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Matias Dalsgaard, Founder and CEO, GoMore

Presentation at SlideShare: 6x growth in Sweden using targeted Facebook groups.

January 29, 2015

So thanks for inviting me for this event. I’m Matias Dalsgaard; I’m the founder and CEO of GoMore.

I’m just going to tell you a little about what GoMore does for those of you who don’t know it, and then I’m going to give a very concrete – two very concrete examples of what we had done after launching in Norway and Sweden this summer, starting with absolutely zero members in markets that did not exist for what we do, and really in the first month, until we found something that actually worked.

I’m not going to give you a huge growth strategy or anything like that; I thought it would be more fun to actually just point to a few things that we did that worked, at least at the state we’re at now, in these very new markets.

So GoMore – it’s about car sharing. We are a marketplace for peer-to-peer sharing of cars. We do two things: we do ride-sharing – Samkørsel in Danish – and peer-to-peer car rental, also now including a leasing model on some of that.

We’re coming also – these are things that are already happening through our apps and our web solutions: package delivery and more real-time, in-city ridesharing. These are all coming as natural extensions of what we are doing, but it’s really about sharing the car and using the car capacity better. It goes to the benefit of the consumer and his or her private economy, but also to the benefit of the environment and for congestion or to congestion, for instance, in the big cities.

So we see ourselves – we do more things. We’re not only a ride-sharing app; we’re not only a rental app; we not only do leasing, because you won’t become a preferred app for mobility for the individual user being in need of transportation. So we say, GoMore is your car when you need it, and it’s car comfort at a low cost, social travel and experience – that is important, by the way; we have so many good experiences among the users out there on the roads – and then at the most societal level is the better utilization of cars.

Just to tell a little more about the three concepts that we have running on the platform now, there’s the ridesharing looking pretty much like this. You can go to our website and then browse. “I want to go from Aarhus to København” for instance. Make a search, like you search for a bus or a train ticket and a long list now of cars coming up, and you then put your like if you put a train or a bus ticket.

Once we got 450,000 members – we ran four markets. Denmark is the biggest, then newly launched in Norway and Sweden, and then we also just recently merged with a carpooling company in southern Europe – I cannot say more about that right now, but we’re going to reveal more a little later this year.

So we’ve grown quite fast – 40,000 new members per month altogether and 800,000 visitors, not so interesting by itself. Maybe more interesting there is there are between 5,000-10,000 rides offered every day, so it’s quite a huge supply of rides already, and it’s quite obvious that we have, just in Denmark, we have 2.5 million cars. If these cars went driving, started offering some of the empty seats, there would be millions of rides offered every day. So even though it’s going pretty well, it’s still almost nothing as you see it, compared to what it might become going forward.

Then we have rental – that’s fairly new. That was launched in February, actually exactly a year – well, we’re still in January, right? Officially, we launched first of February, but actually by the end of January last year, this model – where users, when they don’t use their cars, they can then rent them out to other members of the GoMore platform. So yeah, ridesharing is about sharing your car when you use it; rental is about sharing when you don’t use it.

It’s been well-received and growing fast now. We have 2,300 rental cars on the platform; we still need I would say somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000, then we might actually not need more. There will be a car on every street corner in Denmark, but still fairly good numbers in the big city already and we have more than 2,500 rental days per month now, a little less than a year after launch.

Then we have this – and that is the newest thing. Actually a very funny story: we had this rental, sorry, leasing model on some platform September past year in a partnership with LeasePlan, which is a huge leasing company. We only launched it in Denmark; rental is also only launched in Denmark at this stage, but it’s coming to the other markets as well.

We launched this model in September. The idea was that if we could provide leasing cars very easily and at a low cost for users, it will be very easy for them to become car owners, and then they could have – if not a little business – then at least very much reduce the cost of the car if they rent out this leasing car some days per month. We partnered up with LeasePlan and made a very nice package where there’s no down payment on the car and only a six-month lease. This is now going out to 12, but still a very short least and costing you nothing to start. You pay between 2,000 and 3,000 cars per month, depending on the size of the car, then you rent it out and you bring down your cost. If you rent it out enough, the car, a little over a week, you can actually have a car for free.

We launched this by sending out a newsletter to our members, “Would you like a car for free?” We had ten cars on offer the first day when we launched, and just this first day, more than 500 cars were ordered. We were thinking, we’ve never seen 500 cars being ordered in one day in Denmark before, so that was a big success, and LeasePlan and us are working hard on delivering all the cars and meeting them, meeting these demands.

Now there are between 300 to 400 cars on the street – these leasing cars – and several thousands are going to come within the next one to two years. They also come with a GoMore sticker on the back of them, so we’re supposed to get some marketing out of that.

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Fine, that’s what we do. Then we launched in Norway and Sweden this summer; that was only ridesharing that we started with and we are coming here, and we had a hard time, which I think all peer-to-peer models have in getting started at all. We’re still at a very low level. I think overall, when you look at business and traffic and transactions, but at least now we grow very fast, at least compared to what we did in the beginning, in the summer.

So we did something that actually started working. We used all, I guess, traditional – I don’t know if this is traditional – but the channels you would use: PR, organic, social-organic marketing, paid marketing. We do partnerships – I could tell more about that as well. We do many different things, but I’m just going to mention two small but very smart things that work.

I’m going to start at collecting members. Growing in Sweden and Norway through Facebook hacks after launch in the summer of 2014 – this is what I want to tell about. I don’t know what growth hacking is, by the way, but I always thought it was something that was close to criminal because it’s hacking, so I thought I should tell about something that was close to criminal, but I think it’s not a crime.

Here’s the thing: one thing they did is that we created lots of groups – for instance, university groups – and we just created that on the GoMore website. And why did we do that? We did it so that we have some things to promote very targeted to students from these universities at Facebook. We don’t go out and partner with these universities – that’s what’s criminal about it.

In Denmark actually, we’d go out – because there, we’re fairly known. We’d go out to universities and say, “Would you like –?” Well we haven’t done it, but if we did it, we would actually ask them to pay us for the partnership because we give them a nice page – this is for. No, no sorry, that’s for Uppsala University. Give them a nice page where the students can go to for transportation to the university, or to the university city.

Partners are very slow and we do not at all have time for going out to all the different universities in Sweden and ask if they’re interested in carpooling. They’d never heard about that, and definitely they hadn’t heard about GoMore. That’s too time-consuming so we just created lots of groups, and then we started targeting – we’re targeting students from these universities on Facebook, saying, “Why don’t you sign up in Uppsala University ridesharing group?”

We get a little bit of push back sometimes. They write and say, “We cannot use our” and that’s pretty much it we keep doing it; it doesn’t really matter.

So that actually works. It went from getting between 500 and 1,000 members per month to getting 3,000 members per month, spending the same amount of money. before just getting these members. I think we still acquire – we’re acquiring them at too high a cost, but it actually works and it’s the most cost-efficient thing we found so far in a market where we absolutely want to know.

The thing is that it’s much easier for people to sign up; it’s something that they identify with already. They say, “Okay, there’s a carpooling group. Carpooling – that sounds nice. It’s even from our university. I want to be part of that.” If we just promote GoMore, it’ll be much harder to make them sign up.

So that worked, then we realized, “Why don’t we just do the same for cities?” It’s not me doing this; there are marketing people here – they are much smarter, actually, when it comes to this. I’m just trying to repeat what they told me that they’ve been doing last month.

So we’re doing the same for cities – that works just as well, and the good thing is that there are even more cities out there than there are universities, of course. We do the same; we run a sponsored ad on Facebook – “Why don’t you sign up in Stavanger?” Samkjøring means carpool from GoMore. And people sign up.

That’s one thing. So we have – I don’t know – maybe between 25 and 50 or even more groups right now in each country, and we’re just running sponsored ads for these groups. It’s very easy and simple.

Actually when you go back, this is an absolute scam – it has absolutely no functionality; we just arrived at a landing page with a nice-looking photo and the logo from the city or from your university and you’ll think that’s nice and good and you sign up.

The value of these members I think is too low, of course, because many of them still haven’t really understood what it is or we might need much more members before there’s really a critical mass to start generating the transactions and the bookings that we need. But again, it’s the most cost-efficient thing that we found for a start.

Another example of what we call Facebook “infiltration” – I mean, this is really basic work, but you just have to do it all the time and be very systematic about it. I think the marketing people are members of 200-300 groups each, each of them in each country, and it’s very just hands-on work, sitting and communicating with people in these groups. But they sign up, and even though it seems like it’ll be nice if you could just build a robot that could do it all for you, but I don’t think you can, and it’s actually efficient. That is more of a non-paid solution.

What is that? That is Varberg, a city in Sweden. We also created a page for them as for many other cities. And then go to – what is this? This is Varbergsgruppen, right? The Varberg group on Facebook, and say, “Why don’t you sign up in your new carpooling at Varbergs? A new carpooling page with GoMore?” That’s also efficient. That is just not paid – that is more us actively going in and discussing with people in these groups.

So those were examples of hacking. We do many other things, but when you asked me for a hacker story, that was what I thought was fit for the occasion.

Okay, thanks!lit.