The worldwide ride-hailing market was reportedly valued at greater than $61 billion in 2018, a determine that would rise to almost $220 billion by 2025. With Lyft just lately changing into the primary ride-hailing firm to go public and Uber making ready to comply with swimsuit, calling the e-taxi business a giant enterprise is one thing of an understatement.
But when there may be one ongoing criticism from the individuals powering this burgeoning business, it’s that the pay is dismal. After bills, taxes, and different deductions, the common ride-hailing driver reportedly earns little or no. A latest report additionally indicated that Uber and Lyft will usually apply surge pricing to riders however not go the elevated charges on to the motive force.
In opposition to this backdrop, some third-party providers have emerged to attempt to assist drivers earn extra.
Pittsburgh-based Gridwise claims it might probably assist drivers earn as a lot as 39% extra per hour by leveraging huge swathes of knowledge to inform them the place they need to be, and when. Based in 2016, the Techstars alum has expanded to 18 cities throughout the U.S. up to now. This week, it launched in San Francisco and San Jose, and it additionally introduced a contemporary $900,000 in funding from Swallow Level Ventures, Quaker Capital, Innovation Works URA (Pittsburgh), and a number of angel traders. The corporate has now raised $1.7 million.
The way it works
Gridwise collates knowledge from myriad third-party APIs, together with visitors providers, social media, climate, occasions, and native information, in addition to leveraging crowdsourced knowledge from its personal community of drivers, who set up a devoted cellular app on their telephones.
Some 40,000 drivers use the Gridwise app, the corporate stated, and every receives alerts for the very best instances and days to drive primarily based on components like airport congestion, whether or not it’s raining, and pickup areas that get scorching attributable to main occasions, corresponding to concert events.
Gridwise provides a free primary service, which incorporates notifications primarily based on airport flight knowledge, native occasions, and climate, together with efficiency options that monitor drivers’ mileage, time, earnings, and journeys. For $10 monthly or $96 per yr, they will additionally improve to Gridwise Plus, which offers entry to further options, corresponding to 24-hour airport graphs, real-time flight standing, and different varieties of alerts.
In some regards, Gridwise is a bit of like PredictHQ, a startup that emerged from stealth final yr with $10 million in funding. PredictHQ additionally aggregates knowledge units from numerous third-party sources and throws its personal proprietary and “laborious to seek out” knowledge into the combo — after which bundles all this right into a single API that it licenses to firms corresponding to Uber, Domino’s, and Reserving.com. The principle differentiator with Gridwise, after all, is that it targets drivers straight. Furthermore, it garners knowledge from drivers throughout a number of ride-hailing providers — together with Uber, Lyft, and By way of — and feeds this data again into the Gridwise knowledge stream.
“We’ve got a a lot deeper concentrate on ride-share use circumstances, and we possess validated consequence knowledge from our driver community to help constructing fashions for predicting demand throughout a number of ride-share providers,” Gridwise CEO and cofounder Ryan Inexperienced instructed VentureBeat.
It’s additionally value highlighting one other startup, referred to as Cargo, which has been serving to drivers earn further money by promoting stuff to passengers from their vehicles. It’s a very completely different proposition from Gridwise, after all, however the aim of serving to drivers earn extra money is similar. Uber formally partnered with Cargo final summer season, earlier than the latter went on to boost greater than $22 million from notable traders that embody Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.
So Gridwise, it appears, is onto one thing — the ride-hailing business is large and getting greater. And though the corporate’s seed extension is modest, it speaks volumes in regards to the facet industries cropping up across the mobile-focused transport networks supplied by the likes of Uber and Lyft.
“Because the business continues to vary and we’re seeing one of many largest gamers evolve post-IPO, we wished to supply our providers to much more drivers,” Inexperienced stated. “This announcement highlights our nationwide enlargement push in 2019.”
Whereas the additional funding will definitely assist Gridwise broaden throughout the U.S., the place it presently counts seven workers in its Pittsburgh HQ, Inexperienced stated that the corporate plans to put money into R&D efforts for the oncoming autonomous ride-hailing revolution and likewise has a minimum of one eye on markets elsewhere.
“After increasing our driver community within the U.S, we plan to launch into worldwide markets,” Inexperienced added.