Scoop, put plainly, is like UberPool for companies. And it’s clearly doing something right because it just closed a $60 million funding round led by Activate Capital, which brings the company’s total funding to $106 million.
The carpooling startup, which launched in 2015, works with major companies, like T-Mobile, LinkedIn and others to get employees to and from work. Riders sign up for their preferred ride times, and Scoop’s algorithms assign the most efficient carpools based on routes, traffic, company needs, and personal limitations, all using people and their co-workers as drivers, similar to Lyft or Uber.
In its four years, Scoop has expanded from San Francisco to operate in more than 2,000 cities and six major metro areas, including tech centers Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles.
Charles Knuth, head of Scoop Technologies’ Commuter Insights department, is in charge of figuring out better ways for the company to serve its customers and their employees.
“We are trying to break down some of the barriers of why the average person doesn’t carpool today and provide them with a way to do it, when they want to be able to do it,” said Knuth in an interview with Automotive News. Knuth sees car-sharing and carpooling as necessary components of any solution to metropolitan congestion.
Carpooling, which reached an all-time low in 2015 of fewer than 9 percent of possible drivers, is slowly creeping back up again in popularity according to a 2017 nationwide survey. But more than 79 percent of Americans still do their daily commute in their own cars. With 150 million employed people in the country, that’s a minimum of 115 million vehicles making 230 million trips a day. That’s congestion and pollution on the community scale, and stress and lost time on the personal scale.
In 2018, Scoop partnered with Lyft to expand options for commuters. “By partnering together, Scoop and Lyft are ensuring that commuters not only gain a stronger sense of community by carpooling to work with co-workers and neighbors, but they also feel supported in the event of last-second schedule changes and know they have guaranteed transportation home,” said Scoop co-founder and CEO Rob Sadow. “With this program, carpoolers are able to request a Lyft or view public transit options through the Scoop app.
According to Knuth, carpooling has “significant outcomes” on the personal lives of those who use it, giving them more energy to take care of themselves, their job, and the world around them. True or not, Scoop’s goal of taking more cars off the road is a good one, and the company and those like it are worth a look. Clearly venture capitalists think so, and it’s time that ordinary commuters got back in the habit of carpooling with their neighbors and colleagues.