A new company which aims to generate billions of pounds of additional value from idle assets has launched in the UK.
Tomorrow’s Journey has developed a new digital platform called JRNY, which brings together asset owners with companies that have transport demand.
Any type of mobile asset can be listed on the platform, from agricultural equipment to cars although the initial focus is on automotive assets and the growing flexible mobility market.
Vehicle owners, ranging from businesses to fleets, local authorities, leasing companies and rental firms, will use the system to list their underutilised assets and make them available to a range of potential users.
The platform will operate on a business-to-business basis; the businesses then use vehicles to provide services to the public.
For example, the fleet of cars on the platform may provide an ideal resource for on demand services, such as car sharing or daily rental.
According to Tomorrow’s Journey founder and chief executive officer Chris Kirby, a key benefit of JRNY is its ability to make mobility scalable.
He said: “A challenge for mobility services is making them profitable whilst giving a cost benefit and convenience factor to consumers.
“Providers of services such as car sharing are rolling out similar services in the same location, leading to duplication, with several cars from different providers in the same location.
“JRNY enables assets to be pooled to provide a flexible and cost-effective way to meet demand, particularly as interest in car-sharing services grows.”
A recent example of the cost pressures being felt by car-sharing providers came this year when Daimler and BMW announced they were merging their mobility services businesses as they attempt to scale-up to meet future demand.
While the two companies will remain competitors in their respective core businesses, consumers will benefit from their greater combined reach and expansion, along with key customer service elements, such as a common platform for bookings and payments.
The move recognises two important criteria for driving the growth of mobility services.
Firstly, scale is a key factor in delivering profitable services and, secondly, customer experience will be critical in encouraging greater levels of use, particularly in removing any potential barriers.
Kirby said: “Consumers are increasingly demanding flexible access to vehicles, if the convenience is there and the price is right. We are helping to meet this challenge of convenience versus cost.
“We are making assets available to more people, so utilisation goes up and costs come down.”
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Analysis by Tomorrow’s Journey indicates that the potential market for its services in the UK alone is worth more than £2 billion.
The model can be used in any business sector where there are mobile assets and the Tomorrow’s Journey team is already in discussions with companies with assets ranging from cars and HGV trailers to airport ground handling equipment.
JRNY sits in the middle of the customer transaction, ensuring the right assets are presented to the correct customers, managing the hire process and processing payments.
Following seed investment earlier this year, Tomorrow’s Journey is now building a team for a pilot programme ahead of an industry launch later this year, which will include a presentation at the International Asset Finance Network Conference on September 13.
The founding team includes Matt Potts, chief technology officer, an experienced lead developer and technical architect, who has worked for several large corporations on major infrastructure projects.
The business is backed by a number of high-profile board advisors.
The chairman is David Betteley, who is a former global board member of Jaguar Land Rover and has also chaired the Finance and Leasing Association, ran General Motors’ financial services arm in the UK and Europe and worked as senior vice-president at Toyota Financial Services.
The company has two non-exec directors; Dr Ed White, who was this year inducted into the International Auto Finance Network Hall of Fame and has decades of experience in the finance industry, including as founder and group chairman of White Clarke Group; and Paul Bennett, an entrepreneur with more than 35 years commercial experience, who has worked across automotive, retail, financial services and data & systems for more than 25 years.
Betteley said: “This is not your average start-up, as a lot of progress has already been made.
“This provides an ideal solution to meeting market demands as people shift away from ownership. While subscription services are trying to meet that need, they are expensive. We have taken a unique approach to match underutilised assets to market demand that will support growth of the sharing economy.”
A series of pilot programmes are expected to launch in August, followed by the formal opening of the platform to customers early next year.
Kirby, former head of business development at FGA Capital, said: “Our intention is to help the flexible access market become more cost effective and make agreements between asset holders and customers quicker and more flexible.
“This allows the use of an asset to be much more varied, as it may move from a 30-day hire to a ‘by the hour’ arrangement, then to a day’s hire and back to a 30-day hire. The asset can adapt to the requirement at the time, which increases its value and utilisation.”