Pingo: Dutch innovation for EV rides in Houston
In 2017, Alex Wallar — then a PhD student at MIT — helped author a study that showed it was possible to serve 98% of taxi demand in New York City with approximately one-fifth of the cabs roaming around the city. All it would take, the study found, was more shared rides and a smarter algorithm to tie it all together. In covering the study, CNN hailed it as a “striking example of the potential around ridesharing.”
A year later, Wallar left academia to found The Routing Company (previously Routable AI) with Menno van der Zee, a fellow expert on mathematical optimization in The Netherlands. In 2020, James Cox, who helped launch Uber Pool globally, came on as The Routing Company’s CEO, and Bradford Church, one of the minds behind Uber Bus, joined shortly thereafter as the company’s first director of product.
Today, four years after that seminal MIT study was published, three years after The Routing Company was founded, and only a matter of months after raising $5 million in seed funding from The Engine, Wallar, van der Zee, Cox and Church are excited to bring their MIT-inspired technology to market with the launch of TRC’s first shared rides pilot in Houston, Texas — under the consumer brand Pingo.
The launch of the Pingo pilot comes after three weeks of beta testing in Houston. During that time, hundreds of rides took place using the Pingo app, with an average wait time of under 5 minutes. We’re eager to have a real-world, rubber-hits-the-road demonstration of how our matching technology and a top-caliber team can help power the future of public transit.