4 min

The story of the start-up Ynstant, an instant carpooling app

Today, 86% of French households own at least one car. Although experts and public authorities are innovating to find alternatives to this means of transport, which alone accounts for 80% of transport-related greenhouse gases, the car remains indispensable for some. Areas with very little public transportation leave residents no choice but to use their car… However, out of every 1000 drivers, only 1 carpool… So how can we maximize or even “make profitable” these trips that are too often made alone? It seems that Ynstant has found the solution…

A start on the school benches

It all begins in September 2021. Lancelot Salomon, at the time a student at HEC, is only 23 years old.  With a pronounced attraction for entrepreneurship, Lancelot quickly joined various entrepreneurial projects within his school… But he decided to go further by creating and developing his own idea. It is thanks to his personal experience that the project emerges in him. Indeed, originally from Voiron, Lancelot has not always lived in a big city where the transport offer is very wide. And like many people, he has frequently found himself faced with a lack of supply to get around. This phenomenon intensified when he joined the prestigious HEC business school, located in the Yvelines region of Île-de-France. Difficult to reach by public transport, he and his fellow students were faced with a major challenge: mobility.

It is from this problem that Ynstant was born. Lancelot wanted to make it easier for his fellow students to move around instantly. Soon after, to make his idea a reality, he joined forces with his friend, Théophile Adénot, a student at the Ecole Polytechnique. Lancelot explains “we had all the pieces of the puzzle in place, so we could offer carpooling in a simple and very fast way for everyday trips”…

An innovative concept which did not seduce immediately…

Lancelot describes Ynstant as “a simple and flexible carpooling application that allows users to travel instantly for everyday trips.” What differentiates it from all the other carpooling players, “is that it is focused on the driver experience. In reality, it is not the driver who pays, but it is the driver who is more difficult to solicit. They are a real challenge for us.” After nearly 10 months of hard work, the Ynstant application was officially launched on the HEC campus on March 1, 2022. The excitement and stress are there for the two co-founders, who hope to seduce the largest number of students. 800 registrations in 5 days! But unfortunately, no carpooling was done in the first days.

Doubt, uncertainty and questioning of the project then set in, but Lancelot and Théophile wanted to believe… Lancelot admits, “Looking back, I think we overestimated the excitement of the students for the launch of this project. A few days pass and little by little users post and then book rides… There are ten, then fifteen, then twenty, until they reach three hundred carpools at the end of the month. The machine is launched! They even surpassed the figures of similar applications such as Klaxit or Karos on the HEC campus.

Simple and efficient operation

The founders of Ynstant want to break the idea that carpooling is a trip that you have to plan well in advance, as you would when going on vacation. To do this, they understand that it is necessary to change the codes of carpooling… Contrary to what one might think, BlaBlaCar is not considered as one of their competitors. Indeed, Lancelot explains “today, our main competitor is not BlaBlaCar… Our competitors are the drivers who drive alone in their cars…

The idea is not to attract a BlaBlaCar driver because most of the time, he makes long trips… The goal is to encourage drivers who drive alone to use our platform.” We need to make it a habit, mixing friendliness and freedom to reach new drivers and passengers. That’s why we had to develop an application that was as simple as it was fast in terms of use. A challenge amply met!

The application has several interfaces. The first one is dedicated to drivers. Without effort, they register, then indicate their route, all in only 3 steps. Then, they have until the departure to accept a passenger and have no detour to make during their journey. Their leitmotiv: freedom. For the passengers, it’s just as simple. They create alerts to be notified of carpools similar to their requests. Then, all they have to do is reserve their place. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

What future for Ynstant?

The start of the school year marks the beginning of new objectives for Ynstant, which wishes to enter a growth phase. And to maximize its chances of success, the team is expanding and moving into the Urban Lab incubator in Paris. In the longer term, the team hopes to integrate with mobility applications that people use on a daily basis. Among them, Citymapper, Google Maps… But also in MaaS applications such as Bonjour RATP or IDF Mobilités. “The stakes would be high if we could connect to these types of applications. Indeed, passengers who use these solutions are looking for a way to get around in the next few minutes. And in fact, that’s exactly what we offer.” An obvious ambition that goes even beyond France. “In a few years, our goal is to integrate our technology into MaaS applications in major European cities.”