Surviving and thriving in the sharing economy: SnappCar

A start-up… Not everyone has the guts to start a business, because nine out of ten start-ups are said to fail. One business that is surviving though is SnappCar. The company operates in a dynamic business area that is in high development with few rules and regulations yet, namely the sharing economy. The founders of SnappCar decided to seize this opportunity and make a business of their own out of it.

Believing in your own mission

The SnappCar entrepreneurs witnessed the successful movement of Airbnb and were inspired by the idea of sharing private assets with one another. Nearly six years ago, they decided to build their own sharing platform and kick start a community. One of the key elements that a business needs to survive the start-up years is the believe in its own mission. And that is exactly what SnappCar does. Many start-ups want to make a difference by having a positive impact on society with their business model. SnappCar aims to reduce the production of new cars and C02 emission by sharing cars, which in turn will lead to a greener environment. Besides a greener world, SnappCar wants to drive cities forward by creating a neighbourly feeling and having more space in the city. Cities are for people not for still standing cars.

Step one: Developing a business model

Nevertheless, having a great vision and mission is not enough for establishing a successful start-up. It all begins with an idea of a new business model. The first step of SnappCar was to design their business model and show that they have a solid concept. This involved working with spread sheets in Excel as well as asking random people on the street how they feel about sharing their car. When the business model flies, the capital will come your way.

Next, the real hard work begins! Most people think a start-up will gradually develop itself without too many struggles. If it only was that easy… Establishing a business involves sweat, tears and many sleepless nights. During the rough times where not everything goes as planned, you have to keep pushing: you only fail once you give up.

The importance of cowboys

One factor for success of a start-up are the right people. In the beginning SnappCar needed so-called cowboys. No not the type of men riding horses, but ambitious people who push through during the hard times and motivate others. Later down the road, SnappCar needed analysts to examine different opportunities for growth. These people are more rational and focus on optimization.

Another aspect of great importance is the organizational culture. It is crucial to create a positive and proactive vibe within the company. In this way, you can keep each other motivated when things do not work out the way you hoped, but also to celebrate the highlights! Not to forget, the hierarchy is flat. This means the founder sits beside the office manager or other employees, which in turn creates an open atmosphere.

Cooperating with the big players?

While the sharing economy is a relatively new business area, start-ups like SnappCar still face competition. The big question you should ask yourself is: how do we distinct ourselves from our competitors? When SnappCar entered the market, there were a few similar initiatives. However, they did not have the technical skills that SnappCar has. The company used information technology and the Internet to optimize their sharing platform.

A challenge for many start-ups is to cooperate with the big multinationals. SnappCar for instance, is in partnership with the insurance company Allianz. A start-up like SnappCar can rapidly bring new ideas into action, whereas larger companies can be not as flexible due to their vertical organizational structure. It takes time and perseverance to understand each other and maintain a valuable relationship

SnappCar’s next steps

Many start-ups aim to grow and become the established company that they dreamed of from the beginning. SnappCar is heading in the right direction. However, the future is unpredictable, especially in a new business area like the sharing economy. At SnappCar they are convinced that the sharing economy is here to stay. The founders have a clear vision for the future and aim to be active all around Europe. In the future you will be able to drive every car you see: big or small, hatchback or sports car, in the Netherlands or Germany. Furthermore, they want to extent their current services. Curious about their next steps, visit their website here.

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