routeRANK was born in June 2006 in Lausanne, Switzerland, when Jochen Mundinger, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), attempted to plan a conference trip from Lausanne to a lesser known location.Following a thorough but ultimately unsuccessful search for helpful websites, the mathematician and computer scientist decided to tackle the problem himself. Equipped with a proprietary algorithmic solution and a first business plan, he was awarded an EPFL Innogrant for routeRANK in October 2006.
By early 2007, Jochen had recruited support network and team, and a first closed beta version was completed for July 2007. Towards the end of the year, routeRANK became a Swiss Limited (SA/AG), moved its offices to the Parc Scientifique (PSE) at EPFL, and was awarded an R&D project by the Swiss Confederation’s innovation promotion agency (CTI).
In 2008, routeRANK continued to grow and gain recognition, both in industry and outside. For example, Dr Klaus Töpfer, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), endorses routeRANK as:
“ … an intelligent tool that will allow users to make an informed, carbon conscious decision for specific journeys and travel routes. This system will make informed travel choices possible which are not only cost- and time-efficient but also benefit the environment.”
Having won the Venture Leaders and Venture Kick competitions, in September 2008 routeRANK was selected as one of the four finalists in the PICNIC Green Challenge, and in November, it was the laureate of the 2008 KPMG Tomorrow’s Market Award.
The end of 2008 also saw the launch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Travel Helper, powered by routeRANK.