Why drive alone when you can share costs, be in good company and limit the environmental impact of your travel?
Chiropractors by day, app developers by necessity, Marie Brunsart and Cory Palmer launched the car sharing app Link in 2019 with the aim of connecting car travellers while restoring riparian growth.
Kansas born Cory and French national Marie met at the New Zealand Chiropractic College. While studying in Auckland they regularly drove across the city to surf the west coast waves. It was this repeated journey that inspired the couple to connect with surfers looking for a cheaper, more sustainable way to find waves.
Marie had been a long-time user of the popular European rideshare app, blablacar and was surprised by the lack of affordable public transport options and the number of single occupant motorists clogging the roads in Aotearoa.
All these factors combined evolved into their dream to create Link, a car sharing app that would connect travellers and offset carbon emissions by planting trees.
After graduating they moved to Taranaki and both joined the team at Greg Miles Chiropractic. With entrepreneurial ambitions aflame the young couple secured start-up funds with the support of their bosses.
Alongside app designers, Muli Mobile they spend six months creating an easy and simple to use interface. They engaged Sustainable Coastlines, a charity that plants trees along coastlines and rivers to protect the marine environment. Ten percent of every transaction through the Link app is donated to the charity.
The app itself is simple, users either ‘hitch’ or ‘drive’. As a hitcher you can find a ride by scrolling the list of destinations offered by drivers. Or you can ‘Pitch a Hitch’ offer a price you are willing to pay to hitch along. Drivers can offer rides or ‘go fish’ for a passenger by scrolling the list of hitchers seeking transport.
Like any other social media platform, reputation is everything and the user rankings are essential to help others make choices about who they travel with. Link has features that help you to connect with those with common interests — which is useful if you’re going to spend many hours travelling together.
Now Link is up and running the couple are focussed on building the user base and they encourage people to download Link and give it a go. Marie says the experience of building Link has been rewarding and urges other young people to take risks on their dreams.
“Be aware that we can be the actors of change rather than just be spectators and expect governments to solve all the issues. We hope that the story of Link can inspire other young people to do the same and not be scared of starting a project that is close to their hearts.”
Link can be downloaded in App Store or Google Play. Visit www.linkcarsharing.com for more information.