The idea for Wheeli – a carpooling app for students – came to co-founder Jean-Pierre Adechi (“J-P”) the way many entrepreneurs are inspired, through frustration. J-P was a Poly Sci student at Wesleyan College in Middleton, CT a small and rather remote town next to a dogleg bend in the Connecticut River about 30 miles south of Hartford. He was, like many of his classmates, looking for a way to get back to his native NYC on weekends and holidays. With two startups and exits under his belt, J-P’s instinct was to create a startup to solve his frustration.
To launch, J-P and co-founder Alexandre Ayache ’14SEAS looked for another universities where the student populations had similar mobility problems. Wheeli selected the University of Vermont to launch and built a platform to match students needing to travel to different places with students driving to different places. The first rides on the platform were picked up in 2016, most headed to Boston or Pennsylvania from Burlington, VT.
With more than 25% of the Vermont campus captured, Wheeli is now looking for their next destination. Along the road, Wheeli will stop by Techstars Detroit for a three-month stay at the accelerator’s Techstars Mobility hub. Follow the team on Instagram at WheeliOfficial!