We are in the Netherlands and thus, we benefit from fast (well sometimes), ‘cheap’ and mostly ‘RELIABLE’ (‘rofl’) public transportation… So what else would you need? Well, that’s were Snappcar comes in. Snappcar.nl is an online platform which facilitates car renting of personal vehicles to individuals that live in the Netherlands and own a European car driver’s license. Basically Snappcar provides the option for people that rarely use their personal car to not just let it rust in the rain outside but actually make some money out of it while assuring the car is started from time to time. Similarly, Snappcar provides a very attractive opportunity for people that are in need of a car for a specific time period.
The platform presents a classic example of buyer-seller interaction in which the sellers are the individuals that put their cars up for rent and the buyers are the people that use the platform for finding a personal way of transportation. Each group has its own individual motivation to participate. Therefore, although it is obvious that sellers use the platform to earn money, they also understand that their property does not serve its purpose if it’s not used (thus being worthless), so we can safely assume that their motivation is also the desire to share spare resources. Buyers on the other hand, are people that are in search of a method of transportation for a fixed period of time that is cheap, reliable and convenient. In their case, when it comes to motivation, although the idea of being part of a community might play a small role, their principal motivating factor is constituted by the cheaper price the system offers compared to traditional car rental agencies. Moreover, in situations in which the buyer is in need of transportation for long distances or destinations that are not mainstream, the system might prove cheaper even when compared to public transportation. Both types of users are also attracted to the system because it provides a secure environment where cars are fully insured, 24/7 road assistance is provided and participants’ identities and credentials are verified in advance.
Snappcar became so popular that it initiated a crowdfunding campaign on the Dutch platform OnePlanetCrowd.nl to finance its expansion outside the Netherlands – destination: Europe (first UK, then Germany and finally the World). The €500,000 campaign had an unexpectedly large success, as the company attracted contributors with its mission statement: in short, 1% fewer cars in Europe (thus 250,000 cars shared on Snappcar), less CO2 emissions, fewer car produced and a stronger community feeling. I personally think Snappcar’s vision of moving the attention from ‘owning’ to ‘using’ could lead to a small revolution and I am very curious to see if it will be successful across Europe – hopefully yes!