Carpool app

Wunder of the World

Drop me off after the next lights...
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Wunder’s regulatory woes and shift to Asian markets highlight the bureaucratic difficulties facing German start-ups.

  • Facts


    • Wunder is an app that matches drivers with passengers to allow them to share rides.
    • Passengers can only tip drivers, who are not allowed to profit from the service.
    • The app is only currently available in Manila in the Philippines.
  • Audio


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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.

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