Success in the fast lane: How goUrban uses SMS to deliver on mobility solutions worldwide

Users having a conversation


new SMS user registrations/month in summer 2020

Clock 1


user authentication time, reduced from 2 minutes

goUrban began their work in their customer’s shoes.

...Or rather, in their customer’s seat. The company started out renting mopeds to Vienna users, but soon realized the third-party software they were using to run their shared mobility business could be created more efficiently in-house. From there, they began developing and testing their own transportation sharing software on their own fleet.

“Multiple mobility companies were facing similar issues at the same time: namely the software, the operations communication methods, and the hardware. So we began to specialize purely on the software level to actively license it out to a variety of providers, mobility providers, operators in Europe and beyond,” said Nicholas Kirk, head of business development.

To goUrban, their customer is everyone from the business who uses their technology to manage a fleet of vehicles to the person who actually rides and drives them. With that flexible mindset, it’s no wonder they’ve expanded their roadmap to three different continents and counting.

Roadblocks along the way

With a growing global customer base that included massive corporations to state municipalities to the individual consumer, goUrban had to be thoughtful about how quickly they scaled their software as well as confirming the reliability of their platform as they reached new cities and new consumers. This meant overcoming previous arduous aspects of rideshare software with seamless, easy-to-use, secure technology.

“For us, customer experience is really important. When we started out, there were already two other scooter sharings in Vienna, and spoiler alert, they don’t exist anymore,” said goUrban Solutions Engineer Christoph Filnkößl. “With those other scooter sharing platforms, it was really difficult to get an account. You would have to register through the app and send in your driving license as a PDF to some email address. It then took up to 48 hours to actually be allowed to drive.”

From a consumer perspective, instant ease of use was obviously important. From a business perspective, letting businesses provide that smooth experience to their own customers was integral to success as well.

But it wasn’t just the slow verification times and finicky software goUrban updated. They implemented better hardware, removing unnecessary steps for their consumer and making all aspects of their platform keyless. And, given people would be operating or riding in a moving vehicle, they had to ensure safety and security was top-notch.

A key component of all of these improvements? Communication. goUrban looked to Twilio for support there.

Easy street

Programmable messaging was the answer to the ease of use, simplicity, verification, and quality customer experience for goUrban’s customers.

And for Filnkößl, the company’s first programmer and developer who handled launching the platform’s backend, Twilio was the top choice to provide that solution.

“When I was researching who to use for standard SMS, I didn’t really look for any other options because I knew about Twilio. We needed something that was well-priced, reliable, could be used internationally without having to switch platforms, and that we could count on to work consistently. And that’s why we use Twilio,” said Filnkößl.

“We needed something that was well-priced, reliable, could be used internationally without having to switch platforms, and that we could count on to work consistently. And that’s why we use Twilio.”

Christoph Filnkößl Solutions Engineer

Putting the wheels in motion

goUrban uses the Twilio Programmable Messaging API in a variety of ways, most notably as a method of sending notifications and alerts to their users.

For example, a user can receive a notification reminder that they’ve left their vehicle parked for a long time and it’s still charging the user’s account. goUrban’s use of SMS alerts help create a positive customer experience when it comes to vehicle sharing, as opposed to sending marketing material by text or unnecessary push notifications.

The team continues to innovate with messaging to provide a seamless experience for their users. “We also recently built a new feature called ‘Radars’. A user can set a radar for his current location for the upcoming hour, and then he gets a notification or SMS when the scooter is available in that area,” Filnkößl elaborated.

Beyond notification and alert messages, goUrban also uses SMS to help users sign up and sign in as well as a means of verification for new users and using that information to continue validating the identity of an existing customer.

“Using SMS is a key aspect to our success. Having people sign up via SMS is helpful for security, because you can avoid people creating multiple accounts as getting a phone number is much more difficult to replicate than just opening a new email account. It’s also easy to use and people don’t have to remember a password,” Filnkößl said.

The road ahead

As goUrban continues to grow its global footprint, they’re also expanding their value to other areas beyond transportation. Most recently, they’ve explored using Twilio technology to scale their services for both gig economy workers as well as corporate company sharing.

“We have a partner who is using our platform to provide mopeds for gig economy workers who use our mopeds for the day to make their deliveries and then return them. We also have been exploring corporate sharing, so companies who don’t necessarily want to provide this service to the public, but want to have this just internally for the benefit of their own employees,” Kirk said.

One thing is for certain; from their humble beginning in Vienna, to their most recent endeavors in the Middle East, goUrban’s mobility sharing platform is here for the extra mile—and Twilio will be there to support it.

“We need reliability over all else. We’ve found that with Twilio,” Kirk said.

Ready to get started with Twilio?