Problem: You and your friends are fed up with Uber and Lyft. Aside from the mystery mints and questionable business ethics, begging your former JV wrestling coach turned Uber driver to squeeze in a couple extra people sucks, but ordering 3 Priuses for 7 people is downright tragic.
Secret: There is no need to squeeze or split up the group.
All aboard Swoop.
If you haven’t heard by now, Swoop is a group transportation app that gives members access to Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, on-demand. Also…every Swoop driver is professionally screened, trained, and required to provide their top five favorite bands of all time. Think of your driver as more of a Swoop Captain.
With every big idea, there is a story behind it. Our story is simple and sweet.
Swoop was born in a friend group similar to yours. Every weekend, a bunch of us knuckleheads would get together and find any reason to celebrate. We would crowd up someone’s overpriced apartment and chat about the past week and discuss plans for the night. It took at least two of our ten friends to step up to the plate and order multiple Ubers or Lyfts in order for all of us to get wherever we wanted to go. This dilemma created a frustrating bridge in the flow of fun.
One night while crossing that bridge, one of us asked, “What if there was an app we could use to keep the group together and the party going?” We were excited about this idea for a few hours and then it disappeared into the night like so many other pipe dreams.
About a year ago our group was celebrating a friend’s wedding. Libations were enjoyed and tuxedo pants were torn — it was a stone cold groove. Upon leaving the wedding, talks of the afterparty arose. Almost on cue, a random uncle majestically strode through in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van — by himself. He opened the door and about 10 people piled in with room to spare. Right then and there we recalled our dream of keeping the group together and we knew Sprinter Vans were the way to go. We yapped away all night and hit the ground running the following week.
That night, the idea of Swoop was consummated.
Fact: We are still trying to figure out who that “uncle” is actually related to.
Fast-forward a couple of months.
The Swoop team is trapped (consensually) inside the backroom of a garage, formulating the platform to launch our beta app on. We eventually created the most primitive app this side of the Mississippi, brought the idea to a limousine affiliate, slapped Swoop stickers on their Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, and launched this crazy idea. Well, sorta.
Fact: The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been the inspiration behind Swoop’s entire existence. Swoops come equipped with spacious seating, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, TVs, and a partition (literally a wall between you and the captain).
Fact: Swoop is cheaper than an Uber SUV
In the beginning, everyone on the Swoop team took turns driving each weekend. Fulfilling on-demand and advanced requests was a wild goose chase. From app malfunctions to user confusion, there were more than a few bumps in the road. However, once users got in their first Swoop, it was easy for them to see the inherent value.
Getting people inside the vans became our main agenda. Fortunately for us, people were coming back and using the app. Despite its UX and questionable Google API recognition, the app brought you a car. Humans are social organisms. Animals, who for the most part, like to be together, and sometimes even talk to each other. People told people about Swoop. With users’ interest on the rise, the team lasered in on the Swoop experience, growth opportunities, and chaos control.
Looking forward, we put user experience on a pedestal and began tracking possibilities to elevate “good time emotions” even more. The amount of trips completed throughout the week were mostly all on Friday and Saturday night. The dance-all-night groups went with Swoop like bread and butter but we knew there were many more fixin’s we needed to put on our plate in order to make our product successful.
Let’s pump the brakes for a second.
As a team we knew we needed to capture more of the market. We felt the possibilities of Swoop weren’t fully being accessed by our current user base. We set out to enlighten users on daytime ride scenarios and highlight our benefits over an Uber SUV.
One of our first daytime requests ended up being a solo surfer and his nine-foot surfboard. That’s it. He said ordering a Swoop was the only way he could get him and his board to the beach (we didn’t argue with him). This was a bit of a curveball for us, but we went with it. This user was ahead of his time, a true transportation wizard that we haven’t seen the likes of since.
The daytime Swoop scene was beginning to experience a lot of variety. Other than Gandalf and his surfboard, one thing stayed consistent – GROUPS OF FRIENDS.
Whether it was a trip to brunch with the girls, an offsite work meeting, a sporting event, or a Migos show – Swoop was just a fun and new way to get there together.
Fact: You are legally allowed to consume alcohol while riding in a Swoop if you are of legal age.
Let’s speed up to the present.
As of date, Swoop has launched partnerships with Malibu Wines, Airbnb, and Atlantic Records. You may also catch some celebs using Swoop as their preferred fun-ship… but we’re not here to flex names.
(Swoop Celebrity Wishlist: Emilio Estevez, Ricky Martin, Macaulay Culkin, Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Timberlake, Larry David)
Swoop has drafted a few more players to the team and we’re training every day in hopes of making it to the big leagues. While plenty of work needs to be done, we strongly believe we are on our way to cooking up a platform for group transportation that can’t be missed.
Tread lightly, Swoopers.
Also published on Medium.