How To Get More Black Voters To The Polls? Go Together — Kimberly Moore’s Tech Solution On Mogul Watch

Ebony Grimsley-Vaz
Written by Ebony Grimsley-Vaz
Go Together
Kimberly Y. Moore is the founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls. Photo provided.

It’s so rare we get to talk about Black tech companies being acquired, but it’s rarer to learn about a Black woman acquiring another company to strengthen hers in the marketplace.

Meet Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together.

A transportation software solution, Go Together solves problems for parents who need to get kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls. She does this with a tech solution for carpool matching and scheduling.

Moore launched her business with co-founder, Charles King, in 2014 in the Washington, D.C. area. Fourteen months after launching her beta, she was in discussions another company, CarpooltoSchool, when the conversation turned towards acquisition.

The acquisition has helped move Moore from using multiple platforms to run her carpool service, to a single platform where parents can directly and easily manage the scheduling for the carpools they need. This acquisition also gave Moore the ability to scale and look for growth in other areas — like politics. The company is now building three products: Go Together, GoTogether Sports, and GoTogetherVote.

A former Verizon Wireless executive, Moore led operations and strategy for a $55 million federal government division. She understands how to deploy tech solutions and is putting her years of experience to help parents and political organizers.

GoTogether has more than 16,000 users at 41 school in 19 states. Moore told Moguldom that she is focused on the next five years.

I created an MVP before I knew what that meant. I found a scheduling platform, a payment platform and a tracking app I could give parents. I built the tool in about two weeks.

Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls.
Go Together
Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls. Photo provided.

Moguldom:  Why did you start Go Together?

Kimberly Moore: It started at the intersection of two decisions I made for my life and attempting to solve my sister’s problems. I didn’t want to live in regret, and I heard a speaker say, “opportunities come, opportunities go, and opportunities come no more.” And so in my sister’s kitchen, she was sharing the problem of getting my niece from school to her after-school activities, and a couple of other things throughout the week. My sister told me, “I know so many parents who are facing this big problem, especially if they go to a school that doesn’t provide transportation. Parents are rushing from work across town just so our child can participate in different activities and it would just change people’s lives if you could solve this problem.” I thought about all the ways to solve this problem, but I kept wondering if there’s a way to do it with technology.

I left that conversation and created an MVP (minimum viable product) before I knew what that meant. I found a scheduling platform, a payment platform and a tracking app I could give parents. I built the tool in about two weeks, showed it to my sister and she was like, “Oh my God, this is awesome. It’s even better than me referring you because now parents can go to a website on their own, independently, figure out whether or not this is going to work and then reach out to you if it does.”

The education space is hard to get into. The selling cycle is extraordinarily long. But I think the pain point is what can help us expedite. I discovered pretty quickly to look for the school or schools having the pain point of transportation.

Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls.

Moguldom: You have more than 16,000 users in 41 schools in 19 states. It’s not easy to tap into the educational space. Share any challenges you had while building your business.

Kimberly Moore:  I discovered pretty quickly to look for the school or schools having the pain point of transportation. Lack of transportation options impacts the ability to attract new families to a school. If you’re a private school, that’s a revenue drop for you. If you are a public charter, enrollment is like revenue and that’s how you get additional state and federal funding. I learned these were the people to reach out to for growth. We are very close to closing a deal with the public school and I’m super excited about that. But you’re right, the education space is hard to get into. The selling cycle is extraordinarily long. But I think the pain point is what can help us expedite the decision-making process.

Moguldom: What are some notable wins?

Kimberly Moore: (A win was) one of our first customers, Woodward Academy in Atlanta, finding us and being able to see pretty quickly that we would be able to help them. I acquired CarpooltoSchool, our product that’s in the market, at the end of a 14-month beta of my original idea. I was in conversation with the founder of CarpooltoSchool to license her technology to help us put three different sets of kids in a car together and have their parents, without having to interact with our team, be able to make the decision to allow their kids to ride with other families. I ended up acquiring them 90 days after my initial conversation with her. It was pretty exciting for us as it allowed us to scale. Several mentors that were around me helped me navigate that transaction and successfully bring it to close. A lot of planned acquisitions don’t necessarily happen. They don’t always go to close. I would also say a win has been in building our team. To see people be excited about what we’re doing and want to join the adventure of being a part of an early-stage startup is a win.

The get-out-to-vote strategy has not changed in the last 25 years. Campaigns and parties still reach out to churches and groups to transport people. Our culture has moved in a totally different direction. More people who aren’t connected with churches (need) to get a ride to vote. Plus millennials are the largest electorate now and more than 40% don’t drive.

Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls.

Moguldom: You started off focusing on carpooling kids. Now, Go Together is also focused on helping people get to the polls for elections. How did you launch into the political industry?

Kimberly Moore: As we were finishing up our pre-seed round, one of our investors said, “Kimberly, how could you use your platform, the design of your platform to get more people out to the polls?” I sat back and thought about it and once I started to understand the get-out-to-vote strategy and realize that it basically has not changed in the last 25 years, I saw the value in adding GoTogethertoVote as a service. From a transportation perspective, campaigns and parties still reach out to churches and groups, to be able to transport people. But our culture has moved in a totally different direction where there are more people who aren’t really connected with churches to be able to get a ride to vote. Plus millennials are the largest electorate now and more than 40 percent of them don’t drive. Aside from that, people get excited about rallying around the cause or candidate. We brainstormed in a room one weekend, brought in some other folks who are in the space of politics and said, “What do you think?” And they said, “Kimberly, I think you’re onto something.”

Our vision of Go Together is to provide end-to-end trip planning platform for customers where trust is a real currency that they’re exchanging. We believe that people, because of Uber and Lyft, are demonstrating that they’re open to that type of opportunity.

Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls.

Moguldom: It seems as though you are solving problems that communities have been talking about but haven’t successfully used technology to solve.

Kimberly Moore: We’re building three products: Go Together, GoTogether Sports, and GoTogetherVote. There are three things at the core of all three products. One is there’s a trusted environment. There’s a closed community of people where trust is really the currency that’s being exchanged from the organization to its user. The second thing is that user wants the trust, but they also want the independence to organize their transportation. They don’t want to keep reaching out to an office or person. They want to organize it themselves. And the third thing is they’re saying, “Hey, I want to do this in my community”. They want to be able to, through an app or website, arrange their trip. We believe that people, because of Uber and Lyft, are demonstrating that they’re open to that type of opportunity. Our vision of Go Together is to really provide an end-to-end trip planning platform for customers where trust is a real currency that they’re exchanging with their users.

I’m over 50 so I come at this in a different way than my younger entrepreneur friends. I don’t have time to waste. I’m very strategic about who we talk to. It’s aligning with people who really understand where we want to go.

Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls.

Moguldom: How much have you raised in capital?

Kimberly Moore: We have raised just north of a half a million dollars through individual investors in a pre-seed round and (are) excited about what we’ve been able to do with the capital that we’ve invested. But there is so much more we want to do. Getting to that next round of funding of $2 million to be able to expand our technical capabilities, team, and explore and test different marketing initiatives is really what we’re going after next. It has been an interesting experience. I’m over 50 so I come at this in a different way than my younger entrepreneur friends. I don’t have time to waste. So, I’m very strategic about who we talk to and the kind of forums we’re a part of in general. I understand the power of the connection between you and your investor. You could be going really hard and fast, but if you’re both not aligned to the long-term vision, it can cause problems. We’ve decided to be deliberate in the investment process and we’re about to turn the fire up in the next three months. It is been something that we are really excited about. Lots of people are excited about what we’re doing. But again, it’s aligning with people who really understand where we want to go.

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Moguldom: What do the next five years look like for Go Together?

Kimberly Moore: Exciting. Actually, super exciting. The next five years we’re focused on building our national brand and solving this problem of transportation. Because transportation at its core really is the barrier to opportunity. Carpooling to school, particularly for Black and brown communities, poses a big transportation challenge. For kids who have the opportunity to go to a charter school or private school, the ability to get there is everything. When the kids get there and learn and discover new things, they bring that home to their families and they can start changing the trajectory literally of their families in one generation. To be a part of that is huge for us. So continuing to build Go Together does not only solve problems for individual schools but it also solves a problem for school districts who are feeling incredible pressure for transportation because they are now transporting kids outside of their school assignment to other parts of the district. Those costs are really bearing down on school districts. So much so that we’ve tracked at least 300 across the country that have eliminated school bus services or are now charging families for a school bus service. Our product is really a platform that schools and school districts can use as a bridge to solve larger problems. Getting GoTogetherToVote in the next campaign cycle is another focus for us. We’re doing a lot of great work with some key influencers right now to get prepared for the 2020 election. The next five years will be interesting for us.

As African American woman in tech, in this very narrow space, we can be successful. We can solve everyday problems. We can get people excited about our solutions if we can simply stay out of the box that we, and sometimes others, put us in.

Kimberly Y. Moore, founder of Go Together, a transportation software solution for parents who need to carpool kids to after-school activities and political organizations that need to get voters to the polls.

Moguldom: Are there any lessons you would like to share with readers?

Kimberly Moore: Opportunities come and opportunities go and sometimes they come no more. You have to take advantage of the opportunities that are coming your way. You have to get out of the box we sometimes put ourselves in and a lot of times well-meaning people put us in so that we can really challenge and test ourselves to be everything that we can be. As an African American woman in tech, in this very narrow space, we can be successful. We, Go Together, are taking an issue of carpooling which has been around forever and moving it forward and making it relevant. As African American women we can solve everyday problems. Not only can we solve problems, but we can get people excited about our solutions if we can simply stay out of the box that we, and sometimes others, put us in.