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Roll2Go: Surfing the Micro-Mobility Wave

A new approach to journey planning.

Roll2Go is a start-up that is trying to offer a new way of navigating urban spaces by integrating the shared micro-mobility landscape. But how do you offer something that sets you apart from conventional navigation apps? That is exactly what they came to Unicorn Labs for and here is how that played out.

Spotting the Wave

The three mobility crazed co-founders of Roll2Go, who love to skate, surf and propel us to the next era of shared micro-mobility, came to us for help when they were trying to tackle the consumer end of their business. Their idea? Quite simple actually, but in its simplicity lies the beauty. With the advent of shared micro-mobility devices such as e-scooters, e-bikes and just plain old bikes, users found themselves overwhelmed by all the supply and apps necessary to access these devices. So what’s the goal? To give the consumer one app to rule them… (I bet the LOTR fans out there appreciated that one).

That was the main gist of what they were trying to accomplish, an app that shows you all operators and their devices in your vicinity and then proposes the best route depending on what means of transport you are planning to use. They had already developed the routing algorithm during their PhDs and were looking for innovative ways to package it. Creating just another Google Maps or similar didn’t seem like it was going to generate the interest they hoped for, besides why should you download another Google Maps?? So what USP could really add a spicy little something to people’s commuting lives? Having exhausted their creative resources, they reached out to us and we put together another one of our kick-ass UL teams to think up and build something unanticipated.

Letting the Ideas Flow

We began as all our MVP breedings begin: with a Design Thinking workshop. On a Friday we sat together with the three co-founders of Roll2Go and our talented team of breeders to kickstart our weekend. We began by having the start-up explain their challenge and talk to us about their developments and aspirations. Once the foundation was set, we could begin brainstorming ideas around how we could leverage their existing technology to create a unique product or service, yet to be seen in that form. Ideas ranged from hazard avoidance to gamified experiences. By the end we had determined different aspects and features that would offer a new and hopefully enhanced experience to users. Having pinpointed the main idea we wanted to focus on over the course of the weekend, we established a rough sketch of the user flow, just in time to make our dinner reservation ;)

The Wizards at Work

With the game plan set, it was time to get to work and make the magic happen. The diverse team with primarily a background in engineering decided to start light by creating some wireframes and mockups of the designs of the different app screens. By lunch, the designs were done and the first screens were implemented in React Native, our preferred framework when it comes to making apps. Once the screens of the app were in place we moved on to the main challenge we decided to focus most of our attention on, which was offering journey planning around city landmarks based on shared micro-mobility and public transport. Have an hour to kill between meetings in another city? Use the app to get a tailored tour of the main sites! To do this we leveraged the already existing technology of the start-up, the routing algorithm and the integration of micro-mobility databases. Through their API we managed to give users optimised route based on their needs and developed a backend for user profiles and journey information using python and flask to make an API running on an AWS instance. Working through Saturday and Sunday, only taking the occasional break to dine at some of Zurich’s finest food joints (one of the perks of being a breeder), the MVP was built and ready to ship.

Where is the Champagne?

Sunday 7PM we invited the team of co-founders back to our office, ready to deliver the fruits of our weekend long labour. We presented a brief résumé of the learnings from our workshop, challenges we faced in the implementation, and future directions we believe look promising. Finally culminating in a demo of the app we managed to put together in the brief time we had. The result? A start-up so happy they even brought champagne to celebrate! Big congrats to the Unicorn Labs team of breeders and we wish Roll2Go all the best with their next steps!

(We’ll keep an eye out for you 👀)

Inspired? If you too have an idea and wish to get a prototype, get in touch with us under info@unicorn-labs.ch!

If you'd like to read more about similar projects, check out this Breeding for kids' experiences at museums or automating the gastronomy business.

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