Interviews
31 Jul 19

Start-up of the Year Bestmile: "To become the fleet management platform of choice"

Bestmile looks back on its third prize at the 2018 Smart Mobility Start-Up Awards.

We are approaching our Smart Mobiility Start-Up of the Year Awards in November in Estoril. While looking for new startups to apply, we have a look at how our previous winners are doing. What have they achieved since their victory and where are they going? The third in the series is our third-prize winner of last year, Bestmile. CEO Anne Mellano looks back on the past year. 

Introduce Bestmile in one sentence. 

Bestmile makes a first-of-its-kind fleet orchestration platform that allows fleet operators to move more people with fewer vehicles while controlling key performance indicators like vehicle utilisation and service levels for customers.

How can Bestmile serve fleet managers?

Bestmile offers fleet managers an out-of-the-box solution that performs advanced ride-matching calculations that consider all of the requests, all of the available vehicles, and possible trip combinations, and computes the best assignment of vehicles for each request in split seconds, while managing the trade-offs between fleet size, capacity, waiting time, travel delay, and operational costs. 

Describe Bestmile at the beginning of the Smart Mobility Start-up Award 2018, and what have you reached since then?

In terms of product, we have grown from managing small-scale autonomous shuttle pilots to full-scale commercial projects, including human-driven ridehailing and micro-transit services. In terms of employees, we have grown from 40 employees to 60 employees. Our operating area has expanded and our platform now supports fleets on three continents. Our customers range from private ridehailing services using professional drivers and private fleets to large public transport agencies offering last-mile autonomous shuttle services. And we have been growing our vehicle compatibility and partner ecosystem, and we recently announced partnerships with Lohr Industrie and StreetDrone.

Where do you see Bestmile 5 years from now?

Bestmile is a foundation on which mobility providers can build differentiated services that meet their local business and service requirements with any type of vehicles. We’re seeing it already as our customers are delivering professional ridehailing, autonomous shuttle or micro-transit that are both on-demand and time-based. It is exciting! I see Bestmile becoming the platform of choice for businesses that need fleet efficiency and utilisation far beyond what traditional telematics software or peer-to-peer ridehailing apps offer.

What are your concrete plans for the upcoming year?

I would make days last 48 hours at least!

Can you share a memorable moment of the time after the startup award in the development of your startup? 

A very memorable moment came soon after the award, when we announced a partnership with EIT to support a Last-Mile Automated Delivery (LMAD) service. This is our first project with fleets that transport goods and packages instead of people.

How has the Award helped Bestmile grow?

The marketplace has recognised that fleet orchestration technology is needed for real-world mobility service optimisation. The award, new customers, new investors have all combined to make that clear, sparking more awareness of the problem Bestmile solves and more demand for our platform. 

What is your most valuable insight you could share with other smart mobility startups? 

Don’t try to be all things to all people. Be clear about the problem your product solves, how it is better than alternatives, and what businesses have the problem you solve. Otherwise it is too easy to chase opportunities that might not end up being a good fit, wasting valuable time and resources.

How do you envision the future of Smart Mobility and where does your startup fit in the picture? 

Autonomous vehicles alone will not solve city congestion and pollution problems. We’ve seen this with peer-to-peer ridehailing businesses. Unmanaged, they have made traffic and pollution worse in cities—180% worse! We see the future of smart mobility being primarily composed of shared electric autonomous vehicles and services that are efficiently orchestrated to make transit in cities more convenient and comfortable than driving a private vehicle. 

Do you want to play a part in the future of smart mobility? Follow into Bestmile's footsteps and apply for the Smart Mobility Start Up Awards 2019 in Estoril.

Authored by: Fien Van den steen
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