For our latest Episode on Optimism I spoke to Devin de Vries and Julian Hirst from the award WhereIsMyTransport. Founded in 2008 by Devin, WhereIsMyTransport is revolutionising the commutes for people who rely on informal transport networks. Unbelievably, about 4 billion people across the Majority World rely on these networks, with many commuting for more than 5 hours a day where public transport is unreliable, unscheduled and unregulated. Strategies that work in more developed environments, such as City Mapper do not work in these contexts where the infrastructure is limited.
So how would you even begin to try and solve a problem of this complexity and magnitude? Most of us would run a mile. But Devin set out to change this by providing data and tools for people, local governments and other institutions built from their on the ground research and mapping work. With operations in London and Cape Town so far they have mapped 39 cities across the planet. Their investors include Google who joined in a recent $7.5 million series A funding round.
I asked Devin and Julian about the inspiration behind starting WhereIsMyTransport and their views on optimism based on their perspective of having worked in so many countries. This is a great example of a Social Impact business founded, as Devin explains, before the term went mainstream. I hope you enjoy hearing about the genesis of a business genuinely trying to make a positive impact to billions of people across the world. This just oozes optimism…
20 May 2020