Making it easier to get to and from work without a car

Sharo Mobility is a green tech start-up aiming to provide sustainable commutes

Carlino Gonzalez, left, and Maurizio Sturlesi, founders of Sharo Mobility

Carlino Gonzalez, left, and Maurizio Sturlesi, founders of Sharo Mobility

 

“Bad” commutes cause stress, damage the environment and add cost for employers through lost productivity, according to the founders of Sharo Mobility, Maurizio Sturlesi and Carlino Gonzalez. They want to provide commuters with a sustainable way of getting to work that doesn’t rely on the private car.

Sharo Mobility is a green tech start-up and its goal is to contribute to the creation of zero-carbon economies where cities are congestion free and have good air quality. Part of what’s standing in the way is a lack of joined-up thinking about commuting and this is where the Sharo Mobility platform comes in.

It will work with organisations such as hospitals, businesses, business parks, colleges and districts to understand the commuting needs of their cohorts and to offer a range of transport solutions from buses to bikes.         

“Right now, the lack of smart, convenient mobility options causes over-reliance on private cars,” Sturlesi says. “With Sharo, employees are offered access to integrated mobility options such as shuttles, carpooling, vehicle-sharing and public transport.

“Our platform collects static and live commuter data and uses smart analytics to pinpoint the trouble spots and to design tailored mobility programmes around them for our customers.”

Sturlesi says Sharo can greatly improve commuting efficiency which in turn enhances people’s wellbeing and is kinder to the environment.

“Now more than ever it is important that everyone has a safe commute back to work or education as we learn to live with Covid-19,” he says. “Employers can use our platform to offer, incentivise, and reward the use of smart mobility choices and employees or students can get to their office or campus quicker and more cheaply.

Sharing solutions

“There is also great potential for sharing solutions with other organisations (within shopping centres would be an example), optimising usage and reducing cost.”

The idea for Sharo was inspired by Sturlesi and Gonzalez’s difficult commutes around Dublin. Sturlesi had to drive and Gonzalez spent three hours a day on buses getting to and from his destination.

Italian-born Sturlesi has lived in Ireland since 1998 and comes from a computer science background. Sharo is his second start-up. He was previously involved with starting and scaling Amartus which was sold to Huawei in 2015. Gonzalez, who is a computer science graduate from TU Dublin, also has start-up experience and has worked in the innovation team at SAP.

Sharo was established in 2018 and Sturlesi estimates the cost of developing the platform at about €150,000. This has been largely sweat equity funded and the company has also received support from New Frontiers and the Climate-KIC accelerator.

The Sharo Smart Commute platform was launched in February with two pilots though these were subsequently suspended by the Covid lockdown.

“The Covid timing was bad for us, but you don’t get transport plans up and running overnight so we are still talking to companies and colleges who need to start planning now for next year,” says Sturlesi, whose company will take various possible routes to market including pilots with smart cities, partnerships with mobility operators and direct sales to large organisations such as healthcare facilities. Its revenue model is software-as-a-service (SaaS).

“Currently there is no product like ours available in Ireland,” Sturlesi says. “Companies and colleges rely on annual transport surveys for information and they don’t have access to a smart analytics tool that can identify bad commuting hotspots and offer tailored, demand-driven travel alternatives.

“Most organisations just offer people a commuter ticket or the Bike to Work Scheme and in many cases, things are set up without proper data to identify the best routes and locations. Many of these services have no technology or if they do, commuters have to use a separate apps for each. With our platform, all of the information is in the one place.”

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