You may have never heard of Oscar Salazar, but you might recognise him by the design of Ride, his new ride-sharing app for commuters.
Salazar was Uber’s founding CTO and third cofounder alongside Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. Salazar and Camp attended business school together; the pair built Uber’s first prototype with another school friend, Conrad Whelan. Salazar departed the company amicably soon after it launched.
Ride, where Salazar is the Chief Technology and Product Officer, is a logistics company like Uber and Lyft. It even uses a similar map design layout and tracks nearby cars like Uber does.
But the service is much more niche; it’s focused solely on commuters and carpooling and it wants to create efficiency there, particularly in places where public transportation is not readily available. It works by matching a company’s employees — people who likely have their own cars but want to save money by riding together — with coworkers who share similar commutes.
Companies sign up to use Ride. Then employees download the app and input their addresses and car types. Users can opt to become drivers, passengers or both.
Ride uses an algorithm to pairs users based on where they’re going and what time they’re leaving for work. Typically, the person who lives the furthest away becomes the driver and uses directions on the app to pick up coworkers.
Instead of a driver getting commission from the ride like on Uber and Lyft, Ride collects a small fee — $US0.12 per mile for each passenger — which is given to the driver to cashlessly reimburse his or her expenses.
If a commuter doesn’t like the carpool they’re placed in, they can decline it and Ride’s algorithm will choose another one. Ride is only available on iOS right now.
“We optimise the system and we can always find the best routes for you and also for your colleagues,” Salazar told Business Insider. “We want your commute to be as smooth as possible while saving as much as you can.”
Both Uber and Lyft have their own carpooling services: UberPool and Lyft Line. Ride is hoping to become part of a user’s daily routine, not a one-off, money-saving solution. As such, it proactively bills users daily unless they select an “I’m Not Riding Today” button to opt out.
Ride believes it will help companies reach their sustainability goals and improve carbon footprints. Commuting together means fewer cars on the road.
“We’re very excited about what potential this represents,” Ride’s CEO Ann Fandozzi says. “The way Oscar and his team are building the technology is really infinitely scalable, to meet the needs of corporations and commuters along the way.” The company, which launched at the end of 2014, says it’s already grown its customer base to more than 3,000 users.
TPG Growth, which also invested in Uber, owns the majority of Ride. Ashton Kutcher is a Ride investor too. The company’s CEO is Ann Fandozzi, who was previously an executive for companies including Ford and DaimlerChrysler.