Commuting to and from work can be challenging for many various reasons especially for those living in regions with limited public transportation options. Thankfully there are startups like Hop In Technologies that recognize the correlation between transportation and employment. With determination to support the working ecosystem, Hop In Technologies has developed a solution that benefits the employer, employee and furthermore the environment.
Hop In Technologies is a logistics software company that addresses transportation and mobility barriers for organizations and their employees. Their innovative software designs routes for charter operators or rideshares so that companies can get their employees — especially those in outlying areas or areas underserved by public transit — to work. What does this mean for employers? Greater access to talent, workplace retention and broader access to hiring pools. What does this mean for employees? Better work-life balance, fewer carbon emissions and improved quality of life overall.
HOW IT STARTED
Hop In Technologies was founded in 2018 by Erich Ko and Boyd Reid, who were seeking a solution to their own commuting challenges. Long commutes via multiple transit systems were costing the duo time and money. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it seemed almost impossible to commute to work without having a personal vehicle. Ko and Reid realized that their commuter woes were not only a Toronto issue but a universal barrier as well. Following a year of in-depth research and customer discovery, Ko and Reid discovered that while there was an abundance of transportation capacity to meet commuter challenges, there wasn’t a logistics software to coordinate them, so Hop In Technologies was born.
“Hop In Technologies understands the immense barrier that transportation challenges pose on people,” co-founder Boyd Reid says, “and our mission is to unlock the potential of mobility for everyone.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Every great innovation needs a vehicle to drive it to business opportunities. For Hop In, their initial challenge was accessing opportunities to showcase and pilot their innovative software in Durham Region and Eastern Ontario. Through their startup ecosystem, Ko and Reid had heard of an organization with a proven track record of helping companies and entrepreneurs and jumped on board. That organization was Spark Centre.
Spark Centre not only provided Hop In with introductions to key stakeholders in Eastern Ontario and Durham Region, but it also connected Hop In with several of its Advisors — proven leaders with expertise in several areas like finance, marketing, sales, investment and more. While Spark Centre’s financial advisors helped Hop In prepare its data room for investors, its marketing and sales advisors provided the business support that Hop In needed to garner interest and create the business opportunities they sought.
“These advisors go above and beyond to aid in our progress by constantly checking in with us to keep us on track and accountable, even when we are very busy,” Reid says.
WHERE THEY ARE TODAY
With solid connections, knowledgeable advisory and unwavering determination and entrepreneurial savvy, Hop In Technologies has unlocked many opportunities since their launch in 2018.
Hop In’s logistics platform has surpassed 450 rides per day — which equates to a significant reduction of total carbon output (76 metric tons of CO2!) It’s also currently working with Northumberland County and Metrolinx on the Commuter Connect project: a shuttle service that connects communities in Northumberland County to the Oshawa GO train.
“This project provides new transportation options for the residents in Northumberland County.” Reid has stated, “Unless you had a car, getting around Northumberland County was next to impossible, especially for early morning or late-night commuters. With Hop In Technologies, we can now coordinate rides that expand the reach of transit in the County.”
In 2022, Hop In expanded into the US market and was accepted to TechStars Alabama’s EnergyTech Accelerator, where they will receive seed investment and mentorship through Techstar’s worldwide network of business leaders. And Hop In is showing no sign of slowing down, with its goal of surpassing one thousand daily rides and its site set on onboarding electric vehicle fleet operators to its platform.
Looking back on Hop In’s startup journey and based on the business growth it’s achieved in just four short years, Reid had a lot of advice to offer his fellow startups:
“Do not assume or skip out on the customer discovery process. It’s crucial to understand the needs of your target market. Also your network is an underrated resource for success. Invest time into meeting new people and keeping those connections alive.”, he said, “And do something that you’re passionate about. Focus on making the impact you want because those big goals are what will help you through the tough days.”