The Future of Rideshare: What’s The Next Big Thing?
Everyone knows about ridesharing’s two largest competitors — Uber and Lyft — but are there any new competitors in today’s ridesharing market? What does the future of rideshare look like? Who are the ‘insurgent’ startups staking out new ground?
Below, we profile some interesting companies which are attempting to compete against the ‘big dogs’ — and, so far, they’re making inroads in a competitive, evolving and hyper-dynamic ridesharing market.
Juno is one of the newest rideshare startups on the scene. With a familiar four-letter name (like Lyft, or Uber), Juno differentiates itself from its major competitors by focusing on one thing: driver welfare. In addition to allowing tipping, Juno lets drivers choose whether they wish to be employees or contractors.
Juno recently made waves with the revelation that they’d secretly begun paying Uber drivers to use a ‘special monitoring app’ while driving — a move which ultimately turned out to be Juno’s attempt to collect critical data on the company’s routes; pricing choices; traffic navigation; and driver preferences.
It was an aggressive move for a new startup. Juno hopes the collected data might help the company compete effectively against better-established rivals (specifically, Lyft and Uber) — and they believe the data will help them to identify (and micro-target) any critical flaws or weaknesses those companies might secretly harbor.
But Juno isn’t just focused on technology and data collection — instead, Juno’s executive board thinks success in the crowded ‘ride-hailing’ marketplace is really about focusing on one thing: drivers. Juno believes if they can keep drivers happy — and offer strong incentives and a very robust focus on employee welfare — they’ll be able to beat established players in a competitive marketplace. Juno’s commission rate for every trip will only be 10 percent (much smaller than rival companies, which linger between a 20 — 30 percent commission). Juno will also give employees and drivers stock in the actual company — a huge and unprecedented move in the rideshare world.
Juno realizes that rideshare, as an industry, has its share of driver-employer controversies — including extremely high turnover rates, calls for unionization, and even protests — and it believes that, by offering a less volatile employment environment, it can become a major player in an evolving (and highly uncertain) industry.
Juno plans to expand aggressively in Spring 2016 — moving from corporate strategy into on-the-ground reality by Fall 2016.
Gett is a rideshare company that competes directly with Uber and Lyft, but remains mostly in the ‘black car’ market realm.
Gett has been growing at an incredible rate — in 2015, it tripled its revenue (to half a billion dollars), and has been expanding aggressively in New York City — doubling its fleet of 2000 cars to a total of 4000 in Summer 2015. Gett is also extremely popular in European territories (in fact, it is the most popular rideshare service on the continent).
In New York City (and urban centers in Europe), Gett offers something that its competitors don’t — a flat rate of $!0, mitigating the uncertainties and high prices which accompany a ride with Gett’s competitors (like Uber or Lyft).
Gett’s flats-rate strategy has proven to be an enormously attractive proposition for casual and business travelers alike — customers seem to love the idea of an in-built, pre-determined rate, and the existence of a ‘floating’ car network means that Gett’s business model accommodates very low pricing without affecting viability (and, without requiring added-cost features like ‘surge pricing’ or ‘booking fees’).
Currently, Gett is planning on another targeted expansion in Summer 2016. The company has already raised an addition $200 million in venture capital.
All over the United States — as well as internationally — new rideshare companies are competing with Uber and Lyft by developing startups which operate on a smaller, city-based level.
Locally-focused rideshare companies are becoming increasingly common — many of which may end up ‘going national’ (or … going bust).
Here are a few notable examples:
Get Me is a Texas-based rideshare company, which seeks to compete in a local rideshare market which lacks a major player — Uber’s legality is currently being challenged in the region by state officials (it’s technically ‘suspended’ in the Austin market). Get Me is focused on delivering groceries and other services, in addition to passenger pick-ups and drop-offs.
HopSkipDrive is a new rideshare startup based in Los Angeles, CA, which is notable for being the largest ‘’Uber for Kids’’ rideshare company out there. After raising over $10 million in venture capital, HopSkipDrive is likely to expand outside Los Angeles, targeting suburban enclaves which demand trustworthy, reliable car-service options for kids.
HopSkipDrive is notable because it allows parents to arrange (and pre-plan) pick-up itineraries for kids well in advance. Drivers are also thoroughly vetted — HopSkipDrive’s drivers are fingerprinted, subject to regular vehicle inspection, interviews and extensive background checks.
Already, HopSkipDrive’s client base is large, with a strong retention rate and a large number of families employing the service more than once per day.
Ridescout is a hybrid ridesharing system and information app — interestingly, it combines data from a variety of transportation options (not just cars) across a large range of cities (currently, Ridescout is available in 69 locations).
Ridescout lets users view, and order, a range of available transportation options — including carpool, taxi services, carshare, biking availability, driving routes and parking options.
RubyRide is a rideshare startup with a slightly different approach than most companies — the service bills itself as ‘subscription-based’, meaning that you pay a lump sum monthly fee, but are then allowed unlimited rides within a series of pre-selected zones. For instance, in Phoenix, Arizona (where RubyRide is based), a $299-per-month plan gives a customer unlimited drop-offs and pick-ups in the city’s downtown section.
The company asserts that the (seemingly) high prices are actually much better value than rival rideshare options, and much cheaper than car-ownership itself.
A Washington, D.C-based company, capitalizing off of D.C.’s rideshare-friendly regulatory policies, Split uses publicly-available government data to optimize an innovative and hyper-efficient carpooling system.
Shudde — like HopSkipDrive — is frequently called another ‘Uber for Kids’ rideshare company. And, like HopSkipDrive, Shuddle allows parents to book and schedule rides for their kids well in advance.
Shuddle takes HopSkipDrive’s precautions an extra step — not only does Shuddle aggressively screen drivers, but they also hire only female drivers (and require that those drivers also have children who use the service). Moreover, Shuddle has a feature which allows parents to monitor all trips through a real-time smartphone app.
Summon is a new ridesharing company based in San Francisco. Summon is notable because of a progressive pricing scheme, which opposes ‘surge pricing’ techniques. Summon also offers (uniquely) a ‘rewards’ program, which they hope will help incentivize frequent riders and create passenger loyalty.
Summon currently operates in the Bay Area, Oakland, Emmeryville, portions of the East Bay and Berkeley.
In Canada, ridesharing is still a legally-uncertain proposition. So, when Edmonton became the first Canadian city to officially legislate ridesharing, it encouraged local operators to develop their own city-based rideshare startups.
TappCar is the first city-wide rideshare company to begin operation in 2016, and it is widely seen as an exact replica of existing rideshare models — except for its requirement of commercial licenses for all its drivers.