The founders of STAXY were among the winners of the Santander X Global Challenge: Countdown to Zero

Exeter graduates win global sustainability award for their ride sharing start-up

A car-sharing platform founded by two Exeter alumni that gives users a more affordable way to travel while reducing their carbon footprint has been announced as one of the winners of an international competition.

The Santander X Global Challenge: Countdown to Zero, which received more than 600 applications from start-ups and scale-ups across the world, is part of a multi-year collaboration between Santander and Formula 1 designed to support and recognise innovative new businesses that are helping improve the sustainability of the automotive industry.

STAXY was one of three winners in the start-up category that received a share of €30,000, access to the prestigious Santander X100 entrepreneurs’ network and a trip to Mexico to meet with other like-minded entrepreneurs as well as representatives from Formula 1 and Ferrari.

The start-up’s co-founder William Line, an Exeter graduate with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics,  said: “It was a great networking event to learn more about Santander X and the work they do globally, as well as different partnerships that we can form through Santander X, such as Ferrari. The fact that we're going to pitch to Formula 1 in December is really cool and we would love to get our solution integrated into the service they offer.”

William and James Campion (BSc Economics and Politics) launched STAXY in September 2021 with James’ school friend William Hughes. It was initially launched as an app-based student carpool platform, which allows student car owners to post the journeys they are making and for students with a common destination to join as a passenger – making their travel more affordable and reducing their carbon footprint.

Having already amassed 5,000 student users, they have ambitions to expand the business further, and are looking to work with different communities of users such as businesses or sports clubs.

STAXY’s founders were first made aware of Santander Universities’ network of support for entrepreneurs after successfully pitching for £3,500 in grant funding from Santander Universities UK under the SETsquared Exeter Student Startups programme in 2021. They have been in regular contact throughout their business journey with Santander Universities and the University of Exeter Student Start-ups team.

STAXY’s founders entered Santander X Global Challenge: Countdown to Zero due to its focus on green mobility and were inspired by the success of fellow Exeter alumni start-up, QWERTY Beer Box, which was a Judges’ Choice winner in the Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards last year.

After progressing through multiple application rounds, STAXY made it down to 10 finalists which pitched online to a panel of business experts including the Head of Sustainability at Formula 1, Chief Communications Officer at Ferrari and various members of Santander. The winners were announced in Mexico City at an awards ceremony last month ahead of the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Juan Manuel Cendoya, Global Head of Communications, Corporate Marketing and Research at Banco Santander, said: “The collaboration between Santander and Formula 1 offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs to share their ideas focused on sustainability with one of the most innovative sports in the world. As the leading auto lender in Europe, the US and other countries, we would be delighted if some of these ideas were eventually implemented in the automotive industry in order to make it increasingly sustainable.”

Date: 30 November 2022

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