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5 minutes with…Tom Kirschbaum, Co-Founder and COO, Door2Door.

Posted by Luke Upton on Nov 25, 2016

Tom Kirschbaum, Co-Founder and COO, Door2Door speaking to SmartRail World. "...timetables, bus stops and fixed routes will be ancient history in 2025."

In an industry increasingly full of new entrants and fresh ideas, Berlin-based urban mobility start-up Door2Door is particularly eye-catching. Yes, they have an app, but that’s only a part of what they do, their range products range from city analytics and tracking solutions to an on-demand transport service, the allygator shuttle. Their goal is to personalize city transport and “make every journey effortless”. And their ally mobility app was voted Highly Commended by the judging panel at the recent 2016 SmartTransit Innovation Awards. 

To find out more, our Editor Luke Upton this week spoke to Tom Kirschbaum, Door2Door's Co-Founder and COO, who has come into transport innovation from a background in corporate law and banking. As an exciting start-up in one of the most creative cities in the world, Tom is in charge of all day to day business operations but also has a focus on ensuring the team are able to flourish and grow. Luke and Tom talked career changes, opportunities, autonomous journeys and of course his favourite rail journey…

Luke Upton (LU): Thanks for the time today, you have a background in corporate law and banking, how did you get into working with mobility solutions?

Tom Kirschbaum (TK): I left my career in banking to found a start-up that concentrated on electric mobility almost 10 years ago. Since this first initiative, I have been active in this field. After many ideas, some failures, and enough successes my co-founder Maxim Nohroudi and I have arrived where we are now with door2door ( @door2doorHQ )  

LU: What do you like most about your job?

TK:  I love being in an industry that is about to be turned upside-down. For nearly a century, there have been no revolutionary advances in public transit. This is about to radically change. New travel behaviours and many technological advances will impact how we move around the city. I love working with a passionate team that shares our vision and mission. And I love to wake up knowing that every day will bring new challenges.

LU: What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

TK: Prioritizing - there are endless opportunities and endless questions. One really has to keep a clear oversight of himself and communicate these plans to others around him. Without this oversight and vision, you can very easily get distracted by the many great opportunities that arise in the wonderfully diverse and unique Berlin start-up scene.

LU: What will be some of the biggest differences between public transport now and in 10 years’ time?

TK: There will be a switch from supply-based to demand-driven transit systems: timetables, bus stops and fixed routes will be ancient history in 2025. The sharing economy and the shift away from car ownership have already made a significant difference. We believe that this impact will be even more significant with the coming of the autonomous vehicle. This will significantly impact public transport operators who will be able to cut budgets. By implementing demand responsive transit systems, such as our allygator shuttle, operators will be able to meet demand when and where it arises.

LU: Aside from door2door, what’s your favourite transport innovation and why?

TK: Autonomous driving will have a huge impact. This technology will come close to reinventing mobility. Autonomous vehicles will be much safer and smarter than human drivers. Car accidents could be reduced by nearly 90% and almost 50 minutes could be freed up every day for commuters that currently drive.

LU: And finally…what’s your favourite rail journey?

TK ( @tomkirschbaum ) : The track along the River Rhine in South-West Germany is very beautiful. The most intense rail experience I had was in India though, with roughly a couple of hundred co-passengers in and on top of the carriage.

LU: Great. thanks very much Tom. We look forward to following the growth of the business as we move into 2017. 


5 minutes with… You? Each Friday the team here at SmartRail World brings you a new 5 minutes with... interview. This fun, fast-paced feature will help you get to know more about personalities across the industry, their ideas and experiences and of course their own favourite rail journey! Want to take part? Email: sarah.wright@globaltransportforum.com to find out more.

The last 5 minutes with...  David Klein, North American Manager, Moovit

Next week's 5 minutes with... Sayeh Ghanbari, Partner, EY

Read the Rail and Metro Innovation Guide 2017

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Luke Upton

Written by Luke Upton


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