Aber student fuels his future with fare splitting petrol app
A young entrepreneur studying in Aberystwyth has designed a fare splitting app that solves the problem of dividing petrol costs between friends when one person is the ‘designated driver’.
Friendfare, the brainchild of Jack Thomson, 21, calculates the amount of petrol spent per journey based on car type and distance, making it easy for lift-sharing friends to fairly split the cost between them.
The software engineering student at Aberystwyth University came up with the idea with his cousin Tom and friend Rob after spending long journeys travelling to various mountain bike locations around Wales. Following their trips they were inevitably faced with the task of working out how much the designated driver was owed.
Applying his knowledge of software design to solving this common problem, Jack spent several months designing and perfecting FriendFare. And his efforts are now bearing fruit.
Jack said: “I hope Friendfare will be a handy solution to the common conundrum of when friends are trying to work out how much they owe each other in petrol costs. It's gone through several prototype satges and been heavily influenced by user feedback to ensure it's easy and functional to use''
Jack is already thinking of ways to develop the FriendFare concept further still, in order to help facilitate solutions to other problematic day-to-day finance issues, such as bill splitting at a restaurant.
And crucially Jack is also developing mobile payment functionality within the app’s range of services, so FriendFare can become a full service mobile application.
Jack continued: “I believe there are real opportunities to branch out beyond lift sharing and now I am comfortable with building and developing the app, I’m actively looking for ways to continue expanding and evolving Friendfare’s offering.”
Tony Orme, careers consultant at Aberystwyth University said: “Jack is a fantastic example of a student applying entrepreneurial thinking to their studies to start their own business. At Aberystwyth we encourage all our students to act upon their entrepreneurial flair to enhance their own experience at university and increase their employability when they graduate. We’re looking forward to seeing Jack’s app launch soon and wish him every success in the future.”
Jack credits Big Ideas Wales with supporting his entrepreneurial ambitions, in particular his business advisor Sam Allen. Jack first heard about Big Ideas Wales through his university Entrepreneurship Society and soon after had his first meeting with Sam.
Sam was able to offer Jack advice on how to develop his business, as well as advising him about upcoming events hosted by Big Ideas Wales that could benefit him, including the annual ‘Bootcamp to Business’ event in Margam Discovery Centre.
The three-day residential workshop in November last year played host to fifty young entrepreneurs with the aim of equipping them with the essential skills they need to help get their business ready and grow their network of connections. It was here that Jack received advice from Big Ideas Wales mentors about his business plan, as well as meeting other likeminded young entrepreneurs.
Jack said: “Bootcamp was amazing. I left feeling so inspired and found myself constantly thinking of new business ideas. I’d encourage anyone with even the start of a business idea to think about attending the next Bootcamp event, as it will give you the information and tools you need to get it off the ground.”
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