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Social Ridesharing Startup Ridejoy Raises $1.3M From Freestyle Capital, Lerer Ventures And Others

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Ridejoy, a YC-backed startup that brings people together via ridesharing on long-distance trips, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding led by Freestyle Capital
with Lerer Ventures, Start Fund, SV Angel, Founder Collective, Y Combinator, Ben Ling, Owen Van Natta and Joshua Schachter participating.

The service allows drivers who are already planning to take a roadtrip to ‘sell’ their extra seats to other users. Drivers earn money on trips they were planning on taking anyway, and Ridejoy passengers get a door-to-door lift, in some cases for less than they’d pay for a bus ticket.

For now, Ridejoy is focused on long-distance trips. Drivers and passengers can locate others going to the same destination online in advance of the trip. To find travel companions, Ridejoy members simply post rides offered or rides needed and can be paid via cash or credit card. Ridejoy will take a small cut of the credit card payments.

In terms of safety, users are required to provide relevant work and education history, a photo, and with Facebook integration, a list of mutual friends. Ridejoy also implements a a user review system, so that drivers and passengers can check community feedback from previous rides; as well as a user reference system, which allows for friends to vouch for community members.

Last year, Ridejoy debuted its service with BurningManRides.com — a site that helped people coordinate their trips out to the Nevada desert. 1600 people signed up, 1150 rides were posted, and 400 rides were completed over a three-week span. In a neat twist, five pilots offered rides-by-air, completing a total of ten plane trips.

Ridejoy faces competition from Zimride. Ridejoy will use the new funding to increase design and engineering capacity and expand operations beyond the West Coast.