Waymate has launched its travel comparison platform in what is set to become an intriguing space this year – both in terms of its growth and in the battle for market share. The Berlin-based startup enables users to compare different options from getting from A to B including flights, car travel and Deutsche Bahn trains, and also includes an integrated booking feature.
The company will face stiff competition both from the traditional major transport companies as well as startup rivals such as GoEuro. But it can take plenty of encouragement from the rapid growth of Versus IO, a comparison engine for areas like smartphones.
Waymate’s iPhone app and web platform are aimed at simplifying the process of planning and booking travel online. Journey times, prices and length are all easily accessible, and the platform includes both long- and short-distance public transport as well as car-sharing services Car2Go and DriveNow. It also boasts of its “easy-to-read visual timeline”, rather than a traditional text-based layout, and says that the booking feature means there won’t be any random fluctuations in price from the journey finder screen to the payment page.
There are personal filter options such as time, price, comfort and travel type and Waymate highlights its independence and transparency. Other features include intelligent search within a city and comparisons involving more than 1,200 airlines.
Early impressions weren’t entirely convincing, as the Waymate website was seemingly suffering a few bugs on Monday morning. The one search we did complete successfully, from Berlin to East Croydon station in South London, directed us to Luton airport, on the other side of the British capital. Subsequently, the placeholder returned advertising the relaunch of Waymate from earlier that morning.
Update: The bugs were caused by the large amount of traffic following the launch, and currently, for cities outside Germany, the platform only provides information for getting to them – i.e. in the example above, the search returned results for London as a whole not East Croydon specifically.
But teething trouble aside, the release highlighting the launch stated that Waymate is differentiated by its simplicity, and the company’s co-founder Dr. Tom Kirschbaum said: “Our goal was to create a universal mobile app which unites all modes of travel. Additionally, we have developed an online travel website which is so user-friendly and simple that anybody can book their trips comfortably and hassle-free. To make this possible, we work together directly with partners like Deutsche Bahn.”
CEO Maxi Nohroudi added that with the launch out of the way, there were plan to build new features such as social networking and then to take the platform international. He said: “In short, we want travel planning to be completely simple and joyful.”
Waymate was founded by Nohroudi and Kirschbaum in December 2010 and later won the European Commission’s 1st Smart Mobility Challenge, with transport commissioner Siim Kallas dubbing the platform a “pioneer for integrated travel planning in Europe”.