Yasemin Avci, one of our Business Analysts based in Istanbul, shares her experience with one of our new portfolio companies, Lojika.
When you think of mobile consumer transportation, you probably think of Uber. The ride-sharing site has morphed its platform and offerings since it was founded as Ubercab in 2009. Well, now a new player is looking to shake up mobile consumer transportation. Meet Lojika Field Labs, creator of the SeatX app.
Founder Mehmet Golhan calls the SeatX app “agnostic hitchhiking.” Unlike Uber’s rideshare setup, SeatX allows users to “hitch” a ride with people connected to you – friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. SeatX also works to fill empty seats on public vehicles.
While SeatX could compete with existing rideshare companies, SeatX actually helps these companies fill their seats. With its ability to work with any driver and any passenger, MaaS operators will inevitably be encouraged to join. In fact, Lojika is currently working with FreeNow, owned by BMW and Daimler. They are in discussions with Uber, Cabify, and Bold and mobile operators such as Vodafone and Telia.
In addition to traditional ride-sharing, SeatX helps when disasters disrupt roads and transit systems. First responders and people needed to evacuate can find each other with the app. The Red Cross, with mobile phone networks Vodafone and Telia, has officially applied to the EU Commission for funding to pilot SeatX in emergencies.
Lojika Field Labs led a four-year 250,000 participant test project in Istanbul and Brussels before launching the app. Tests showed that SeatX could increase seat capacity utilization on public busses, corporate fleets, taxis, local MaaS operators, and independent ride-sharing drivers. By filling empty seats, SeatX decreases carbon emission, reduces congestion, and protects our planet. SeatX has backing from TUBITAK and European Union.
Currently, SeatX is piloting in Istanbul and plans to expand to Munich, Den Haag, Rotterdam, and Brussels next.
As someone based in Istanbul, I got an opportunity to try out SeatX. It functions similarly to Uber with general browsing features, match and go, and add a destination. You can save multiple locations (home, work, school, etc.), create your own hitchhike network, share road expenses, and schedule a future ride. Eventually, SeatX will integrate with other apps like Google Maps, Yandex, and social media platforms.
I’m hooked and love that Lojika meets an essential need in Istanbul - reducing congestions while protecting the environment - and thinking of emergencies. All of us at Sente look forward to seeing Lojika and SeatX grow.