Tag: Joseph Kopser

The Bunker Austin Launches to Help Veteran Led Startups

logo_bunker_austinThe Bunker Austin, a program geared to help veterans become entrepreneurs, has launched at the University of Texas at Austin.

Joseph Kopser, founder and CEO of RideScout, and Craig Cummings, co-founder, donated $70,000 to provide a Student Veteran Entrepreneurship Endowment. The seed fund is earmarked for students with veteran status at the University of Texas at Austin. The first award will be the James D. Pippin Veteran Entrepreneurship Award, a prize in the Texas Venture Lab Investment Competition. Pippin is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with the U.S. Army. Kopser and Pippin served together. The Pippin Award will be given to the most promising startup in TVL with one or more veteran co-founders.

The Bunker Austin is going to be a one-stop place for veterans to plug into all the resources available in Austin, Kopser said. To be a success entrepreneur, veterans need time, talent and treasure, he said. The Bunker Austin seeks to provide access to those things for veteran entrepreneurs.

Kopser and Cummings, both U.S. Army Veterans and graduates of the West Point Class of 1993, founded RideScout in 2011 and recently sold the company to Daimler’s car2Go subsidiary for an undisclosed price. RideScout makes a mobile phone app that let consumers search and compare aggregated ground transportation options to find the best one. It’s available in 69 cities in the U.S.

The company participated in the Jon Brumley Texas Ventures Lab program at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Bunker Austin is an offshoot of The Bunker in Chicago, which launched last month and announced plans to expand its veteran-focused accelerator to seven cities nationwide including Austin. The other cities are Los Angeles, Tacoma, Colorado Springs, Kansas City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

At the Bunker Austin, the veteran-led startups will have access to mentorship, a network of veteran entrepreneurs and help to find venture capital. The program is accepting application for its first cohort through January 10th. The first cohort will begin on Jan. 21st and last six months.

The Bunker Austin will be housed at the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas at Austin.

“We’ve been really lucky that every company that has come through our program and has had a liquidity event has given back,” said Rob Adams, CEO of the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs at the University of Texas at Austin. The program does not require them to do so, he said. He thanked the founders of RideScout for sharing their success with the endowment.

Car2go’s Parent Company, Moovel, Acquires Austin-based RideScout

307262RideScout, an Austin-based startup that lets people find the best transportation options, just got acquired by Moovel, the parent company of Car2go.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Today, just three years after the company was founded, I am proud to announce that RideScout has been acquired by car2go North America, a Daimler brand,” Joseph Kopser, the company’s founder and CEO, wrote in an email announcing the acquisition.

Moovel, formerly known as Daimler Mobility Services, also acquired Hamburg-based mytaxi, according to a news release.

“We are very pleased to welcome RideScout and mytaxi as new members of the moovel family”, Robert Henrich, CEO at moovel GmbH, said in a news release. “The acquisition of RideScout and Intelligent Apps pushes our global strategy a significant step forward. We are investing further in the development and growth of urban mobility in North America, Germany and other parts of the world. Our mutual objectives are the expansion of our leadership role on the international market and to continue our pioneering efforts to radically simplify the future of mobility.”

“When we launched the app November of 2013, I thought that day might be the best of our company’s history, but it was only the start of things to come,” Kopser wrote. “We continued to build a superstar team and, subsequently, we launched RideScout in 69 North American cities.”

RideScout will operate as a subsidiary of Car2go North America and Kopser and Craig Cummings, Ridescout’s chief strategy officer, will continue to manage the business, according to Moovel, based in Stuttgart, Germany. The company’s mobile phone app lets consumers search and compare aggregated ground transportation options to find the best one.

The partnership with Car2go will let RideScout “realize our vision and build a better, stronger product for our users and our customers. Very soon, you can expect an improved RideScout app experience and a B2B solution that helps makes cities smarter,” Kopser wrote.

RideScout, which bills itself as “the Kayak of ground transportation” has deep roots in Austin. The company won the Austin Technology Council’s Startup Showdown in 2013. It also started out in the Austin Technology Incubator. The company has raised more than $1 million in funding. Kopser and Cummings are both U.S. Army Veterans. Kopser thought up the idea for RideScout while commuting to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He wanted a tool to show him his best options for getting to work. When he couldn’t find one, he decided to create it along with co-founder Cummings.

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