The Ride-hailing Startups That Are Not Uber Or Lyft

While the category “ride-hailing startup” often conjures up the Big Two (Uber and Lyft) or woes about scooters, a recent deep dive in Crunchbase data revealed other players in the on-demand economy with paths to investment.

Including startups from a range of places—from Redwood City to Lagos to Boston to Gurgaon—the ride-sharing market is a global, entrepreneurial phenomenon.

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We looked at some of these startups because a.) they are finding a market in a seemingly monopolized industry, and b.) it’s fun to write about more than just Uber and Lyft.

Alive And Raising

Gokada, a motorbike-hailing transportation startup based in Lagos, Nigeria (note: in Nigeria, “okada” means small motorcycle) recently raised its Series A of $5.3 million. Using Gokada, people can request a driver to pick them up on a motorcycle bike,or hail one down on the street, and the driver will come with a helmet for passengers to wear.

The company has been around since January 2018, and claims it can get users to their destinations faster since, unlike regular ‘okadas’ they are able to travel on major roads, over bridges and on highways.

The company’s Series A was led by San Francisco’s Rise Capital.

Barcelona’s BusUp raised $3.1 million for corporate bus-sharing, targeted toward companies, event organizers and schools. Redwood City’s Zūm, which we reported raised $40 million last month for kids-to-school transportation, has $71 million fastened underneath its belt, according to Crunchbase data. Orahi, a Gurgaon, India-based company, raised $520,000 to help users get to their office and back through ride-hailing.

Other startups we’ve seen emerge focus on certain populations of people. For example, we spoke to Boston’s Safr and Melbourne’s Shebah, two startups focused on making those who identify as female feel safer in ride-sharing cars. Shebah raised $3 million through equity crowdfunding, and Safr claims it was close to announcing a funding round, but the company has not responded to our inquiries regarding the status of that funding.

Some That Shut Down

Obviously some startups struggled and closed. Eco-friendly startup, Rideshare 2.0, appears to have closed. G-Ride,  which promises to plant a tree with every ride taken through its app, has a website that isn’t loading, and its Twitter account hasn’t been active since August 2018. 

On a larger scale, who could forget Ford-backed Chariot shutting down in January. As our Jason D. Rowley then reported, the van sharing startup was acquired by Ford for $65 million, and shut down three years later.

The Bought

And finally, there are the startups that began small, and got swallowed up by the big ones. The most recent example is Careem, which Uber acquired for over $3 billion. There’s hundreds of small startups that are stepping out of Uber and Lyft shadow, and making their own path in the ride-hailing industry.

For now, none compare to the recently-public companies, but the fact that they’re getting interest shows us there might be a day that we see a trio, instead of a duo.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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