DU Students Create New Ride-sharing App
Wanderlift Helps Skiers and Boarders Get to the Mountains
If you need to find the fastest route for your drive, there’s an app for that. If you need to get a ride to and from your house for a night out, there’s an app for that. If you need a ride to your favorite ski resort, there’s now an app for that, too.
Say hello to Wanderlift. “It is ride sharing for adventure lovers, and we started this because we needed a ride to the mountains,” says Meredith Gee, co-founder of the app and a sophomore at the University of Denver. Gee and sophomore Sam Schooler came up with the idea as first-year students when they didn’t have a car.
They’ve spent the last nine months developing their idea and expanding their team. Last fall juniors Daniel Farrell and Lucio Franco came on board and helped launch the latest app and expand their efforts to the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Wanderlift works like most ride-sharing apps. You log in, complete a profile, either find a ride going to a ski resort or request a ride somewhere else, and then let the driver know your pickup location. You can also sign up to be a driver and post your own trips or find someone looking for a ride. Riders pay through the app using their credit card, but soon they also will be able to use Venmo.
While the primary mission is to get people to the mountains who don’t have a ride, the creators recognize that Wanderlift offers an added benefit.
“We actually found that most cars have two to three empty seats in them,” Gee says. “There’s a huge opportunity to get more people in fewer vehicles and have a much more sustainable option for these long trips that everyone is already taking.”
Schooler agrees: “Being able to camouflage sustainability and say, ‘You are not driving your car and instead you are making friends in someone else’s car,’ it makes it so much more desirable to people.”
Wanderlift credits the University of Denver for bringing their diverse team together and making this project possible. Schooler and Franco are computer science majors, while Farrell is majoring in mechanical engineering, and Gee is an emergent digital practices major. They met through DU’s living and learning communities, and they are involved in the entrepreneurship club and Center for Sustainability. In addition, they have received classroom credit for creating Wanderlift.
“It definitely takes people around you, who support you, to produce something,” Schooler says. “Before coming to college, I would do everything by myself. I thought I could do things, like build a business, all by myself. But, by just adding one extra person, you double your productivity. Being able to have a support group around you is very helpful.”
For now, they are working to raise awareness and build a loyal base of users, but their goal is to expand along the Front Range.
“Wanderlift is a big commitment and takes a lot of motivation,” Gee says. “However, we all enjoy the work which make it all worth it.”