How PiggyBack Network is Changing the World One Fewer Car at a Time

Written by
Jocelyne Wijaya '26
May 23, 2023

One fewer car. 

Founded by Donald Scott II ’03 and Ismael El-Amin ’03, otherwise known as “Ish,” PiggyBack Network seeks to create a community where people help one another to lessen the amount of traffic on the roads. To do this, they encourage a carpool network where people with similar travel patterns can schedule rides to get from point A to point B. From this simple system, PiggyBack Network has managed to create long-lasting and positive impacts on an economic, environmental, and psychological scale, both locally and globally, which is why I interviewed Donald and Ish to learn more about how PiggyBack has grown to help change the world. 

Initially, PiggyBack Network was created to provide families with resources to help other parents out. Both Donald and Ish recognized how many parents, just like them, wasted time just by sitting idly in the parking lot of a school while waiting for their children to get out. Moreover, they recognized how the long commute or the incessant traffic further contributed to yet more inefficient schedules. With the context of oppressively warm weather and inefficient public transport systems, a parent’s worst nightmare is forged. Thus, to mitigate the monotony of driving every single day to drop off, wait, and pick up their kids, Donald and Ish created PiggyBack Network to help create more efficiency. 

Since then, PiggyBack has evolved to make transportation more accessible for other demographics, including the elderly, veterans, and everyday commuters, since the need for transportation and the drawbacks of traffic congestion are universal.

As Ish best explained, “As we started to grow and speak with more people in different cities and states, and actually, globally, we started to get into this conversation of how PiggyBack really impacted families in different ways and people in different regions, which is how we got into the whole climate change and clean energy commitment where we recognized that PiggyBack isn’t just limited to schools.” 

He added, “On a global level if we could combine a few people together and provide resources and reduce the number of cars on the road, we could make a global impact.” 

Similarly, Donald shared, “although we are talking about clean energy and sustainability in the future, we are focused on managing the way society behaves, as we are trying to manage cultural shifts that include community supporting each other and parents relying on one another.” 

In that sense, PiggyBack has become more than just reducing traffic congestion. It has grown to help mitigate the carbon footprint, to help build community, and to help alleviate psychological stresses that come with the burden of inefficient transportation. 

In Donald’s words, “If we are not helping each other out, we are not helping society. If you can support parents, you can change the world.” 

Travel patterns change. New jobs are taken. Children are put into new schools. 

Regardless of the circumstances, PiggyBack is here to provide help to local and global communities, seeking to find a way to utilize the carpool system to their advantage. 

Donald Scott II speaks to auditorium crowd

Donald Scott II '03 presents PiggyBack Network at the Reunions 2022 Pitch Competition. Photo by Wright Seneres. 

PiggyBack and Princeton

PiggyBack was selected as one of three finalists to present at the Pitch Competition at the Princeton Reunions 2022 Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference, and since then has racked up an impressive number of achievements, including:

  • Finalist, Obama Foundation Leadership Program
  • Finalist, Camelback Ventures Fellowship 
  • Investment from Fifth Star Funds in Chicago
  • Signed formal agreement with YMCA Metro Chicago
  • Selected for DivInc Spring 2023 Clean Energy Cohort (in collaboration with Microsoft and Chevron) in Houston
  • TEDx Talk at Rush University

PiggyBack, Donald and Ish assert, was possible thanks to Princeton’s environment, culture, and people, which encouraged them to “get the ball rolling.” Building on the support of a community of entrepreneurs, parents, and like-minded individuals, Donald and Ish seek to change the world, through one fewer car at a time. They encourage fellow Princetonians to connect with them at this year’s Reunions conference

Join the more than 400 people who have already registered for the Reunions 2023 Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference and Startup Competition:

Register for conference