Commuting to work can be tough. Waking up at the crack of dawn and setting out alone to battle miles of gridlock traffic, detours, and red lights isn’t exactly how you’d like to start your day. Plus, the further you live from work, the more costly this daily adventure can be. But what if there was a better way to travel that saved you time, money and most importantly, your sanity?
Ladies and gentlemen, meet SPLT–––a startup based in the Motor City that is changing the commuting game one car pool at a time. Through its mobile app and partnerships with ride-sharing companies like Lyft, SPLT is helping make everyone’s journey to work more efficient and less stressful.
In addition to the company’s great idea, SPLT also holds a special place in our hearts at Grand Circus as an alumni company from our co-working space (they grow up so fast!). Since then, SPLT has gone on to participate in our statewide Google Demo Day and then made it to the nationwide Google’s Demo Day in Mountain View, California. SPLT has received numerous awards and funding prizes at events across the country.
With the energy behind the ride-sharing industry continuing to grow, we had to check in with our friends at SPLT to see what was new. In order to learn more about their mission and vision, we talked to SPLT’s Founder & CEO, Anya Babbitt.
Can you give a short (3-4 sentence) pitch of what your company does?
The SPLT app forms carpools by matching co-workers traveling along similar routes. We offer our app & service to businesses only. The big idea behind SPLT is we partner with corporations to save them money with our sustainable commute option. We save companies potentially millions of dollars by drastically cutting parking costs, avoiding commute trip reduction fines and allowing employees to arrive to work in a more productive state –––directly affecting a company’s bottom line. We are not competing with Uber or Lyft. In fact, we are partnered with Lyft and, with Lyft, we are expanding into a new vertical by creating the first-ever Non-Emergency Medical Transportation on-demand ride app.
What role does the city of Detroit play in your company’s identity and culture? Do you think things would have been the same if you’d chosen to start somewhere else?
We came to Detroit from NYC to take part in the Techstars Mobility program. We immediately felt welcomed and have benefited from the support of the community. Folks like Pamela Lewis at NEI and Jill Ford at the City of Detroit have been instrumental lifting SPLT up to new heights in Detroit and beyond.
Perhaps, more importantly we identified an addressable need for the SPLT product. Instead of going back to NYC, we are staying in Detroit to benefit the community that supported us and to provide a service that serves enterprise clients while improves the quality of life of the commuting workers of Detroit. We want to be part of the next chapter of Detroit and the ongoing emergence of the tech ecosystem. We are now inexorably linked to the city and intend on being a contributor to job growth as well as the overall economic resurgence of Detroit. SPLT would not be where it is today without Detroit and it is now in part of our DNA as a company.
What has been your company’s largest challenge so far? How have you/are you able to overcome this?
Our largest challenge is keeping up with all the opportunities that come our way. Our employees say, “I’ve never at a company with so many inbound opportunities.” Being from Detroit, a graduate of Techstars Mobility and a participant in so many other amazing programs, we’re grateful for our network of mentors that we have built over time that lend way to so many valuables chances to speak, participate and engage with others in our field. It’s a shame that we cannot attend them all because we treat all of these opportunities as sacred, but we must pick and choose to make sure that we are always staying focused as we grow. We log all our opportunities, speaking engagements, conferences, in one spreadsheet and we determine what will add the most value to the business at the end of the day. All businesses must do this, in one form another, because they cannot do everything.
It’s important to manage and gear your time specifically towards activities that yield ROI. Sometimes it is hard to do a few months ahead, but it is important to do so to stay focused and make sure that everything you do is adding up towards your larger goal.
How has your company evolved since it was first founded?
Prior to entering the Techstars Mobility Accelerator, SPLT was a B2C carpooling app, allowing anyone to split a ride anywhere. After a few weeks in the Techstars program, we soon differentiated ourselves from others in the space by offering our carpooling commute solution to businesses, municipalities and universities. Today, we are finding new problems our technology can be applied to and our service changes accordingly to each new solution.
SPLT is moving in new directions we never could have predicted. For example, we are now partnered with Lyft to provide non-emergency medical transportation to underserved markets. The business plan has changed many times, but the vision has always remained constant: change the way people meet and move worldwide by providing reliable, affordable mobility access for all.
What is your company’s vision for the next 3 years?
SPLT is more than just a carpooling app; SPLT has the potential to change the quality of life in cities around the globe. We want to contribute in reducing the number of vehicles on the road thereby making cities more livable with less traffic and a reduction in CO2 emissions. That’s just in phase one.
In phases two and three, SPLT becomes multi-modal mobility middleware–this includes B2C ridesharing, P2P car rental and transportation bundling. We think that the future of transportation is multi-modal and SPLT will become a part of the fabric of how people meet and move in cities.
How would you describe your company’s “core value(s)?”
At SPLT, we have credos that we value and take pride in. We immerse ourselves in a culture that cherishes values such as being positive, open, supportive, exceptional and a self-starter among others. We understand these values as who we are today, not who we want to be. Here are our company credos:
- I will accelerate SPLT with speed and thoughtfulness
- I will guard SPLT like a fortress
- I will respect Anna’s organizational system FOREVER
- I will take calculated risks to propel the business and mitigate those that might bring harm
- I will trust my intuition and always remember why I’m here
We meet once a week to speak to these credos and our core values. We constantly celebrate one another while also pointing out areas we, as a team, can improve together. Being mindful of these values and credos has kept us focused on our mission.
Thank you SPLT for taking the time to chat with us! If your growing business is looking for a partner to help tell your story, check out its website.
Don’t miss the latest edition of our Start-Up Spotlight Series. Do you have a favorite Michigan startup that we should know about? Tell us in the comments!
Interested in how Grand Circus can help the growth of your startup? Check out our calendar!