Former Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann Joins Startup Door2Door

The company develops software for ride-sharing services.

byStephen Edelstein|
Former Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann Joins Startup Door2Door

Ten months after he left the top post at the German automaker, former Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann is joining the board of mobility startup Door2Door, and will also invest in the company. Neumann is one of two new board members, alongside Ariel Luedi, former CEO of e-commerce firm SAP Hybris.

"This is an enormous vote of confidence in the kind of smart, sustainable mobility solutions that Door2Door is spearheading," co-founder and managing director Dr. Thomas Kirschbaum said in a statement.

Neumann left Opel in June 2017, three months after General Motors sold the brand (and sibling Vauxhall) to PSA Peugeot Citroën. It was thought for a time that Neumann would be hired by Audi (he was employed by the brand's Volkswagen Group parent before moving to Opel) but he has apparently decided to leave the ranks of traditional automakers entirely.

According to Neumann's LinkedIn page, he is now working as an investor and consultant for companies "which are shaping the electric future." Neumann was a booster of electric cars at both VW and Opel. It was reported that dissatisfaction with PSA's electric-car strategy was a main reason for his departure from Opel.

Door2Door doesn't build electric cars, or indeed any cars at all. Rather, it develops software platforms for ride-sharing services, with the goal of making it easier for cities to launch those services and integrate them with existing public transit. The company has partnered with operators in cities like Berlin and Duisburg, Germany, pairing its computing platform with the partners' vehicles and drivers.

"Door2Door has a real opportunity to drastically improve the way we get around in cities across the globe," Neumann said in a statement. "Almost every other industry is being disrupted by technology--it's time for public transportation to get in gear as well."

Services like the phones promoted by Door2Door could play an important role in reducing emissions and traffic congestion in cities. These services place multiple passengers in one vehicle, making them more effective at reducing congestion than ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, where passengers tend to travel solo, and take trips that could be done with public transit in some cases. Door2Door believes it can fill a niche in so-called "last mile" transportation, taking passengers from train or bus stations to their final destinations.