Can social networking encourage customers to share their cars? Let’s Ride hopes soPreethi Chamikutty
Update on October 15, 2014: Let's Ride has been selected by Omraan, a global startup competition that incubates idea solving urban problems.
An investor once told me that for a startup to be successful they have to be deeply involved in the space that they are starting up in. More insight they have of a sector, better their chance of success. So if Facebook and Google built their fortunes that way, then there are many entrepreneurs who spotted the option to turn entrepreneur by fixing age old problems in the society.
Let’s Ride falls in the second category. It wants to solve the traffic woes that plague our country by connecting driver to the rider, through their social networking platform. The idea is to get both these parties onto the social platform and entice them enough to post updates about their rides, every time they embark on the ride. On the other hand the rider should also be hooked onto Let’s Ride to a great extent to check out the site, before starting on a journey. Possible? Sure…but we think it’s a tall task!
Let’s Ride is the brainchild of Rajkumar Mundel, an electronics engineer from Pune, who has bootstrapped to start the venture. He has also done stints in Infosys & Oracle Financial Software before turning entrepreneur. Rajkumar is bullish that their platform will encourage people to share information about their rides, so that people who are travelling on the same routes are encouraged to come along. They are looking targeting the corporate, so that employees from a single company can post information about their rides on Let’s Ride and travel together. Private car/bike owners in the age group of 20-35 is the target audience for the site. Private car/bike owners travelling from the same society, car passengers seeking shared rides to far off place of work, same college students who wish to share rides and people doing intercity travels over the weekends are the people that Let’s ride has in mind.
Since starting in September this year, the Let’s Ride community has grown to 380 followers, and 30 people have updated their commute details with them. Users can search for rides and if people have listed rides on the route they want to travel, they can connect with them and go ahead.
After riding, these members are encouraged to comment on the site about their experience of the ride. Hastags like #Reviews #Bad or #Review #Good helps future users understand and then decide on whether they should take up the option or no. “Users can create their own ride-sharing network and make it visible to people whom he care. We are targeting companies for awareness about ride sharing and it can help reduce traffic on roads,” explains Rajkumar.
Let’s Ride is currently dependent on word-of-mouth and social marketing for publicity. And the three member team also participates in startup events wearing loud hats to get attention. “We are here to first build community which encourages people to go for a shared ride. Without social media, it will be almost impossible to reach out to the people,” admits Rajkumar. Customers can avail the Let’s Ride services free of cost, while the revenue stream for the venture will be through ads on site, collaboration with corporate to make the Let’s Ride option attractive to its employees. Customers who register on site will also be charged a verification cost before they can get listed.
However changing people’s behavior and making car owners allow strangers to travel in their car is an uphill task. Rajkumar is hoping the social network formula -- which we are all used to by now – will help change this user behavior and encourage adoption. Here’s hoping the idea meets with enough enthusiasm among customers and can really help reduce the traffic congestion on roads.
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