The on-demand ridesharing space is being disrupted by a bunch of new apps that consumers have massively embraced. “Pink”, pioneer in Europe and legal (not without controversy), Djump is changing urban mobility in Brussels and Paris, where the startup has created a community of people using a mobile app that connects drivers and passengers.
We interviewed Anissia Tcherniaeff (@anissiatchff), co-founder and operations director.
Question. Instead of taking a cut of the transactions that take place through your app, your system is based on voluntary donations from passengers to drivers. How do you make money then? Do you plan to take a commission fee?
Answer. Indeed, Djump is based on a free donation system. This freedom reinforces the community belonging feeling. Today, Djump doesn’t take any commission fee but Djump will take 20% of the donations amount in the next future.
Q. Who are your competitors? Taxis? Uber? Heetch? All of them?
A. When we launched Djump one year ago, we were the first Peer-to-Peer on-demand ridesharing system to be launched in Europe. We were proud to create a new marketplace in urban mobility. As of today, UberPOP and Wundercar are our two main competitors and some others are pointing in the horizon… But our main competitor remains, unquestionably, car ownership! We still have work to do!
Q. Pink hats (Djump), pink moustaches (Lyft)… Does it work? How do you differentiate Djump from the competitors?
A. We like to say that in the age of virtual contacts, Djump brings magic back to town, one ride at the time. The pink hat, just like the pink mustache at Lyft, is part of the whole magical process! You wait for your driver and you catch your eye on your driver car thanks to the pink hat. Not only it is easier to identify your Djump driver but it is a cool icebreaker when you get into the car and start chatting with your driver. The pink hat is clearly a powerful differentiator and our djumpers and drivers like to say they are proud members of the pink hat community!
Q. You operate the service in Brussels and Paris. What’s the state of the project in each city (community, rides, etc.)?
A. All I can say is that we have a community of 20.000 members divided between Paris and Brusselss! If you wanna have extra info, grab your phone and open the app…
Q. Last March you received a letter from Brussels authorities, asking Djump to stop all his activities. Is this a real possibility? What kind of steps have you followed to deal with this threat?
A. When we launched Djump 9 months ago, we knew that the road ahead would be filled with challenges and obstacles. The transportation industry has always been highly regulated often rightly so. But today the technology enables two people who don’t know each other to share a ride almost instantly. We strongly believe that this kind of innovation is inevitable and has a place in our day-to-day life. Of course as with all new approach, some people disagree with us.
Our job involves now intermediating between authorities and consumers, regarding urban mobility. We think policymakers have to listen carefully to citizens, adopt a startup pace and create legal categories for innovative startups, without too much regulation. Lyft and Sidecar are the US version of Djump. And they managed policymakers to create a legal category for urban ridesharing! They won the challenge!
Q. Some ridesharing apps have risen millions in venture capital. Are you after VC money as well? How critical do you think is VC investment to be competitive in this marketplace?
A. Our business is very cash intensive. We are creating a new marketplace and disrupting a whole industry. We have big plans for the future and yes, we will need VC money to pursue our goals. To be 100% transparent, we are currently in the middle of a fundraising.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? And Djump?
A. I’ll probably be still involved in startups that have a deep focus on human beings and their well beings. I am not sure I’ll relate my job with technology though.
In 5 years, Djump will be 1 innovative solution among many others. Djump will actually be integrated in a whole urban mobility panel and I am not sure people will think like “I might take a Djump now” but more like “What is the best solution for me to move now, regarding my mood and my budget, I am going to ask this super urban mobility app where everything has been optimized and integrated”.