Pittsburgh Startup Gridwise Rolls Out In Washington DC
As my 9 year old and I got into a Lyft drivers car in Baltimore Maryland over the weekend I realized that she will grow up thinking it’s totally normal to just jump into somebody’s car and go for a ride. For me, that fueled a discussion about riding with strangers, ride hailing apps, and Uber and Lyft. Luckily she’s been an edtech reporter for the last three years so she was able to follow along. We realized she’s never been in a “real” taxicab.
Ride hailing apps are everywhere. Between Washington DC and Baltimore there are over 40,000 of them in a region dubbed “the DMV”. Although I drive a car, in many situations it’s easier just to get an Uber or a Lyft rather than waste the time frustrated with traffic and struggling to find parking.
When you use ride hailing services as often as I do thoughts pour through your brain, like there’s an Orioles game tonight so I’ll bet if I walk two more blocks it will be easy and quick to hail an Uber. Maybe there’s a big convention in town that may mean longer wait times. All of this goes through my brain as I’m trying to be strategic about ride hailing. This same information, if laid out in an app, would be extremely useful for drivers. Like cab stands of an earlier day, data could tell Uber, Lyft and other ride hailing drivers, where to go when they drop off their latest rider.
That’s exactly what the founders of Gridwise thought as they started building their startup in Pittsburgh. The Alphalab graduates nabbed up $25,000 from the accelerator and another $450,000 from Duolingo co-founders Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, seed investor Innovation Works and others.
Gridwise takes real time data as well as event information, trends and other info and consolidates it for drivers in an easy to understand dashboard app. In other words, Gridwise shows drivers the best places to go to make more money driving.
With the DC areas vast number of ride hailing drivers, the regions dense population and pop up events like protests and such, DC was the ideal area to test out Gridwise and that’s exactly where they decided to go.
Gridwise doesn’t charge drivers for their services yet. They are working on revenue models like premium features and subscriptions. But they probably won’t have any trouble making money from drivers. A DC area driver told the Washington Business Journal that they made an extra $120 in one week using info from Gridwise.
Drive for a ride hailing service? Check out Gridwise, here.