Founder David Litwak knows that finding your way in this world often requires some nifty footwork. Whether stepping across a dance floor, through the initial days of a startup, or from an airplane to the front desk of the hotel, it’s tough to move gracefully when you know where you’re going let alone when you’re uncertain. For the traveler just on the ground at least, he might be able to offer some help with his startup Mozio.
A Unique Travel Pattern
Litwak took his first job in the 8th grade as an assistant dance teacher, helping cotillion students learn a number of steps including salsa and swing. He turned down the San Francisco Ballet’s offer to join a production of Romeo and Juliet when he was only six years old, so that he could focus on music. As a classical musician, performing in school orchestras and as a solo trumpeter, he took the stage at famous concert venues like Carnegie Hall as well as others in both Europe and Asia.
His travels as a musician, student, and adventurer took him to 65 countries by his 23rd birthday. He also lived in places like Paris and Tallinn, Estonia. Now his journeys have shimmied him to San Francisco to work on founding Mozio.
Mozio is a transportation search engine meant to help travelers find their way from the airport to a final destination. The site aggregates information such as shared-ride shuttles, airport bus services, public transit, taxis, ferries, limos–options neglected by other search sites (not to mention travelers). So far, Mozio is concentrating on accumulating data for domestic airports in major metropolitan areas including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston.
The Final Mile
Finding your way from the airport, or completing the tail end of travel, is a travel segment that’s been neglected by other major search sites. Flight searches don’t address this connection, nor do specific transit companies. The journey to a hotel, a friend’s apartment or a hostel, sort of falls through the cracks for all involved parties in the booking process. Mozio has shrewdly moved into this less crowded area, focusing on airport ground transportation, helping travelers specifically with that “final mile.”
While not usually the expense of greatest concern, working out the logistics of this travel segment can be tricky. For starters, after a long flight, there’s fatigue to factor in. Not the best time to make decisions or to attempt reading unfamiliar maps. Then there’s the worry of being ripped off, getting lost. Making sense of local transportation is a tall order for newcomers, which is where Mozio aims to smooth out the travel experience from end-to-end.
Prior to Takeoff
Litwak is a native of Santa Monica. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. At Northrop Grumman Corporation, he wrote code, designed hardware, and helped test system parts of NASA’s Autonomous Inspection and Maintenance Robot–a robot meant to repair space shuttles. He also put in time at Skype as well as startups RubyWallet and BumeBox. Just prior to founding Mozio, Litwak worked as an integration and support engineer at Criteo.
Co-founder and CTO Joseph Metzinger is a fellow UC Berkley graduate who’s interned at Hewlett-Packard and Lockheed Martin.
By next January, they hope to have information for the 40 most used US airports in the Mozio system. In addition to transit info, the site also looks to evolve into booking transport and offering a mobile app. Perhaps a seed round of funding will help Mozio travel its own final mile.