Two engineering graduates from Cambridge University have launched a new app that allows people to share a cab and cut the fare price at a stroke.Flitter is the technology brainwave of Tim Hin Wai Lui, graduate of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship, and co-founder Robin Šmíd.
The graduates have been working on using technology to improve the current methods of personal transport, especially in cities, since 2011 and co-founded Cambridge Transport Solutions Ltd.
Flitter - their first software product – is a new smartphone app that lets Cambridge residents and visitors easily book and share local cabs.
With Flitter, anyone can book a taxi using their iPhone or Android phone and choose whether they want to travel alone or share their journey with a Facebook friend or other Flitter users, for a lower fare.
Flitter automatically matches passengers who have similar journeys to ensure that travelling is as efficient as possible. The opportunity to share journeys is a unique feature and sets Flitter out from competitors like Hailo, the co-founders say.
As well as saving time and money, trip sharing also helps lower the environmental impact of taxi travel by cutting the number of necessary taxi journeys, they argue.
Tim is lead technical developer for Flitter and has worked on the project full time since graduating. He is convinced that the experience of being on the Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship developed the key skills that enabled him to progress his venture.
He said: “In Cambridge, where so many passengers take journeys to the same destinations it could be a big time and money-saver for people on the move.
“Being a fresh engineering graduate from the University of Cambridge, I was full of ideas that could potentially impact people's lives and solve problems that people face. I was keen to pursue this idea to improve public transport systems but, while I could handle the technical aspects, didn’t have the expertise or experience in running a business.
“The Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship provided me with the relevant knowledge and business skills - from forming a team and gathering necessary resources to managing a company - that have helped me bring this idea forward.”
Robin added: “We hope that Flitter will be useful for people sharing taxis on a night out, for commuters travelling to the station or even airport journeys.”
Dr Joanna Mills, Programme Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship and Deputy Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) at Cambridge Judge Business School which manages and delivers the programme is thrilled with the success.
She said: “It’s great to see all Tim’s hard work bear fruit and we wish him and his co-founders every success with Flitter and the business going forward.
“The Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship programme is very much focused on enabling participants to pursue their enterprise while studying. This allows them to put learning and skills into practice with the support of tutors, mentors and expert practitioners leading to tangible outcomes by the end of the course. Tim’s venture is a wonderful example of what can be achieved.”
Further information about the Flitter taxi booking app can be found at http://www.flittercab.co.uk/
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Tim Hin Wai Lui and Robin Šmíd