SaaS Founder Interview with Meghan Braley, Founder & CEO of ScootRoute
Tony Zayas 0:05
Everybody, welcome to the tech founders show where we have discussions, leading edge technology founders who are leading the charge of rapid innovation using disruptive technologies. joined here by my co host, Andy Halko. Andy happy tech tuesday to you.
Andy Halko 0:23
Happy Tech Tuesday to you too. I am excited for another great show. Tell us who do we have? And what are we talking about?
Tony Zayas 0:33
Yeah, so I’m excited. So we’ve done a couple shows on different topics. This one I like, because it focuses really on the physical world, the world of mobility. So Meghan Braley, who will bring on in just a moment. She’s the founder and CEO of scoot route, and scoot route, which is available in all 50 states. It’s an app that’s free app designed specifically for micro mobility travel, and allows users the ability to have voice activated custom navigation for motor scooters, e scooters, bikes, and E-bikes in both cities and suburbs that combines three different mapping technologies to accommodate the nuances of micro mobility travels. So with that, Meghan, welcome. How you doing? I’m good. Thanks. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. Thanks for taking the time to run with us. So I gave a little bit of a, you know, a short description of school route, but we’d love to hear you know, from your perspective, what is all about?
Meghan Braley 1:33
Yeah, sure. So it is a very good description. Thank you. Um, so scoot route is, yeah, it’s a mobile navigation app, dedicated specifically to micro mobility. So if you think about micro mobility, it’s really anything on two or three wheels that goes less than 30 miles an hour. So and you would kind of mentioned it, so it could be just a bike. It could be an E bike, skateboard hoverboard, one wheel. Really like anything that people are using to navigate around the city that isn’t a car. And so myself, I’m a Vesper writer, I’ve had one for well over 10 years now. And I, when I first got it, I always struggled trying to get to where I needed to go. Without getting on major roads, or really feeling like I had to fight cars in Boston on the weekend, ride mopeds in the bike lanes. So trying to figure out, you know, where I could be riding or should be riding was really hard. And so that’s really where the idea came about. And so yeah, we launched in August in both app stores. And you know, we’re really excited about it. And we’re getting some really great user traction, which is good.
Tony Zayas 2:41
So going back to just the origin. So you’re, you’re a vespa rider, and it was really the challenges that you’re facing.
Meghan Braley 2:51
Exactly. Yeah, I like I am literally scoots routes first client. Yeah, and that it was and it was really hard. And I don’t know, you know, any of your listeners are from the Boston area. Or if you’ve been to Boston, the streets are an absolute nightmare. So trying to I really felt very unsafe when I was first riding, because I didn’t know the fastest way to go. And you know, Google Maps wasn’t really helpful because they only have the ability to like, you have one option to avoid main roads or busy roads. And then I don’t even think ways was around at that time. So there was really nothing out there for me.
Andy Halko 3:35
what was that process of going from? You know, I’ve got this idea, this problem to Okay, now I need to create a solution. And I want to create a solution.
Meghan Braley 3:47
Right. Well, I actually sat on the idea for a very long time. So I’ve owned the domain name, scoot route dot com since 2010. And so this is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. But I was really the only person especially in Boston, and Boston is actually not a huge micromobility City at work, and we’re working on it. But the market in the US just wasn’t there. There were not, you know, birds in lines and you know, electric kick scooters weren’t a fit yet. That those really didn’t come around until 2017 2018. E-bikes were not big. You know, some people had mopeds so the market wasn’t there. So there was no point in me launching it, to me be like literally the only user a school group. So I had to make the mark wait for the market to catch up. It happened in 2017 2018. And that’s when I really had decided to kind of pull the trigger. And I’m a product manager by trade. So I’ve been in the product, product management space, but in fin like corporate FinTech companies, so luckily I was used to kind of building requirements and being able to communicate that to developer. So I had a little bit of a leg up there when you know, thinking about how I was going to launch the product.
Andy Halko 5:10
So you, you if you bought the domain name in 2010, you were obviously sitting on this for a while. What, I don’t know, I’m just kind of curious, because I think people do that all the time. What were what were kind of the ups and downs of thinking about like, oh, I’ve got to do this versus pulling back and saying it’s not the right time. And then how did you, you say you saw the right time coming in, obviously, with some of these things, but what really solidified it for you to say, Okay, I’ve got to move forward.
Meghan Braley 5:42
Yeah. So um, I mean, there were there were definitely ups and downs. And it was more just like me internally, when I pulled off for this in a while. And I had talked to it, you know, my family and friends about it. Like everyone knew about scoot route, even though there was no, just an idea. And so like, every year at Christmas, like it was like, Hey, what’s going on with scoot route? And I’m like, Oh, nothing. So like, yeah, I’m not gonna do it. Because like, there was, like, at the time, there just really wasn’t the point, it would only be, I develop an app, and I lose money on that, right, I lose that development cost. But really, the solidifying moment was when bird and lime started to get, you know, VC funding, after VC funding after VC funding, right, they were really blowing up. And I will never forget it, it was when I had already started. At the time, I had already started, you know, screwed, I created an LLC, once I kind of made the decision that I’m going to move forward, you know, did that hire to development shop to help me with the proof of concept and the technical architecture, but then it kind of became clear that it needed to be my full time job. And I’ll never forget, it was like a Tuesday night. And I was, you know, just doing market research. As if I don’t do this, now, someone’s going to come in and do it. So night, I was like, alright, I’m going like, both feet in here and I gave my notice that my rejects the next day, and it was the scariest thing I’ve done. But it was also the best thing I’ve done. So it was just kind of, you know, what the VC`s and the development world was investing in, in the micro mobility industry that really kind of gave me the questions like, this is going to be the next big thing.
Andy Halko 7:29
Tony Zayas 7:30
So where did you get your, you know, first few users.
Meghan Braley 7:36
Um, so really, that was through just kind of PR. I mean, once we launched the app, it was really through PR, some ad like advertising, we’re actually just starting a huge App Store optimization strategy with, you know, a company and their help with user acquisition, because that’s kind of like our biggest goal now, right is to attract new users. Um, but really, it was just through more like press releases. I have, you know, some friends, you know, building the app, I obviously needed to talk to actual micromobility riders. So it was kind of like that product. Kind of like expert groups that I would tap into for fleshing out my requirements and, and market needs. And they were really my first ones.
Tony Zayas 8:26
So did you before launching the product? Did you have conversations with other riders? Just to get feedback? Obviously, you kind of knew what you would like, but one car features, and all that kind of stuff? How did you like what was the process was a fairly informal or just curious?
Meghan Braley 8:45
Yeah, no, it’s definitely informal. Because the more when I realized that it’s very different than, you know, corporate world crazy, you’re going to get the best feedback, actually, when it’s more informal. So, um, you know, if I had reached out to some folks, especially in the first couple of weeks of the app, we have a feedback loop within the the app, you know, because I want to hear the good stuff. But I it’s really important, more important that I hear the bad stuff like, or the it’s not fitting this need because of x. So anytime I got someone who was like, hey, great app, but I would ask them if they wanted to be part of kind of like my, what I call a product counsel. And I would then just kind of ping them with questions like, Hey, we got a couple of requests from users to add this function. Is that something that you think you’d use is that you know, like a high priority? So it’s just really more kind of casual conversations like that.
Andy Halko 9:47
I’m always interested in in kind of the minimum viable product MVP, and roadmap, you know, and again, we have the shows and I always feel that founders have such big ideas for what their their product could be? How did you figure out what that first version should be? And how you develop that? And you may have a great insight given your background, but But how did you really think about developing a first iteration of your product?
Meghan Braley 10:18
Yeah, so it was really just if, and I would consider, like what was in the market now and MVP plus? Right. So we definitely have, you know, I have lots of lofty aspirations in terms of what the next, you know, couple of years look like in terms of functionality. But to get that MVP out, it was really just answering the question, and I needed to pick one and me as a scooter as an vesper rider, like, what is the one thing that I need out of this app. And for me, it was being able to say, which, like how fast roads are, so like, my best book caps out at about 30 miles an hour. So my biggest thing like MVP was okay, we need to do something where I can set my preferences to say, avoid all roads more than 20 miles an hour or 25 miles an hour, or if they were on an E scooter, avoid roads that are more than 15 miles an hour that kind of gets you around those major roadways. So that’s really it was the I’m not gonna lie. The first MVP was really based off of me as a user that then also spoke to other type of riders, not just moped riders.
Andy Halko 11:36
And how’d you figure out? Did you end up finding like a CTO or a co founder? Or did you do all the planning yourself and hire an outside team? How did you actually come to building a product?
Meghan Braley 11:50
Yeah, so I actually I don’t have a technical co founder. But I did partner with a development shop here in Boston, who I gave my requirements to, and they were absolutely kind of like an extension scoot route. Right? They helped me do the proof of concept, and then the overall development of it. And then obviously, now that it’s out, and we’re gonna be looking for funding as soon as we can funding that outbreak, you know, the development in house, and you know, I’m actively actually looking for a CTO. So if you know, anyone.
Tony Zayas 12:31
I’m curious, Meghan, with your background as a product manager, how has that helped you through the process? I would imagine that that’s been valuable and knowing how not being a technical founder, but having that background, I imagined that that’s been very useful.
Meghan Braley 12:49
It’s huge, honestly, just being able to have those kind of meaningful conversations with the technology team, like, Do I understand it all? No, but I’m able to also be able to estimate a little bit better, or even kind of like push back. I, you know, a lot of times, like they’re like, alright, it’s going to be, I don’t even know, 100 hours or 150 hours to implement this feature, or whatever it is. And it’s nice to know, like, yeah, that’s actually, from my experience, like pretty reasonable, or at the same time, like, we need to rein it in here, guys, like, maybe maybe it will take it to do that, then like whether other options here to bring it down the hours just to keep our costs low, as low as much as we can. So having that background really helps kind of just having like more transparent conversations with the development team, and not too much gets lost in translation.
Andy Halko 13:47
I’m kind of curious on the other side of that, because I’m sure there’s so many product managers that are out there that do that, you know, are working on this every day and have some idea and say, I want to start something. Well, are there any things that were pitfalls or, you know, issues because you were a product manager in starting your own?
Meghan Braley 14:10
Um, I think that I mean, I think yes, because if I wasn’t a product manager, I would have absolutely had to find a technical co founder from the get go. And I think that I have yet to decide if that it’s good or bad that I, like don’t have one now. Like, I’m not that I’m struggling. But one of the key, you know, hires for me now is a CTO or head of technology. And I think that I would have closed that gap a lot earlier on in the process. If I was if I didn’t know kind of like how to run a technology product. I think that it’s a little bit of a blessing and a curse.
Tony Zayas 14:59
excellence. So yeah,
Andy Halko 15:03
Tony Zayas 15:04
No, I was just gonna ask. So as far as the app goes, What are the technologies that are in play there? Obviously, there’s, you know, it’s a GPS type, you know, standard. But what else is in play? You know, under the hood?
Meghan Braley 15:18
Yeah, so I can tell you a little bit about some of its secret source. So, we are actually patent pending, which is exciting. So we use openstreetmaps, for the majority of like, the street level data, and then we have a routing engine. On top of that, um, that is also open source. However, we have like additional scoot route logic on top of that is like, obviously, proprietary to scoop route, that creates the routes, and then we have on top of the routing piece like that gives you the turn by turn using the openstreetmaps data. But then we also have the actual tiles, the visual, the visual maps and roads that you see within the app. So they all kind of have to come together with the the know how, at the scoot route logic to create, you know, a cohesive route, visually. And, you know, data driven, basically,
Andy Halko 16:20
given where you’re at now, how, what are you seeing is one of the biggest challenges for launching a new app? You know, I would think, in today’s space, there’s so many apps out there, that, you know, it’s hard to really create your, your, your awareness and your space. But as you’ve kind of gone through this process, you know, in launching an app, what have you found is some of the biggest challenges?
Meghan Braley 16:49
Yeah, so I think part of it is that, you know, the App Store optimization, and that’s one of the things coming from FinTech. That is not in my wheelhouse, right, like, it’s quickly becoming in my wheelhouse, but, um, you know, getting those that like App Store optimization and getting those users. So that’s one thing that, you know, I really wasn’t expecting, I was hoping that by doing some PR and some marketing, and, you know, getting the name out there, I was like, Oh, yeah, awesome idea. Like, no, like, it’s paid acquisition per user, you know, so that my launch my kind of like marketing lunch to get those users was not quite wasn’t what I expected. I think we’re on the right path now. Absolutely. So I think we’re gonna see a lot of traction. And then also just kind of like that. I don’t want to say dialogue. But the term rate, right? Like, if you have, you know, if you’re getting 100 downloads a day, but 99%. And this is not the case with scoot route, but you know, in 99% of them are deleting the app The next day, right, like, so it’s not just it’s kind of like thinking through what those KPI`s are. It’s not just download, but you have to also consider the churn rate and with ads, like how many times they’re coming back to the app, and also kind of what we’re thinking about, because as you mentioned, there are so many apps out there, people are very limited, or they have only a few that they’re willing to pay for. Right. So from an app monetization perspective, you know, is there trying to think through is there an opportunity to have a paid version of the app a premium version with some new pieces of functionality? And how much, you know, with scoot route charge for that. So there’s all just kind of being an app, it’s just a very different kind of structure than it is like in you know, really any other business is pretty cool.
Andy Halko 18:43
Yeah, we talk about churn all the time. I’m kind of curious, what kind of data do you really look at on a regular basis and subscribe to focusing on?
Meghan Braley 18:55
Yeah, so churn is definitely one of them. And then we have just overall for our KPI`s, like daily active users, and then monthly active users, I mean, we definitely look at overall downloads. But that’s not like, for me a true indicator, I love seeing more downloads. But as long as those I want to see to make sure that those downloads actually turn into or increase our daily active users and our daily monthly users. So those are really the big ones.
Andy Halko 19:26
Has there been anything that you found so far in your launch, you know, related to churn that, you know, was a big kind of like, aha, like, Oh, you know, we need to make this change, or has it been pretty steady in looking at, you know, what’s going on and maybe either making adjustments?
Meghan Braley 19:45
Yeah, for right now. I mean, it’s kind of been pretty steady. Like we’ve we’ve only been in the app stores for six months, and we haven’t done like a huge push, I would expect over the next two three months as we do like a truly targeted kind of ASO and user acquisition plan that we’re going to be getting a lot more feedback. Um, you know, we do get feedback through the loop in the app. And so that’s where a lot of like, my next kind of my roadmap is kind of focusing on. But right now, like, we don’t have a ton of churn. But I do think that we’re going to see more as we start really growing our downloads on a more regular basis.
Andy Halko 20:34
How did you? How did you approach user interface design? Because I think, you know, maybe in product management, you’ve got some insight, but then you’ve got a development team. And sometimes for me, I obviously think that, like user interfaces is a different leg of the stool, right. And it’s so important to churn. So how did you approach user interface design in creating this product?
Meghan Braley 21:06
Mm hmm. So the development team actually, that I worked with had a, like a UI UX expert. And they have done a fantastic job, actually, they’ve, we’ve won a couple of awards already for user interface, which is great. So I just really, we’ve thought through, you know, as a user, you’re on a vespa, or you’re on a bike, or wherever you are, and you think about, okay, if you haven’t mounted, like, I typically, I don’t do the turn, by turn, I have a mount on my vespa. Um, but like, so I’m riding and I want to zoom in really quickly at a stoplight or something. So you have to kind of read that through. Okay, I want to zoom in on a specific route, like with one click, like, how big can we make this button, and then there’s no like taking two fingers and making it bigger or smaller. Because that just takes too much time. It’s like, okay, boop, I want to magnify by two, and then it opens up the, it makes the map a little bit. So from a user experience, it wasn’t just the like, making a cool, like a good transition from how do you search for a route and then start your route and kind of all that, but overall, like button placement of the actual app, like we don’t want to have the stop button or whatever button down at the bottom, because a certain mount may cover that bottom. That bottom button. So there was a lot of kind of thought and in terms of the you when what should the at what how do we make this app easy to use, not just in generating and creating their route before their start, but you know, during the route as well.
Andy Halko 22:47
During that, like development period, where you did you and have other people go out in the physical world and utilize it because obviously with your app being so engrained into the physical environment, I would assume testing isn’t just sitting in a room clicking around, right. So right you have out there.
Meghan Braley 23:07
Yeah, yeah. So I had a couple, you know, I had two or three riders. And this was, I was like the number one tester from like, a from a UI and like usability perspective, but even in, you know, I had a lot of people go around in their cars, if they didn’t have have, like a micro mobility device, because even then some of the mounts like are a little bit different. And obviously, they need to be keeping their eyes on the road. And so I did have people go out and test, you know, in the actual like, on the roads, but not all of them were necessarily on mobility devices, but also in cars.
Tony Zayas 23:53
Going back to just kind of micro mobility in general. That any idea for a long time. How did you you know, what did you pay attention to as far as trends? I think you mentioned a couple Is it a couple of the bikes that came out that helped you and the growth of that? What helped influence like when the time was right to go into this?
Meghan Braley 24:16
Yeah, I think um, I mean, I always kept my eye on the trends and honestly, I had never even heard of the term micro mobility. Probably until like 2016 2017. Like you If you had told me I said, Yeah, I’ve got a moped and yeah, okay, right, like so. I feel like once I started, like, once there was a term like put around micromobility that kind of like, was a clue to me. And then I did really keep my eyes on both. Like kind of the shared micro mobility providers, whether it was e scooters like lime or bird or vo or any of those, but then also once like cities bikes popped up. And there’s shared bikes in, you know, like in Boston, the blue bikes are in Boston. And so once it was kind of clear that not only were there private micro mobility companies, but then, you know, local governments and cities are providing, providing opportunities for shared bikes. That’s kind of was really the catalyst for me to get going.
Tony Zayas 25:31
Yeah, that’s cool. And that that’s exactly what I was looking for. So I think that’s interesting. Like once you heard that term, and that was out there. Now that’s like something and you saw that growth. So that’s pretty cool. Then as far as you know, targeting your audience, what exists out there, as far as you know, like the niche communities of people who ride bow paths, or, you know, these scooters and that type of thing? You know, you tapped into those. Are you active?
Meghan Braley 26:00
Oh, absolutely, yes. So we’re actually, in on May 1, we’re sponsoring a bike ride in DC. And it’s called DMV trails. And we are creating the routes for I mean, one of them is 100 mile route. And so there’s all sorts of different bike clubs, moped clubs, we’ve talked with, you know, vest Blitz of DC as well, they have a huge, you know, vespa community where they go out on rides. So there’s, like the scooter clubs, the bike clubs, but then there’s also just commuters in general, right, I’m sure that you guys have heard the term last mile, where it’s someone’s coming in from the suburbs coming into the city, at least they were pretty pandemic, and they need to get from the train station to their office, which is a mile and a half away. So that’s, you know, a lot of people, you know, rather than walking or taking the bus or whatever else is available, they’ll hop on a shared micromobility device, and kind of get to where they need to go. And then you have folks like, kind of like me, I don’t have a commute anymore, but where I just want to go, it’s like a beautiful day. And I want to, you know, scoop down out in Boston and enjoy the weather. So there’s so many different ways that people can be utilizing their micro mobility device.
Tony Zayas 27:25
One last question on that kind of this topic. But how do you see as far as trends go? How do you see, you know, micro mobility, changing, growing, given that shift from so many people that no longer have to commute? Because, you know, the people are not working from home? And a lot of that’s going to stick? What do you you know, where you forecast and see in the future for this space?
Meghan Braley 27:50
Yeah, I actually think that it’s going to well, and that this is all a market research to I can’t take credit for it. But I mean, it’s, it’s going to grow exponentially. I mean, they are saying, based off of McKinsey study that in the US alone, it’s going to be between 200 to 200 to $300 billion market by 2030, there is a silver lining, with respect to micromobility. For the pandemic, a lot of it being that people still want to social distance. So even if you are coming back into the city, or going into an office, you may not necessarily be as comfortable taking the train or the bus that you used to be or for that last mile, like don’t take a bus. Um, so I think that’s one. And then I also think that just in general, it’s like a cool way to travel. It’s sustainable, it’s environmentally friendly. It’s not necessarily it’s not really, if you’re not buying one. And even if you are buying one, there’s you know, relatively inexpensive options. So I just think that people are really going to be start really going to start adopting it more. And we’re going to start seeing a lot more cities being able to kind of like, pivot and make it easier for micromobility devices to be used in the cities, I know that a lot of cities right now are spending a lot on infrastructure and putting in bike lanes. So I just think that it’s going to be a it’s it’s a growing industry. And I think it’s going to stay like that for a while.
Tony Zayas 29:26
Andy Halko 29:27
You mentioned the pandemic and obviously that impacted everybody. I’m kind of curious how it impacted you as a startup. Yeah, positively negatively. Because I mean, there could be some positive aspects given, you know, changing the way people are commuting and moving, but also negative, you know, what was your experience through this whole?
Meghan Braley 29:52
Yeah, I mean, it was definitely as for everybody, it was an absolute roller coaster. So, you know, I quit my job full time, in November 2019 like, here we go, I’m doing it. And then the goal was to launch the app in like May June timeframe of 2020. That obviously didn’t happen. But considering everybody was indoors, like it’s not was nothing like it is today. So there was kind of that panic, like, Oh, no, like, what am I going to do? Luckily, you know, things did start opening up and people really actually wanted something like you couldn’t, in terms of like micromobility, you couldn’t buy a new or even used bike, right, last month, in June. I think one of my sisters actually had to go, like drove to Rhode Island to got like the last used bike of Rhode Island for her tank. Because everybody needed, they needed something to do to get out of the house, and they couldn’t, they needed to remain socially distance. So that that was like a comfort to me in terms of Okay, the market is absolutely still there, we’re just going to push the launch out a little bit so that people are actually able to go outside and use their micro mobility devices. And I think that you know, now micro mobility may attract a different user base. So those who may not necessarily have really cared to try or like a little too risk averse to try micro mobility, but device now that they, you know, don’t necessarily want to take a bus or an Uber or whatever it is, that there might be more open to trying or buying a micro mobility device.
Andy Halko 31:48
I’m kind of curious, randomly, you know, are you are you having to factor in seasonality at all? And like,
Meghan Braley 31:57
Absolutely. Yeah. So I mean, it doesn’t impact really the workings of the app, but just the overall market. So like in Boston, I’m not scooting around in Martin, you know, January and February, unless it’s like one of those crazy days where it’s 70 degrees outside, I’m like, February 14, and there’s no snow on the ground. Kind of the same is true for some of the hotter cities. So one of my colleagues, she’s in Phoenix, and now it’s getting up to 100 degrees. And in the summer, it’s gonna be 120 degrees, and you’re gonna see micro mobility devices, like melting on the sidewalk, so so there is just gets too hot. Right? So it’s, it, we’re gonna see, I feel what we’ll see, like in our analytics, of that seasonality of usage. So when it comes to monthly users, or daily active users, I think we’re gonna see obviously spikes in certain areas and complete drop offs in certain areas as well.
Andy Halko 33:01
Yeah, I think that’s interesting, you know, for folks out there that have apps is, is thinking about that from a data perspective, because I always say, you know, avoiding these high level stats, and if you probably look at daily active users across everything, it’s gonna talk really different story than by locale.
Meghan Braley 33:20
Right? Yes. So I would want locale for either one, like those KPIs for Boston, right? Like, I would say, Alright, I want to see an increase of daily active users in Boston from April to October, and then kind of the same for Arizona, but it’s probably gonna be like September to April. And as long as it’s that kind of mark, the time of year for my micromobility use. I’m going to take a look at that I if we see like a huge dip in ridership in Boston in December. I’m not gonna worry too much about it.
Andy Halko 34:02
You talked a little bit earlier, you kind of mentioned premium features. I’m curious, what’s the monetization strategy for the app, you know, now and going into the future?
Meghan Braley 34:15
Yeah. So we have a couple of strategies. One, I mean, the free app version is not, we’re not going to see unless we get to the point where we have millions and millions of users, right, like the ad revenue from enact advertising isn’t going to keep us you know, in business. But we do have API solutions that we can integrate in with some of these or all of them, but I’m sharing scooter providers and then also different city city bikes. So if a user for example, you know, getting a shared scooter, they open up their app, they would stay within that like fleets app, but then they could also we would provide the turn by turn directions directly in that shared scooter company. So it would be more like a licensing agreement with some of the micro mobility provide shared scooter providers.
Andy Halko 35:17
I, you know, just because it’s a big topic right now, how are you approaching privacy? Because obviously, there’s probably some data of where people are connected who they are. And I was kind of thinking, Oh, you can monetize that data to give people a sense of like, you know, what routes tend to get that type of traffic? But then, you know, that does get into that privacy question. So how are you guys looking at privacy?
Meghan Braley 35:45
Yeah, so actually, right now, we don’t have any constant, we don’t have any sort of user login for that sole reason. Because, you know, we are new, eventually, we are going to have to do that. So we really have no idea. Like, even when I use it, we have no idea, we don’t know that it’s like me doing this route from, you know, the south end of Boston to my sister, right. But going forward, we will absolutely have to, you know, start having some sort of login. Um, and, you know, the goal would not be to really collect the information about that user just more in terms of where are people riding, are they taking routes, that route scoop route, like didn’t provide within their route, why so that we can then kind of make a smart, you know, have AI on top of it, to make our routes smarter, as people use it, but data privacy is a big one for us, we’re actually getting a lot of requests from global markets to bring it to, you know, France, and France and Italy, and the Philippines and Australia. But those data privacy requirements are different than the US and more stringent. So that’s kind of like our one barrier to get there, not that we can’t do it. But something that we are considering we have to consider very heavily before we open up to those markets.
Andy Halko 37:16
Now that you mentioned it, you know, some of those markets are much more and, you know, the space, was there any consideration in the beginning to go to Indonesia, or, you know, other cities where they maybe use local mobility a little bit differently.
Meghan Braley 37:40
You know, I had never really thought about it, I’d always thought like US, and part of that was my bias and that I wanted it for me. But, um, over the past two months, I have kind of been thinking through like, should we really should we have started, you know, in some of those different markets? Because, yeah, I mean, there’s different there are certain cities where, you know, mopeds, and micro mobility is huge outside of the US. Um, but we’re kind of where we are right now. Right? Yeah, I do have, we do have the goal to be opening up to the larger markets, which are like the global markets. And that will probably be, you know, hopefully end of this year, beginning of next year. So we’re not too far behind.
Tony Zayas 38:30
So Meghan, what, what are some of the goals here for the next 12 months? Let’s say I think you said that you’re looking to, to raise some do some funding, correct?
Meghan Braley 38:43
Yes. yep. And so we’re starting our pre seed, seed round, in May, kind of part of that will be hiring, you know, some additional resources, number one being, um, you know, a CTO, and then also pulling in, you know, maybe even like another product person, we need a couple of engineers. And that is really to be able to, for us to quickly, you know, get some items off of our product product roadmap, including that is global, and then also adding in that kind of like, AI learning on top of, you know, our existing algorithm and logic.
Tony Zayas 39:26
Cool. So let’s, can you share a little bit about that the concept of AI learning?
Meghan Braley 39:32
Yeah, I mean, it’s really just using our data, in terms of and as we get more riders trying to figure out, you know, how are they which routes are they taking, which ones like if they are deviating off of it, why, and then also being able to incorporate different city guidelines, right, like so. Boston has certain guidelines in terms of where Where you can’t use a moped or an electric device, la has a very different rules, they have geo fencing where, you know, they’re not, they’re not allowed at all, like uncertain for blocks or things that you would think that you might you should be able to scoot on. So it’s really being able to incorporate all of this information and creating the smartest route depending on your actual, like, locale. That’s pretty cool.
Andy Halko 40:29
Yeah, um, you mentioned raising money. And that’s always a hot topic for founders. Yeah, I have a ton of insight into the process. But I’m always interested in, you know, what’s the approach to go after funding? What are the big, you know, challenges? Just any insight that you have about that?
Meghan Braley 40:53
Yeah, so I’m definitely we’re at the beginning phases. And so it’s really kind of making those connections first. So it’s almost like cold calling. And in order to just say, Hey, I think this might be something that you’d be interested in? Or do you want feedback? So really making those relationships before your second call to them? which is then Okay, now, I know I need money, right? So it’s a little, it’s just, it’s hard. And it’s just building that pipeline of potential investors that you think you fit inside their portfolio? Um, and, I mean, it’s just, it’s what I wasn’t expecting is that it was it’s a full time job. And it is a legitimate, full time job.
Andy Halko 41:43
Yeah, that’s almost literally what we hear every time we talk about it is that it’s a full time job. And that that’s what founders don’t realize. And why do you want to build a full team or have co founders? because someone’s got to be, you know, chasing money all the time?
Meghan Braley 42:00
Exactly. And And honestly, like, people have told me that over and over again, like, before I started getting, it’s gonna be full time like, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, uh, full time job
Andy Halko 42:12
that’s funny. Um, I, and we’ve had a couple, you know, female founders on and they’ve talked about some of the challenges of raising money. You know, just because sometimes in the startup space, it can be a little bit of boys club. Have you seen any of that yet? Or has that gone through your head.
Meghan Braley 42:32
So it has definitely gone through my head, and the number that you’re looking for is 2% of VC money goes to female founders, which is, like, scary. And it’s a deterrent. It’s honestly a deterrent for women founders. Because sometimes you’re like, why bother? If it’s 2%? Like, why bother? Luckily, I haven’t. And this is also could be, because like, I’m in the very beginning stages, I haven’t had any, you know, like meetings where I felt that I was at a disadvantage because I was a woman. But there’s also kind of a plus side, and that there are so many communities like startup communities that are focused, are so purpose is to help women founders, so I think getting, you know, for any woman founder who’s listening, I’m like, getting into those networks is absolutely huge. And they It is helpful, like everybody wants to help another, you know, like woman founded companies succeed, whether it’s providing, you know, advisory service for her business plan, or for intros to VC`s, where they think you might be a good fit, or whatever it is, or just, Hey, I’m literally gonna lose my, my brain, like going out, like, you know, I just need someone a sounding board like something. There are communities beyond communities out there. And it’s really important for people to tap into. And so I think from that perspective, there is a bit of an advantage, you know, being a woman founder, and that those communities are so accepting.
Andy Halko 44:14
What kind of resources have you used to do? Have you gotten involved with any incubators? What are some of those communities you’ve talked about? And then, you know, mentors? Have you gotten, you know, involved in any mentorship programs?
Meghan Braley 44:29
Yeah. So I’m actually part of an accelerator program called the new chip. It’s actually I don’t, are you familiar with it? I’ve, I had never really heard of it. It’s relatively new, but it’s all virtual, which is great. So there’s no kind of shipping off to Y Combinator and California or anything like that. And that has been an invaluable resource in terms of, you know, kind of just thinking through some business problems. Do you have a mentor the you know, pitch tech reviews, invest, access to investors, things like that. And then on the non kind of accelerator side, like in Boston, there’s the startup coalition, which is fantastic. And then I fund women, which is a crowdfunding platform for women founded businesses. And the capital network. So there’s a whole no matter where you are, or where you’re located. There’s always like a huge startup community that you can tap into for sure.
Andy Halko 45:36
Yeah, I agree.
Tony Zayas 45:41
So what what how do you see the whole space that you’re working in meghan evolving and changing here in the next couple of years, and, and how to scoot route fit into that?
Meghan Braley 45:54
Yep. So I think kind of what I was mentioning before in terms of city regulations, and infrastructure. I think a lot of that is really going to drive the user behavior of micro mobility riders. And the goal then would be for scoot route to be able to kind of take all of that information and provide a very easy way for users to kind of digest that information, and then provide them a route that they don’t really have to think about. So my goal is to be kind of like the one stop shop for everything like micromobility, routing, and regulatory basically.
Tony Zayas 46:39
But that has to be cities.
Andy Halko 46:42
How do you see the competitive landscape? You know, I know that Google Maps releases new features, and they’ve got a new walking feature. Obviously, you mentioned ways, for your app, how did you look at previous to lead a building and going into the future? The competitive landscape of, you know, just kind of, I guess I call it mobility solutions in general.
Meghan Braley 47:06
Yeah. So I mean, right now, I mean, it’s a huge white space. So there’s no one who’s really doing what we’re doing specifically for micromobility. Obviously, Google in ways, um, they could potentially get into that space. However, that’s why we wanted to get our patent application out there. And then, so that’s kind of like one competitive, you know, one competitor set of competitors that we are keeping our eye on. And then really the only other ones out there would be someone like a leimer bird where they have a mapping, they have mapping in their app, however, that has nothing to do with navigation. It’s more just where are their scooters located so that they, you know, a rider can then go and find it. But it is something that, you know, obviously, we want I want to become before anyone does anything more with their mapping solutions, I want to be like the household name, kind of like ways was before Google scooped them up. So as long as we can become the household name, scoot route is the the mapping technology that micromobility trusts I’m happy.
Andy Halko 48:25
You mentioned household name, we always like be hag big, hairy, audacious goal. Is there something very audacious goal in your head of like, you know, this is what we’d like to be or achieve in the next year or two.
Meghan Braley 48:38
Yeah, and I think my big goal is like, I want to be the ways of micro mobility, right? That I want to be anyone who’s getting on and micro mobility device. I want them to immediately open up scoot route and use it.
Andy Halko 48:54
Yeah, it’s great. It’s very cool. So I typically have a question, you know, that I asked towards the end of these shows, you know more about the future and opening it up just because we’re dealing with folks that I think are tapped into unique technologies and ideas. And so I’m interested in over the next 10 years. Is there a technology or an innovative change in the way that we do things that you’re really excited about or interested in? You know, whether it’s artificial intelligence or you know, any of these really bleeding edge technologies that are kind of coming to light right now?
Meghan Braley 49:39
Yeah, I think that really anything like when we talk about like the Internet of things like I love and I get excited about the way that different hardwares are talking to each other for from different providers, right. So like if you think about anyone on a scooter that you can also then have a smart helmet that was been developed by someone else. Um, I think that’s cool. Or there’s other kind of companies out there where you know, you have a device on your, it’s on your phone or whatever it is where, you know, if someone’s coming, like, from behind you or there’s like a car within your peripheral vision or that may be causing maybe risky for you, right. So I think what I get excited about is not just only like the advances in each of the hardware items, or the tech or the software, you know, pieces, but how they all interact together, because that’s when I think that it’s gonna be like a really cool kind of system.
Andy Halko 50:46
Yeah, that’s really neat. I could totally I started picturing in my head helmet that’s connected to your app. And you know, if someone’s getting too close, the, you know, color
Meghan Braley 50:57
setting like my app is red. You know, like, I love it, that one of the biggest barriers for people in micromobility, right, is that safety factor, like they need to feel safe in order to get on a device. So there’s so many things out there that if we can, if they can all talk together, and it’s kind of like a cohesive solution. It’s pretty, it’ll be fantastic.
Andy Halko 51:19
Yeah, that’s really cool.
Tony Zayas 51:21
That’s great. Well, where can we learn more about scoot route Meghan? Oh, I’m
Meghan Braley 51:26
all over the place. So you can visit scoot route dot com and we’re on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even on our website, at the bottom, there’s an email address, to be honest, I think, either info or support. I can’t remember at scoot route dot com, but it’s there. And, you know, we are small enough at this point that we always respond. So if anyone has any feedback or anything like that, we were always happy to hear it and to hear from our users.
Tony Zayas 51:56
That’s fantastic. We want to thank you for joining really cool stuff you have going on. We wish you
Meghan Braley 52:05
great, thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate and love being here.
Tony Zayas 52:11
Awesome. Well, thanks everybody. We will see you next time. And once again, Meghan Braley from scoot route. Thank you so much. Thanks. Take care, everybody.