April 2021, 8th to 11th
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Netlift–Itineroo: a Franco-Quebec alliance focused on carpooling

The ridesharing application industry is highly saturated, and the problem is the same for all applications: to be viable, they require substantial venture capital subsidies, public or private. One entrepreneur from Rennes and another from Quebec had a similar idea for building a profitable economic model while encouraging the use of this type of service. Here we report on how they met and how their partnership came about.

Parking space availability – a lever for the adoption of carpooling

Marc-Antoine Ducas, CEO of Canadian startup Netlift, realised that traffic congestion is primarily related to the availability of parking spaces as well as parking charges. While it is good to carpool, people still need to be able to park. He, therefore, came up with the idea of putting the two together – something for which Bertrand Testot from Rennes, manager of the startup iTineroo and a regular at inOut, also saw the need. The Quebecer has developed a BtoB solution for local authorities and corporate fleets that guarantees a parking space for motorists who are registered as carpoolers. Bertrand Testot from Rennes, on the other hand, offers an application for organisers of sports and cultural events looking to organise parking facilities for participants it connects. Stade Rennais Football Club is one of the main users of this application on its Covoit’ Park platform.

covoitpark, the carpool service for supporters of the stade rennais

Example of possible routes:

covoitpark, screenshot of the app

Innovative use paired with technological innovation

Netlift is offered, a priori, as a standard carpooling application. You can register as a driver to propose your daily journey, or as a passenger. The app then connects you. Drivers get their costs reimbursed, with passengers paying an amount similar to that of using public transport. Via technology developed by the company, vehicles registered on the app can be identified by their license plate. Once identified, they can then use reserved lanes as well as benefit from affordable parking charges and a guaranteed parking space at their destination. For employers or communities opting to use the application, it means improved management of parking spaces along with a reduction in the number of single-occupancy cars.

netlift, presentation of the service

A joint international marketing campaign kicks off in France

Marc-Antoine Ducas and Bertrand Testot met in Quebec during a visit by a delegation from Rennes Métropole in September 2019. “I thought we would have a discussion lasting half an hour or so, but we ended up spending three or four hours together – we really clicked,” recalls the Canadian serial entrepreneur. Since the two solutions are complementary and non-competitive, each one represents the other on its side of the Atlantic when opportunities arise. The Frenchman found that his colleague’s technology was well ahead of the competition in France. This made Marc-Antoine Ducas realise that he had “…The right tool in the wrong place”. While Netlift is already on sale elsewhere in the world, in partnership with iTineroo, France was made its main marketing target for 2020.

Photo Credit: Netlift, Itineroo, Stade rennais