Startups

Ridejoy Brings Its Ridesharing Service To The iPhone, Wants To Be Your Roadtrip Matchmaker

Comment

While collective consumption has really taken off in the last year thanks to the Airbnbs and Ubers of the world, carpooling and ride-sharing have been around a bit longer. But for the last few years, a number of ride-sharing startups have been making headway in areas where carpooling traditionally has lacked, like safety — the biggest obstacle standing in the way of mass adoption for collective consumption startups. While there isn’t a whole lot of differentiation among the ride-sharing set, Ridejoy is looking to change that.

For those unfamiliar, the YC-backed startup brings people together for long-distance road trips (which they define as those trips over 50 miles), allowing drivers to “sell” their extra seats to riders for cheap. Now that it has 3K active rides listed at any given time and some money in the bank, the startup is looking to expose its ride-sharing experience to a new audience with the launch of a new iPhone app.

Available for free in the App Store, Ridejoy’s new app upgrades the startup’s web experience by making it easier (and quicker) to post rides, search for rides by destination, review driver profiles and coordinate trips.

With hundreds of new rides being posted each day, the startup is looking to expand its footprint in the U.S. and Canada by enabling people to easily find trustworthy drivers with which to share their commute or their trip to Burning Man. To that point, Ridejoy grew out of BurningManRides.com, which the company’s co-founder Kalvin Wang established in 2011 to help people find rides to the infamous art festival in the desert. After launching in August 2011, the company saw 1,600 rides posted over a short period of time (as well as five plane rides) and decided to push forward with Ridejoy.

Wang reminded us that, although it may not appear so at first, ride-sharing is a fairly big market, with 2.3 billion long-distance trips occurring every year, with 76 percent of those in single-occupant vehicles.

So, with a new mobile app and some new tech, Ridejoy is looking for a way to better capture those users. In terms of safety, Ridejoy’s procedures have generally relied on users vetting other drivers and passengers through social networks (Wang tells us that 75 percent of users sign on via Facebook), along with user reviews and references.

While Ridejoy’s model is fairly similar to Zimride, in July it rolled out a feature that allows people to scan their driver’s licenses and passports, which the startup then verifies and allows them to post that to their profile. Another way of ensuring that you’re not catching a ride with a crazed, license-less fugitive — and once that differentiates from Zimride and other ride-sharers.

Ridejoy’s iPhone app also includes another cool distinguishing feature in its ability to serve users with flexible matching, pairing users by route instead of city-to-city. Users can also automatically receive notifications when drivers and passengers are going to be taking the same route you are/will be traveling, along with getting the scoop on other users before the ride, like photos, bios, etc.

Now users can also browse popular destinations on Ridejoy, view itineraries, pay and share costs by scanning their credit cards and activate a new feature called “Autopilot,” which aims to save Ridejoy searchers time and effort by automatically finding and confirming personalized ride matches.

In terms of cost, Ridejoy suggests a price before each trip (which drivers can change if they want), which is on average around $35 or $40 for SF to LA. The startup puts a cap on how much drivers can charge per mile ($0.50) to prevent drivers from bleeding their passengers dry. Though all in all, they said — in the spirit of Burning Man — many of its passengers are more interested in meeting people and having company during long trips than using the service to turn a profit.

As for Ridejoy itself (and its monetization), the startup takes a 15 percent cut on credit card transactions processed for each trip.

For more, find Ridejoy at home here, and app here.

More TechCrunch

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

23 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares