By Holger Dielenberg
At 4.35am on Tuesday the 30th of October, Jaunt’s co-founder Dave Budge received an email from Amanda Thirsk, the Private Secretary to HRH The Duke of York – otherwise known as Prince Andrew, or “The Ideas Factory” as he likes to describe himself. Dave candidly admits, “to be honest, as an early stage startup our @jauntmotors inbox isn’t the busiest place, I’ve got maybe 400 emails total, so an international email is unusual, let alone one from Buckingham Palace!”
In short, Jaunt has made it into the finals for The Duke’s Pitch@Palace competition. Dave and fellow co-founder Marteen Burger have been invited to pitch Jaunt at Government House on the 20th of November in front of a room full of state and local government, investors and potential partners. The Duke will be there too!
So – who is Jaunt?!
Well, Jaunt is a new startup that creates beautiful electric vehicles for adventure. Recycling iconic four-wheel-drives and building simple to drive, silent and fun electric vehicles to explore Australia through community cashare.
We reckon some residents of Buckingham Palace will probably like the idea…
As Bob Lutz, former VP of General Motors points out, “The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve… and will soon by kissing the good times goodbye.” We are witnessing the end of a pioneering industrial era and the dawn of new mobility options that are cleaner, safer and cheaper.
For Australia this theme runs to the heart of our current of manufacturing malaise. But at Space Tank we like to think that industries are not dying, they are evolving. Aussie automotive departure makes room for startups with fresh ideas to sprout. A prime example is Jaunt.
Jaunt sees an exciting future in sustainable leisure mobility. Their carshare model will work with local communities to place vehicles in beautiful natural locations and prove that experience is more important than ownership and their mission is to minimise car ownership and help drive Australia toward zero emission transport. Building shared adventure vehicles that allow anyone to explore the world without costing the earth.
Jaunt is a very early stage startup coming through Space Tank’s Bench to Business training program for manufacturing startups funded by LaunchVic. Dave says, “We applied for Space Tank’s Bench to Business program as naive, wide-eyed, young (maybe not so young) entrepreneurs. Thinking we’d dive into the construction of a prototype electric vehicle and get it out there for testing within a couple of months. As anyone with experience might have been able to tell us, we were a little ambitious in our thinking. As co-founders we have backgrounds in creating digital products, but for the most part the only ingredient in those is time. And you have an ‘Undo’ button.”
One of the advantages of being a startup is that you can fail fast on your way to success. Dave recalls, “The conversations we’ve had with experienced designers and makers through Space Tank and Bench to Business have been invaluable in shaping a smarter and more sustainable approach. We’ve taken a step back and applied proper human centred design methodology not just to our product, but the very business model itself and we’re now on the road to secure investment, infrastructure and most importantly a market once we launch at scale.”
Jaunt will partner with rural and regional communities (local government, service organisations, environmental management groups, tourism associations and residents) to acquire vehicles for conversion, build infrastructure for charging and design travel experiences. Ultimately sharing profits and improving the understanding of the local natural environment.
Jaunt’s operations are built on five values:
Minimise Impact: Charging vehicles from green energy. Responsible use of unsealed roads and wilderness areas. Reducing waste and carbon emissions of manufacturing, up-cycling tools and equipment, minimising chemical and consumable use and sourcing local components where possible.
Maximise Delight: Creating beautiful and surprising experiences. Providing a supportive and balanced workplace.
Embrace Individuality: Vehicles sourced and built bespoke for each location. Diversity of backgrounds, age and gender create inherently better things. Champion non traditional roles in design and manufacturing.
Strive for Accessibility: Vehicles are as simple to use as possible. Removing mechanical complexity from classic vehicles, and technological barriers from modern EVs. Built for differing physical abilities where possible and encouraging exploration for everyone.
Improve Safety: Vehicles modified and improved to be a safe as technically possible. Locations and prescribed routes within any driver’s ability. Electric conversion workplaces use best practice safety methods while providing freedom to experiment.