.

“Data is essential to our business. We do most things based on data. Data enables us to look at how our cars are used, where to put them and how to run our business.”

Speaking to members and adding different types of trips has driven the release of its latest offering, OneWay. The OneWay service means drivers can now pick up a car and dump it at, or near, their destination and Sender hopes it will appeal to businesses.

GoGet said it had recorded a growing business user base, especially as many companies see car-sharing as a way of shedding fleet costs. The NSW state government also recently trialled the service.

“People have changed their view on owning something that they only use occasionally,” he said.

“We’ve spent over a year working on this product to enable customers to pick up a car at one point and drop it off at another point.

“It will appeal more to the last minute-type trip.”

As for how it will work in the market, GoGet is going to let customers shape the offering.

“We’ll pick routes that are appealing both ways so we can limit the actual movement of cars back and forward,” he said.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to learn, you can model it to a certain extent, but the practice or the reality of operating this service and having members use it, will teach.

“We will grow this based on how well it performs, it may change. The product that we put out initially will change over a period of time based on data that we get from it.”

It’s also exploring how Oneway will integrate into existing public transport networks.

Sender lists GoGet’s biggest and most dangerous in-market competitor as a private car and says everything the company does has to make carsharing as convenient as possible.

“There are a lot of cars on the road that are used for less than one hour a day. It’s not a very efficient use of an asset,” he said.

“Our whole concept has been about using assets more efficiently and technology has allowed that to occur.

“We’re still a nimble company, we’ll learn, we’re able to move fast and we will adapt the product and adapt the routes according to how that pans out, and there will be a lot of testing.”

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