Gunnar Froh is no stranger to failure, as his experience with his start-up company Wundercar shows. He started it two years ago in Hamburg as a kind of poor man’s Uber: The idea was for car drivers to give lifts to passengers who then made a contribution to the driver’s costs, amounting to no more than a tip. Wundercar took a 20 percent cut. It didn’t take long for the German authorities to prohibit this mode of carpooling.
So Mr. Froh came up with a plan B: Wundercar rolled out in Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, only to encounter similar problems with the authorities there, not to mention a price war with rival Uber’s carpooling service.
But Plan C is different. Since the beginning of the year, Wundercar, now shortened to Wunder, has recreated itself as a sort of social media app that brings commuters together – in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
The story of Wunder is an example of the challenge facing many start-ups looking for the right niche. The hope of earning money by copying a U.S. business model is often not fulfilled – often because the legal conditions in Germany are more restrictive than elsewhere.