While city regulators may still be grappling with the legality of ride-sharing startups like Lyft and Sidecar, there’s no question that these companies are gaining popularity with the public. As this space continues to grow, there’s one Seattle-based app that wants to be along for the ride.
Red Ride, which just launched for both iOS and Android, aggregates all the ride-sharing options closest to your location and informs you of the fastest ride. Once selecting a company, you’re automatically re-directed to the specific app and can set-up a ride from there.
The idea for Red Ride was born this past summer at a Startup Weekend Seattle event and five of the original six members that worked on the app are still dedicating time to Red Ride.
There’s definitely opportunity on the horizon. Red Ride was one of eight teams recently accepted into Concur’s Perfect Trip DevCon pitch-off and will be presenting on Wednesday. It also will be heading to New York later this month to participate in a venture firm’s demo day.
In addition, the team just brought on its first official board of advisors member: Mike Fridgen, formerly the CEO of Decide.com, a Seattle startup acquired by eBay earlier this month.
“The positive feedback we’ve received from not only ride sharing customers but also from investors and mentors was more than enough to keep us going in the beginning,” said Red Ride’s Chet Kittleson. “Now that we’ve gotten to know the space, we’re in love with it. There’s an opportunity here, and we’re only at the beginning. Paradigm shifts are a dream for entrepreneurs, and we’re definitely in one of the most wildly changing/exciting spaces we could be in right now.”
Startups like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar cleared a monumental hurdle earlier this month after the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to legalize ride-sharing, as California became the state to initiate such regulations.
Other cities are considering similar steps as companies like Lyft and Sidecar technically break the law on the streets. Since the ride-sharing groups operate without any licensing or inspection by the city, some argue that they are conducting business illegally.
But California has shown that it’s possible for the startups and other for-hire transportation options to co-exist in a city. The team at Red Ride thinks that other cities will catch on soon.
“Nothing says disruption like city and state governments joining the conversation,” Kittleson said. “That being said, this shift is sensible. When ride sharing is legal everywhere, like it now is in California, we’ll see positive impacts environmentally, reduced traffic and parking congestion, and transportation costs will go down for individuals that embrace the shift. Positive change is inevitable, and I’m absolutely convinced that ride sharing is a step in the right direction.”
Red Ride works anywhere in the world where ride-sharing exists. The app is still a side-project for the team, but that could change if Red Ride continues attracting attention and finding success.
“Our focus is going to move to partnerships, and eventually Red Ride will be the authority on not only finding the fastest ride but also on discovering what’s available,” Kittleson said. “With this space growing so quickly, it seems like a new provider is founded every week. We want to help customers connect with these providers–no matter where they are.”