Archive | October 2012

New Safety Feature: Anonymous Phone Numbers

Some of you may have noticed recently that any calls you received from SideCar drivers or riders have been coming from a single number.  We’ve been working on a brand new feature to enhance safety and privacy within the SideCar community:  phone number anonymization.

After a week of testing, we’re thrilled to announce that our anonymous number feature is fully baked and rolled out.

What this means:

  • Any calls between drivers and riders within the SideCar community are routed through a centralized phone number.
  • Neither rider nor driver phone numbers are ever revealed to one another.
  • Calls made to the SideCar number outside of booked trips are automatically routed to SideCar support, who are eager and ready to assist.
  • Our new system also provides anonymous SMS between riders and drivers during the life of a trip.

We think this is an awesome way to preserve privacy and enhance safety while keeping the SideCar community moving.

Let us know what you think!

Ride on,

The SideCar Team

Help Us Find San Francisco’s 500th Driver and Get $500!

We gave our first ride back in February.  Since then, over 400 amazing drivers have joined the SideCar San Francisco community!

With new drivers coming online every week, we’re on track to welcome “Driver 500” real soon.  To celebrate, we’re offering $500 in SideCar ride credit to anyone who refers the lucky 500th driver!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Send your friends to www.side.cr/fivehundo
  2. During the video interview, Jeff will ask “How did you hear about us?” Make sure your friends drop your name!
  3. Kick back and wait.  If your friend is accepted as SideCar’s 500th San Francisco driver, we’ll drop $500 in SideCar ride credit right into your account!

And if your friends are wondering how awesome it really is to drive for SideCar, just show them this video.

And remember, when you drive with SideCar, you do it whenever you want.  We don’t set schedules and you get to rock your own style.  It’s the way community should be.

Thanks and good luck!

Team SideCar

And while you’re at it, don’t forget we’re offering $100 credits for any Seattle driver referrals who drive during the month of November!

Calling All Seattle Drivers!

Hey SideCar Community,

It is with incredible excitement that we announce a new addition to the SideCar family:

@SideCarSEA

To celebrate our upcoming Seattle launch (and spread some love) we’ve put together a little offer for our favorite peeps in the world, you:

Refer a Seattle driver and receive $100 in SideCar ride credit if they drive during the month of November. 

Okay, awesome.  “So, how do I get my money?!”

  1. Send your Seattle pals to www.side.cr/seadrive
  2. During the video interview, Jeff will ask, “How did you hear about us?”  Make sure your friends drop your name!
  3. Kick back and wait for them to give their first ride. Once they do, we’ll set you up with $100 in ride credit*

It’s that simple.  We look forward to bringing the SideCar magic to your friends in The Emerald City!

Ride on,

The SideCar Team

PS:  To get a glimpse of how awesome it is to drive for SideCar, check this out.

*In order to redeem credits, your referred driver must pass SideCar’s vetting and activation process and give at least one ride in Seattle before November 30, 2012.  Credits will be applied directly to your SideCar account.  You must have a SideCar account to receive credits.

SideCar Community Driver of the Week – Howard

Howard is a family man. He is married with two sons, all of whom live in San Francisco.

And back in the day, “I worked in rock ‘n’ roll for years,” Howard said. “I helped produce live shows all over San Francisco, and I travelled with Bon Jovi as a cameraman for a little bit.”

Currently, he and his wife, Sharon, own and operate ProactiveParenting.net, which helps educate parents about non-reactive ways to correct child behavior. Sharon is a professional parenting educator and author, and Howard runs the website. Their two sons work in tech – one at Ustream and the other at TrialPay.

“I use SideCar to step away from my work and cruise around the city talking to people. When you work from home, it’s nice to get out once in awhile. I’ve had some really good conversations with passengers. Every passenger is awesome.”

I asked Howard if he’d had any interesting experiences with passengers, and this is one of several amazing stories.

Recently, a young woman pinged Howard for a ride. He picks her up, the normal conversation ensues, and after a few seconds they discover that they’re both from Philadelphia. And it just so happens that the passenger’s mother graduated from the same highschool as Howard.

“I have to call her!” says the passenger. She gets her mother on the phone, and though they didn’t know each other directly, they shared a handful of friends.

“I couldn’t believe I was reconnecting with someone 3,000 miles away, just because I happened to give her daughter a ride,” said Howard.

At the end of the nostalgic banter, the mother says, “So… How do you know my daughter??” They both laugh and the passenger says, “Don’t worry Mom, I’ll explain SideCar later.”

SideCar Community Driver of the Week – Eddy

Meet our good friend; his name is Eddy.  He was born and raised in San Francisco, lived in Vancouver for a stint, and he currently resides in Glen Park.  Eddy has been driving with SideCar since August, and he’s been quite popular within the driving community ever since.

When he isn’t cruising around town in his Acura, Eddy co-manages a dog grooming business in West Portal named The Dog Spa.  “We are big dog lovers,” he says.  Though he cares for all types of dogs, Eddy owns a miniature Schnauzer and a Pomeranian.

In his spare time he enjoys online gaming, fishing, tennis and travelling. As a matter of fact, he’s heading to Cancun next week to soak up a little sunshine on the beach.

“I’ve discovered tons of good restaurants from passengers,” says Eddy.  “All passengers are unique.  You get to hear some really good stories.”

It’s Go Time

Today we announced that we have raised a Series A round of $10 million from Lightspeed and Google Ventures.

It’s great to be working with these two firms to help build SideCar.  Justin Caldbeck from Lightspeed has a lot of experience with two-sided markets through his work helping TaskRabbit and GrubHub.  We are looking forward to his insight and help as a member of the board.  Joe Kraus from Google Ventures has built several successful companies and knows transportation from his investment in RelayRides.  We expect to lean on his experience and others at Google as we build SideCar.

We will use the funds for three goals.  Expand the team.  We are currently just under 20 people and we expect to roughly double in size with more amazing people.  Expand the product offering.  We will make SideCar even more awesome to the point that it becomes like magic.  Finally, we will take the SideCar love that we developed here in San Francisco and bring it to the world.

A big thanks goes out to the SideCar community… drivers, passengers and supporters.  We have done something amazing together.  A volunteer network has built a new transportation service in a major city.   It’s an awesome thing to be a part of and we’re just getting started.

Ride on!

Sunil Paul

CEO, SideCar

SideCar’s Cease and Desist From the PUC


Here’s a copy of the actual Cease & Desist issued to SideCar, LLC by the California Public Utilities Commission in August, 2012.

SideCar Joins the Cease and Desist Club

In August of this year, the California Public Utilities Commission informed SideCar that to the extent its services qualify as a “charter-party carrier”, the company must cease and desist such operations.   To the contrary, SideCar is a first-to-market donation-based rideshare platform that connects regular riders who need a ride with regular drivers willing to give a ride. Payment is voluntary, drivers and riders are vetted for safety, and drivers use the extra cash to help offset the costs of their vehicles.  SideCar is not a charter-party carrier.

We designed our platform from the beginning to facilitate a voluntary rideshare community that allows both drivers and riders complete choice in connecting with one another.  Unlike other “rideshare” apps out there, SideCar requires that passengers include their destination when they make a request, so that drivers can make an informed decision about whether picking them up makes sense for them or not.  Drivers can always accept or reject rides as they choose.  We do not put drivers on “shifts” or compensate them with wages or other consulting fees.  The SideCar community is an organic one, people helping people get around safely, conveniently and socially.

Further, SideCar’s voluntary donation system is working.  Rather than “suggested donations”, the SideCar app provides a “community average”, which is a true reflection of what others are donating for similar trips.  To-date, approximately 1% of all rides have resulted in a $0 donation.  This is important.  Drivers using the SideCar app do not set prices and are not operating as “cars for hire.”

We understand that the PUC has valid concerns about the safety and fairness of transportation options available to consumers.  In fact, we have been meeting regularly with the PUC to discuss those concerns and how SideCar is addressing them.  Those discussions have been productive and encouraging. We will continue to operate as those discussions continue.

We feel that now is an important time to call attention to the larger question of how well our current regulatory structure is allowing technological and social innovation to thrive and provide better, safer and more convenient solutions for our citizens.  This is not just about SideCar.  This is about our right to share with one another.

We are at an inflection point in history where ubiquitous GPS-enabled smartphone technology and social networking are giving us the opportunity to collaborate with one another – as peers – on a massive everyday level to share assets, time, services and knowledge.  Anyone who uses Airbnb, Getaround, RelayRides, Taskrabbit, Yelp, eBay or any of a thousand other marketplaces built on social trust already understands this. We can now trust one another, through online reputations and the social graph, enough to share resources, to provide for one another, and to give rides to each other without institutions created during the industrial age having to step in.

As a leader in this movement, by being the first to effectively provide a workable real-time ridesharing solution, SideCar is naturally receiving some high profile attention by regulators.  We are not surprised by this and we are prepared to address any such concerns.

We look forward to a healthy, productive discussion with the PUC.  Ultimately, we intend, in the long run, to protect the rights of everyone involved with the sharing economy, which is growing dramatically by the day.  We believe collaborative consumption is the path forward to a better world with less congestion, more convenience and, most importantly, a better sense of connection with each other.

This is the information age.  The tools we have to connect are better and brighter than ever before.  Let’s use them to our advantage and prosper.

A Truly Eventful Weekend in SF

This weekend our amazing city will host two Giants games, a 49ers game, America’s Cup, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Decompression, the Castro Street Fair, the Italian Heritage Parade, and last but not least, Fleet Week. Whoa.

Wherever your weekend takes you, know there’s an awesome SideCar driver nearby who wants to help you move about town. While we’ll have more drivers on the road than ever before, keep in mind that traffic is going to be NUTS, and we may get a lil’ busy. So hang with us and we’ll be there asap.

Pro Tip: When requesting a ride from a crowded area, set your pickup location a few blocks away from the madness, and walk that direction while confirming your request. If you’re not a master of multitasking, ask a friend for help.

Here are a few ideas for pickup locations near each event.  (Hint: the stars are you, duh):

Double Pro Tip: Capitalize on the madness and become a SideCar community driver!
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