20 Nov GrabHitch competitor, Singapore carpool app Ryde raises $1m seed round
Ryde, which describes itself as a social enterprise that promotes carpooling as a sustainable alternative for daily commute, Friday announced that it had secured $1 million in seed round funding from “strategic angel and private investors.” Carpooling services see a market in Singapore, as the city-state ranks among the costliest countries in the world to own a car.
The announcement by Ryde comes within days of Southeast Asia’s largest taxi-hailing app, GrabTaxi, that is backed by SoftBank, launching its carpooling service, beginning with Singapore.
Ryde plans to deploy the capital to scale its application for expansion into overseas markets. Founded by Terence Zou, a Harvard Business School graduate whose background lies in finance and hedge funds.
Zou observed that the commuting and road congestion problems in Singapore could be resolved by connecting with and engaging private drivers. To achieve this, the app uses GPS technology and a proprietary algorithm to match drivers to riders.
Since RYDE was launched in April this year, it has built traction and claims it has a user base in excess of 10,000 to date. Certified by the Singapore Centre of Social Enterprise, RYDE was also one of the first companies to be featured under DBS Bank’s Asia-for-Good programme as an emerging social enterprise.
Zou said. “We are part of the sharing economy. We allow people access to a car without the need to own one. We help solve a pressing problem today by optimising resources. We fill empty seats, build communities and reduce congestion. We seek to be the Airbnb of transportation.”
Ryde has also reached out to corporations like DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, as well as tertiary institutions such as NUS and NTU, which have promoted it among staff and student communities.
In a release, Aviva’s head of general insurance, Pan Jing Long, commented on its partnership with Ryde, saying: “Aviva is happy to work with RYDE to promote a more eco-friendly alternative while forging a closer community.”