Daimler — the German car giant that owns Mercedes-Benz among other brands — has made one more acquisition to further its reach in ridesharing and what it sees as the next generation of how cars are owned and used. It has acquired Flinc, a startup also out of Germany that has built a platform and app for peer-to-peer-style carpooling.
People who are driving in one direction find people who are looking to go in the same direction and offer them rides, with the subsequent deal either negotiated in cash or simple done for free.
I’m not sure that Daimler’s deal for Flinc was done for free, but the financial terms are not being disclosed.
Flinc — which exists as a standalone app and is also integrated into other services, such as larger enterprise’s company apps for work colleagues to carpool together — will continue to operate independently, Daimler said, led by the startup’s founders, Dr. Klaus Dibbern, Michael Hübl and Benjamin Kirschner.
Founded in 2010, flinc had raised an undisclosed amount of money from a group of investors that include Deutsche Bahn (the German train and transport company); General Motors Ventures and Ecomobility Ventures. GM’s investment was partly strategic: European subsidiary Opel integrated Flinc into its own employee backend to enable ridesharing amongst its own employees.
Indeed, I wonder if the fact that Flinc doesn’t seem to have made profit the primary idea behind the rides that it enables (its URL is even “flinc.org”) is one of the reasons why it has happily existed while fire and brimstone has rained down upon Uber for allegedly flouting commercial driving regulations in multiple markets.
A large part of Flinc’s technology appears to involve smart navigation: it works out your route from A to B, and then the route for individuals looking for rides, and then it matches them up, serving options between potential pairs only one at a time to avoid double-booking and confusion. Some 500,000 people have…