Scoop Partners with Bedrock to Bring Carpooling Service to Detroiters

Scoop, the app-based carpooling service headquartered in San Francisco, landed in Detroit this week and will now facilitate rides for residents living in seven Motor City ZIP codes that encompass downtown, Midtown, Corktown, and neighborhoods to the immediate east and west of downtown.

When Scoop enters a new market, its approach involves partnering with a local employer to build an initial network of carpoolers made up of both drivers and riders. As other companies sign up to partner with Scoop, it says, this network begins to spread.

Scoop’s first partner in Detroit is Bedrock, Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert’s “family of companies.” However, Scoop says anyone living in the seven ZIP codes—48201, 48226, 48202, 48207, 48208, 48216, and 48209—is able to sign up for a carpool ride as long as they are traveling to the same location. The Bedrock offices are meant to serve as an anchor to a general location that commuters can travel to, but if two commuters living in one of the service areas are traveling to the same non-Bedrock location (but are close to a Bedrock facility), they will be able to use the app, the company says.

“We believed from day one that the employer is the nexus of carpooling activity,” says Robert Sadow, co-founder and CEO of Scoop. “Our focus is on building the experience and bringing it to neighborhood commuters through the [employer] to improve the quality of life for commuters and generate better returns for employers.”

Scoop sells its enterprise customers a customized managed carpool program, including onsite marketing, program implementation and management, and data reporting. Commuters can use Scoop’s app to arrange one-way rides with co-workers and neighbors. The company says its algorithm takes into account pre-scheduled pick-up times, traffic, and prior trip feedback to dynamically match commuters into carpools. Carpoolers can choose whether they want to ride or drive, with all parties splitting the cost of each trip.

“All of our focus in on business-to-business, but our impact is dependent on how we do with getting people excited about Scoop,” Sadow explains. “We’re trying to impact their quality of life by partnering with enterprise.”

Sadow says the company prioritizes safety and runs a motor vehicle history check on all drivers. If a person fails that check, they’re still welcome to use the app as a rider. Scoop also offers guaranteed rides home—for example, if the person driving in the carpool has to leave work due to an emergency, Scoop will pay for an alternative way home for the remaining riders so they don’t end up stranded.

Sadow started Scoop with his brother John in 2015. As natives of Atlanta, one of the most congested cities in the US, they knew firsthand how painful a long daily commute could be. By 2013, both brothers were living in the Bay Area and once again contending with congested roads.

“Our first commuting experience was in high school, when we were driving 300 miles per week,” Sadow recalls. “It had a huge impact on our lives. We were tired and stressed—it was pretty formative for us. In terms of driving, San Francisco was like Atlanta. We were seeing how commuting impacted people and it resonated with us personally.”

Sadow says that in the US, 80 percent of people commute alone, and the average person makes the drive 250 days per year. The idea behind the company, he continues, was to make the commuting experience less grueling and more valuable and meaningful by connecting neighbors and co-workers.

Scoop is currently in expansion mode, and Sadow says Detroit (and other parts of the Midwest) were high on the list of places they wanted to set up shop. The company’s goal is to continue expanding throughout Detroit, he adds.

“We’re aggressively focused on conversations with employers in the area—it’s a starting point for expanding to the entire community,” Sadow says. “We think about folks ten-plus miles away from work, who don’t live on a transit line. That’s our sweet spot.”

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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