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Disrupting the UK’s £4bn season ticket business, CommuterClub makes travel cheaper

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Name: CommuterClub
Industry/sector: Services
Date founded: 2014
Founder: Petko Plachkov and Imran Gulamhuiseinwala
Location: London

After enduring the frustrations of commuting on London’s transport service the most expensive and dirtiest offering in the world Petko Plachkov and Imran Gulamhuiseinwala came up with the idea for CommuterClub in a bid to find a more cost-effective way to get to work.

Prior to his part in founding the business, Plachkov started his career at management consulting firm McKinsey where he supported the UK’s big banks on new sectors of growth. Meanwhile, Gulamhuiseinwala has always worked in London’s financial market, with employment at Oliver Wyman, Bridgepoint and EY.

CommuterClub’s ambition is to make the purchase of annual season tickets more affordable and easier for UK commuters, which is achieved through crowdfunded P2P lending, allowing users to save an average of 200 annually by paying for the pass in monthly instalments.

It’s achievable by working with UK P2P lending platform RateSetter, thus all CommuterClub loans are funded by Brits who are often commuters themselves.

The subscription-like service compares itself to the flexibility of Netflix, as Londoners can spend an average of 1,500 upwards, thus the startup plans to shake up the country’s 4bn season ticket market and, what it calls the increasing burden or commuting by recognising annual tickets are far too costly for most consumers to afford.

Since launching in the summer of 2014, the business has lent more than 1.5m to thousands of Londoners, offering an interest rate of 5.6 per cent, which has been achieved by working with smartcard tickets to reduce risk. In turn, it means the system has an acceptance rate of 90 per cent, which the business assures is higher than most lenders.

As if this venture wasn’t enough, Petko has revealed plans to build on CommuterClub’s success to introduce additional consumer companies across the UK that operate in the fintech space, with a view to build consumer trust in financial services.

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