04 Dec Shut up and Ryde: This Airbnb-style app promotes carpooling to solve transport woes
It has raised $1.5m in less than a year.
Like many commuters in Singapore, Terence Zou has had many experiences of the city’s occasional transport woes. Two Christmases ago, when he decided to leave his car at home during a shopping trip to Orchard Road, he was left stranded in town for a few hours not getting a taxi with all his shopping in tow as many empty cabs passed him by. He then thought to himself that there was clearly an optimisation problem and there must be a solution.
Enter Ryde, a local carpool app which was launched in April and has already raised $1.5 million in its seed-round funding recently. The application uses GPS technology to connect drivers and passengers going the same way. Ryde provides a sustainable alternative to solve the congestion and pollution issues facing cities today. It aims to make the sharing economy become a reality by forging closer communities. It also aims at transforming the daily commute, one ride at a time, using technology and leveraging on the power of social networks.
“The public transportation system in Singapore, trains, buses and taxis cannot handle the surge in demand during peak hours. RYDE aims to solve this problem by providing an alternative way to move around Singapore and also a great way to reduce our carbon footprint!,” said Terence.
Terence explained that with carpooling, it is something that benefits everyone. For riders, it offers a social, eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative. For drivers, this helps to offset the cost of petrol and parking. Sharing rides helps drivers save more while they do the right thing.
Ryde team started with a humble office and an idea. Terence mentioned that they were fortunate to assemble a group of investors who has given them additional resources to work on a product that they know can transform the lives of everyone.
Terence: “I have no regrets.”
As a Singaporean Harvard graduate, Terence is a strong believer of the sharing economy, where people access a wide range of products and services without actually owning them. Prior to RYDE, he worked in investment banking, hedge funds and private equity. Apart from a career in finance industry, Terence has also been passionate about teaching and sharing his experience with others. He has taught finance and economics at various institutions including the National University of Singapore and SIM University.
Terence shared that some people described him crazy when he left his previous stable job and traded it for a life in start-up. But as for him, life is never rosy in a start-up with all the challenges that it brings. But working on a meaningful cause with a great team is what keeps them all going and that he have no regrets.
“On a few occasions, we have gone out as a team to distribute flyers late into the night because that’s when all the cars are parked at home. Sometimes, we were told “politely” to leave for some car parks under private management and on one occasion even chased by a pack of dogs! But we kept pushing. Distributing flyers has turned out to be a great team bonding activity,” Terence added.
As a certified social enterprise, Ryde is actively looking for corporate and institutional partners to join them to raise awareness of carpooling. Terence said that they have plans to expand overseas which they will announce details soon.