By: Martin Cash
Rod Bruinooge is back where he began.
Before he won the federal Winnipeg South riding for the Tories in 2006, Bruinooge had scored a surprising success with the Internet mystery game called The Stone, where users had to solve puzzles with the hopes of eventually unlocking an enigma.
This time, they have chosen another enigma to crack using digital technologies — organized ride-sharing to major sporting and concert events.
Called EventRide, the app uses proximity software and major event data feeds to allow drivers and riders to link up for cheaper and easier access to sporting events and concerts, and with reduced use of fossil fuels.
“We believe it is a pretty big deal,” Bruinooge said. “We think it’s something that will change the way sports fans get to games.”
The technology platform allows fans to be either rider or driver depending on whether they want to leave the car at home or be the ride provider.
The concept is scalable in that it can be used across North America, where the users’ location will filter the specific events in that region and find the closest drivers and riders.
Payment — or non-payment — can be negotiated each time and Bruinooge’s company takes a small commission as a percentage of the fee.
The app is being touted as a green enterprise as its usage will encourage reduced use of cars and therefore less greenhouse gas production.
Bruinooge’s company, Proximity Mobile, has partnered with a Toronto company, Carbonzero, that will co-ordinate the greenhouse-gas reduction component and applications for issuance of carbon offsets.
“For every car left at home, there is carbon offset created,” said Bruinooge. “Carbonzero will quantify all the carbon offsets and they will be supplied back to the teams that want to take part in our partnership program.”
Marshall Ring, the CEO of the Manitoba Technology Accelerator (MTA), which Proximity Mobile has chosen to help grow the business, said he thinks it’s a compelling proposition for sports teams across North America.
“Here is an app that can provide a better experience for the fans, reduce congestion, help the environment and save people money,” Ring said. “There’s lots of good things associated with the app.”
Ring said the MTA avoids business-to-consumer apps that present difficult marketing challenges to get people to download and use the app.
He believes Proximity Mobile has a good strategy, including partnerships with teams that will encourage their fans to use the app.
“What appealed to me about Proximity Mobile’s offering is that it is a business-to-business play largely in that we get to go through the distribution channels of our sports team partners,” Ring said. “It will work to our favour to get those distribution channels going.”
Bruinooge said he will announce partnerships in the weeks to come.
The launch of the app takes place Wednesday at the Clay Oven at Shaw Park, home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes.