Uruguayans created a startup to "hitch-hike" virtually

Uruguayans created a startup to "hitch-hike" virtually

The entrepreneurial spark by Renzo Costanzo has been on since he was a child.

As he said in an interview with Coffee & Businessalways knew that he wanted to develop the solution for a problem and just over half a year ago he began to do so.

Both he and his uncle —and later partner—, Germán Mazzarino, identified a problem in the cost and comfort of long-distance journeys For this reason, they opted to develop a platform that would allow people to share vehicles and divide costs in this type of trip: viatik.

They started with a proposal that the young entrepreneur defined as idealistic, but shortly after they were able to go ashore thanks to the support of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) of the ORT University.

According to Costanzo, after he defined the problem he wanted to work on, he moved to the country’s capital and began studying systems engineering at this university. He then he agreed to the help of the aforementioned center, and also met who would become the third partner of the platform: Gonzalo Aszyn: “I told him that I had an idea to start a business because I thought he might be interested.”, pointed out the entrepreneur, who also suggested to his classmate that he learn to program so that he could help him develop the platform.

Aszyn began his programming apprenticeship, while Costanzo —together with his uncle—, presented the idea at the CIE. “When we were developing the minimum viable product, Gonzalo finished his programming course, so I told him about the idea —which he didn’t know yet—, he loved it and actually joined the team”, maintained the young entrepreneur.

Aszyn, for his part, and asked about what encouraged him to be part of this venture, said: “When I imagined my future, I didn’t imagine myself in a traditional job. When Renzo came up with this idea, the truth is that I was eager to start working on something, and the idea of ​​an office didn’t appeal to me that much for that reason. I told him that I wanted to join him”.

So he went to the CIE, and together with his partner they began to program the platform. Months later they launched Viatik; the platform that connects drivers with companions to share expenses on a long-distance journey that became a reality.

In fact, the differential of this platform is that the driver can save up to 80% of the tolls, and the companion can reach their destination for a price 40% cheaper than the bus ticket. Regarding the price of the trips, Costanzo explained that it is usually set by the driver, but that when publishing a trip on the platform, a price is recommended, which is what other users usually charge. “The user can change it a little because we understand that it is not the same to travel in a car that spends a lot or one that does not spend so much, but the leveling has a limit because The idea is not for the driver to earn money but to save“.

As an example of the prices, last Friday a trip from Montevideo to Punta del Este was around $210 and $220.

Viatik’s present

They launched the website on July 18, and have been in a non-stop process ever since: “Continue developing to improve the platform, disseminate it, a bit of everything”Costanzo stated.

And thanks to this, Viatik managed to grow both in the number of users and in the number of staff in a few months. According to the entrepreneurs in an interview with Coffee & Business, it started with a small user base that grew to about 3,000 in December, and 6,500 in January.

Viatik currently operates in Uruguay, and also allows people can share expenses in trips from our country to Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre and more.

As a consequence of this development, The work team in the venture expanded: the three partners started and today there are seven Viatik employees.

Referring to the growth process, the entrepreneurs also said that They had —and still have— obstacles, but they maintained that each day ends with new anecdotes and lessons that are more than useful for a lifetime.

“What one least imagines is the time you have to dedicate”affirmed Costanzo, who recalled that a few days ago, while they were on vacation with friends, they had made plans to go out, but they did not go out because they stayed until five in the morning working because they had to finish something.

“It’s like that constantly, so it’s very difficult to do it alone. In my case, Gonzalo’s support helped me a lot because my uncle lives in Salto, ”he said. “It helps a lot to be both in the same situation, and accompany each other throughout the journey”said, for his part, Aszyn.

The future of Viatik

“As often happens with startups at their inception, we won’t be profitable for a year or two, depending on how ambitious we are with growth“, affirmed Costanzo, who also explained that by the time they can make this profitable the business model will be based on a commission for each reservation, For example: if a person goes to Maldonado and the price of the driver is $200, through the app we charge $220.

In any case, that is the future of Viatik in the long term. Now, entrepreneurs are looking for venture capital to further scale the venture: “Let it be something more used, so that it can later be a profitable business,” according to the young entrepreneur.

By way of conclusion, Costanzo maintained that currently Viatik has a user base of 6,500, and they plan to have at least 10 times that number by the end of this year.

Safety in shared trips

Regarding the security that Viatik users have, Aszyn explained that when a driver registers on the platform, they must include both their information and that of their vehicle. In addition, he said that after each trip a form is sent to those who were part of it so that they can rate their experience and —in the case of those who traveled as companions—, the state of the car.

For his part, Costanzo said that Viatik is like a social network in which everyone creates their profile with an image and a description of who they are, and that can be seen by the other participants.

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