Bird Scooter Riders

Bird Platform: How to Manage Your Own Scooter Fleet with Bird

Since launching about a year ago, Bird, a popular scootershare company, has already clocked more than 10 million rides and expanded to more than 100 cities. Now, the company is expanding its offering with a new opportunity for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to develop their own fleet of sharable e-scooters.

In late November, Bird Rides launched the Bird Platform.

The new Bird Platform enables entrepreneurs to make money managing their own fleet of shared e-scooters using Bird’s resources. This program offers a great opportunity for business-savvy individuals who want to make a little money on the side or established business owners who want to expand their services.

If this sounds like the kind of opportunity you want to take advantage of, you’ll want to understand how the platform works and how you can get started with your own fleet. Below is a quick guide that covers all you need to know about the new Bird Platform.

Bird Platform: How It Works

The basic logistics of the platform are simple.

Bird provides you with scooters at cost and access to the company’s marketplace of chargers and mechanics. As an independent operator, you run your own fleet complete with your own branding. You can also decide whether to utilize Bird chargers and mechanics or use your own resources.

Purchasing Branded Scooters

As an independent operator, you can purchase the e-scooters directly from Bird at cost.

These will be their Bird Zero model scooters, which have 60 percent more battery life, better durability, and increased ride stability when compared to the earlier model.


There are no minimum or maximum number of scooters you need to purchase as part of your fleet.

However, keep in mind any local regulations that dictate the number of scooters allowed on the streets.

For example, in San Francisco, the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency has put a cap on the number of scooters permitted on the roads. And they have actually denied Bird a permit to operate within the city limits at all.

Once you’ve purchased the scooters, you’ll need to create your own branding to set yourself apart from other scooter companies in your area. After developing your unique branding, simply upload your logo to the Bird Platform and select your sleeve color. According to Bird, you cover the cost of city permits, and they’ll “do the rest.”

Managing Your E-Scooter Fleet

Once you have purchased your fleet of e-scooters, you’ll get everything you need to manage the machines through the Bird Platform.

In addition to the freedom to brand your scooter fleet however you please, Bird will also help you run your scooters from your very own customized app. The scooters are delivered to you “map-ready,” meaning that they are already equipped with the latest in GPS, anti-theft technology, and GovTech.

All independent operators will have access to Bird’s Open Map API. This allows them to display their scooters on the Bird map where riders will be able to see available scooters to reserve.

Bird Scooters - Find a Bird Nearby


Since Bird is already a popular scooter rental app for consumers, allowing independent operators to display their scooters on the Bird app will help drive additional business for these entrepreneurs and business owners.

The Bird Platform will also make it easy for independent operators to market their business through a customized website. You can add your own branding and information to the site and begin to use this as a marketing tool for your scooter fleet. And you can manage it all from one easy to use platform through Bird.

bird e-scooter fleet


Accessing the Charger & Mechanic Marketplace

When you become an independent operator with Bird, you also have access to an extensive marketplace of chargers and mechanics for your e-scooter fleet. Having access to the Bird charger and mechanic apps enables you to easily get all the tools and resources you need to streamline your business and more efficiently manage and maintain your fleet of e-scooters.

Independent operators will be able to set their own pay rate for chargers to maintain their scooters. This means you have more control over your bottom line. Not to mention, you also have the ability to charge the scooters yourself as a way to save money. In fact, those who currently work as chargers for Bird may be the ideal candidates to become independent operators as they will be able to maximize their earnings doing the same task.

Operating Fees

In addition to initial start-up costs of purchasing the Bird-designed e-scooters, Bird will also charge a service fee for each ride. This service fee covers all of the benefits Bird provides its independent operators, including the ability to buy reliable scooters at cost; use of the Bird Platform, which makes e-scooter fleet management easy; access to the network of chargers and mechanics; and listing on Bird’s Open Map API. This service fee will amount to 20 percent of the ride cost.

Other costs involved include the cost of maintenance. Again, you have the ability to charge the scooters yourself or pay chargers on Bird’s charger network. The best option for you will depend on your own individual needs and circumstances. You’ll also need to consider mechanic fees. Though you have access to the network of Bird mechanics through their app, you may also outsource this work or complete it yourself, depending on your own needs and preferences.

How to Get Started With Your Own Bird Scooter Fleet

Bird has just launched the Bird Platform and is beginning the rollout in select cities this month.

According to Bird, more than 300 entrepreneurs and business owners have already started to show interest in this opportunity. As it’s currently only available in a few markets, they are currently asking those who want to become independent operators to sign up to join the Bird Platform waitlist.


on demand apps sharing economy

Uber Scooters Make The Jump, Softbank Moves With Toyota – This Week In On Demand

This Week In On Demand – October 5, 2018

Welcome to the first edition of This Week In On Demand, Rideshare Central’s roundup of the biggest news stories from the sharing economy. Every Friday, we’ll be recapping key new investments, company partnerships, new hires, and major app updates.

This week, we’ve got IPO news, some partnerships, and a whole lot of scooters.

Lyft IPO news and diversity report

It looks like J.P. Morgan will be Lyft’s lead underwriter for it’s IPO. Lyft has also retained IPO advisory firm Class V Group LLC, and is targeting an IPO date of late Q1 2019. The company seems to be in a good position for their IPO, more than doubling their revenue in the first half of 2018, to $909 million.

Lyft also released it’s second annual diversity report. Overall, the report is a mixed bag. African Americans, Asians, and Latinx or Hispanics, all make up a larger percentage of Lyft’s workforce now than in 2017. However, women now actually make up a smaller percentage (40% vs. 42%) of Lyft’s workforce than last year. However, they’re still ahead of Google (31%) and Apple (32%) in this area.


Lyft Diversity Chart Ethnicity 2018


Lyft Diversity Chart Ethnicity 2017

Taxify gets Google Maps integration

You can now order a ride from Taxify, the rideshare startup competing with Uber in Europe, Africa, and Australia, through Google Maps (outside the U.S.). The Estonian rideshare startup rolled out the service in 16 countries. This should level the playing field with Uber, which has had Google Maps integration since 2016.

While Taxify has no plans to enter the U.S. market, the company currently operates in about 30 countries. Last year, they took investment from, and entered into a strategic partnership with Didi, the Chinese rideshare giant. The company also recently closed a $175 million funding round led by Daimler and Korelya Capital, that valued the company at $1 Billion. Didi was a returning investor for this most recent funding round. With that sort of backing, Taxify looks set to take the battle to Uber across Africa, Australia, and Europe.

Upwork has it’s IPO.

Upwork, the on demand freelancer company, went public on Wednesday at $15 per share. The price shot up about 50% at the open, to $23 per share, but gave back some of those gains before closing at $21.18 per share.

The company connects buyers and sellers of services that run the gamut from social media management, to translation services, to business plan writing. Upwork was formed from the merger of Elance and Odesk back in 2014. While that merger process has been turbulent, Upwork has seen strong revenue growth over the past year. However, the company is currently unprofitable, and should remain so, since it’s expenses are currently growing faster than revenue.

Uber’s Jump escooters join the fray

Uber’s first Jump escooters hit the sidewalks this week, launching on Wednesday in Santa Monica. Uber acquired the bikesharing start up Jump earlier this year for a rumored price of around $200 million. The Santa Monica pilot will involve 250 Jump escooters, to go along with the 500 Jump ebikes they already operate in the city. Uber was one of four companies awarded permits for the Santa Monica pilot.

When it comes to escooters though, it looks like Uber may be playing a bit of catch up. Main rival Lyft launched their scooter pilot last month in Denver. Lyft was also granted one of the coveted Santa Monica permits, and have already been operating there for a couple of weeks. Bird and Lime are also a part of the Santa Monica pilot. The escooter wars have officially begun!

GM and Honda team up to build an autonomous vehicle

Honda is investing and partnering with General Motor’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise Holdings. Under the deal, Honda will take a 5.7% stake in the subsidiary, investing $750 million immediately, and an additonal $2.05 billion over the next 12 years.

Honda’s investment values Cruise Holdings at just shy of $15 billion, roughly a third of the total market cap of GM. GM previously invested $500 million in Lyft, but that partnership seems to have cooled as the Lyft – Waymo partnership has strengthened. Currently, GM and Lyft have no active projects together.

Softbank and Toyota are forming a mobility services joint venture.

Toyota and Softbank are forming a new company, Monet Technologies, with an initial investment of $18 million. The company will develop a software platform for autonomous vehicles that can be used by businesses and consumers alike.

The joint venture makes a lot of sense. Softbank collects a lot of data from phones and other Internet of Things devices. By coordinating this data with Toyota’s data from it’s connected vehicles program, the new company hopes to create an ecosystem with services and products suited for a world where most people don’t own their own cars anymore.


Got some news from the on demand app world? Send us the scoop here.

Jump Bikes App

Jump Bikes App – Guide To The Electric Bike Service

Jump Bikes: The Guide to the Electric Bike Share Service

A Brooklyn-based startup founded in 2010, Jump Bikes was the first dockless company to roll out e-bikes, offering advantages to cities and citizens alike. Uber bought Jump in 2018 for about $200 million as part of their dedication to greener initiatives. Besides being convenient and affordable for riders, this rideshare opportunity is more accessible and friendlier for cities. Although this bikeshare company has put a new spin on the idea of ridesharing, it is still relatively unknown, so here’s a comprehensive guide to the bike sharing program.

What Are Jump Bikes?

Jump Bikes is a bikeshare company that gives users an easy way to rent a bike for anything from tourism to commuting. Available on a grab-and-go basis, this bike rental program is completely dockless; simply locate a bike in your area, unlock it, and use it for a small fee. Afterward, leave the bike at the end of your journey for the next person who needs it.

The convenient process costs only $2 for 30 minutes, so renting the bike doesn’t mean taking a financial hit. Any time over the initial 30 minutes is charged at a prorated fee of 7 cents per minute. This superior rideshare option also helps you avoid the hassle and expense of bike ownership, including the price of purchasing the bike, maintenance fees, and the problem of storage.

After Uber purchased Jump Bikes, the company integrated Jump Bikes into its app with Uber Bike. This means you’re able to rent your Jump Bike directly through the Uber app. While it is not yet available for all riders, Uber plans to roll the functionality out to all its users over time, making the bike rental process smoother and easier than ever. You can still complete your bike rental directly in the Jump app if Uber Bike is not available in your area.

Meet the Bike

Jump Bike Side View

Jump Bikes features innovative bikes that sport an eye-catching style, optimal comfort, and a smooth ride. With perfected hardware and software, Jump bikes include:

  • An e-assist motor. The 250W motor adds power to your ride so you can tackle challenging terrain with ease. Boosting you up to 20 mph when you pedal, the electrified ride will easily get you where you need to go faster.
  • Powerful brakes. These brakes will keep your bike in check on treacherous hills.
  • A skirt guard. The back wheel of the bike is encased in a convenient skirt guard, which protects your clothes from getting caught in the wheel and minimizes the risk of dirtying your shoes and clothes.
  • Night lights. With a headlight and a tail light, this bike’s safety-first design means you won’t have to worry about riding at night.

Where Are Jump Bikes Available?

With an expanding base, Jump Bikes are available in cities across the country. Currently, you’ll be able to take advantage of Jump Bikes’ rideshare program in the following cities:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Sacramento, California
  • Santa Cruz, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • New York City, NY

How to Rent a Jump Bike

Now that you’ve seen exactly how convenient and affordable Jump Bikes can be, here’s how to rent a Jump Bike for your next adventure.

Download the app. Getting this app means you’ll have access to everything Jump Bike, including locations of bikes, payment options, and helpful GPS routes to get you where you need to go. Simply download the app on your phone and plug in your information.

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Find a bike. After installing the Jump Bike app, you’ll have access to a map that shows you exactly where bikes are in real time and gives you directions to the nearest available ones.

Jump Bikes - Find Bike

Reserve Your Bike. Tap a bike to select it. This will let you know the percentage charge of each bike. This way, you can choose one that won’t run out of charge in the middle of your ride. On a full charge, the bike will travel 30 to 40 miles. When ready, click reserve.

Jump Bikes App - Reserve Bike

Unlock your rental. Once you locate the bike and walk to it, the app will give you a four-digit pin that you can use on the electronic lock, releasing the bike. Then, you can begin your ride.

Pedal away. The e-assist motor feature of the Jump Bike gives you added power on your daily commute or sightseeing trip. If you want to stop for any reason along the way but don’t want to give up your rental, press HOLD and lock the bike to the nearest street sign or bike rack. When you return, enter the four-digit pin and get straight back to pedaling.

Lock up. Because Jump Bikes are completely dockless, you’ll be able to leave the bike at your destination. Just make sure you use the bike’s convenient lock to secure it within the system area at a hub or bike rack for the next person who comes along. You will be charged $25 for leaving the bike out of the system area.

Check your stats. The app also includes a user profile section that gives you access to trip statistics. These may include dollars saved, miles traveled, and calories burned along with the CO2 reduced thanks to your decision to bike. These statistics and your trip map can be shared with friends on the app as well as exported to other social media.

Rent Jump Bikes From The Uber App

To rent a Jump Bikes from within the Uber rider app, simply click the main menu button in the upper left hand corner of the app. Then, select “Bike” and follow the instructions to reserve a bike.

Jump Bikes Uber App Integration

Social Bicycles

Another option Jump Bikes offers is Social Bicycles, a service that features 15,000 non-electric bikes and is available in more than 40 markets. A popular choice, Social Bicycles boasts upward of 5 million trips taken.

With smart-bike technology, these bikes are dockless and feature integrated and enclosed components, similar to the construction of the electric jump bikes. The bikes also sport grip shifters with three different speeds as well as real-time GPS, communication, and geo-tag technologies, which allow you to easily locate the nearest bike when you need a ride. You can even place a reservation on a bike if you know you’ll need to catch a ride at a specific time.

The fees for Social Bicycles are reasonable and vary depending on where you live. You can either elect to pay as you go with a prorated pricing model that charges per hour plus an activation fee or subscribe to a monthly or yearly membership. With a membership, you’ll get a certain amount of time free every day (which is ideal for commuters). Unlike other programs that use escalating overage charges, any overage time is charged at a flat per-hour rate.

Make the Most of Jump Bikes

The next time you have to get across town but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, take advantage of the convenient and affordable jump bikes in your city. Whether you’re a tourist exploring the area or a local commuter trying to avoid the traffic, Jump Bikes gives you the opportunity to forego car travel without subjecting yourself to any discomfort. Simply download the app today to experience this rideshare option.

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rent bird scooters

Quickstart Guide To Bird Scooters: How To Rent And Charge

Your Thorough Guide to Bird Scooter Rentals

The bikeshare industry is evolving, and electric scooters are an obvious next step in that evolution. There are a few different scooter rental companies that have entered the market in recent months, and one of the most successful is Bird. The company offers opportunities for riders as well as individuals who want to boost their income. Take a closer look at the company, what they offer, and how you can be a part of it, below.

Everything You Need to Know About Bird Scooter Rentals

Bird scooters have grown quickly in popularity, but electric scooter rentals are a very new service. As a result, most people don’t know much about Bird or how their rental services work. Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a Bird scooter rider:

What Are Bird Scooters?

Founded in 2017, Bird specializes in electronic scooter rentals only. Through Bird’s app, riders can locate available scooters in their area and rent them for easy traveling. The equipment is dockless, so you’re able to ride right up to where you’re going and leave the scooter at your destination, instead of finding a charger dock.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Bird Scooter?

Bird offers a very straightforward pricing arrangement. There’s an initial $1 fee for each electric scooter rental, and then you’ll pay 15 cents for every minute you use the scooter. Considering the speed and convenience of Bird’s scooter rentals, the combination of base fare and per minute fee results in a highly affordable mode of transportation for short trips.

What Are the Benefits of Bird Scooters?

Electric scooters are a fantastic way to get through your city. Choosing to travel by Bird electric scooter offers many benefits, including:

  • Convenience: The Bird scooter app makes it incredibly easy to find scooters near you, and the unlocking process is quick and painless.
  • Speed: Bird scooters are designed to reach speeds of up to 15 mph, which means you can get where you’re going quickly.
  • Affordability: Bird scooter rentals are also inexpensive. Considering their speed and availability, riders are able to reach the destinations quickly, which keeps their overall costs low.
  • Eco-Friendliness: The scooter rentals are also an eco-friendly transportation option. They run on electricity, which is associated with lower carbon emissions than gas or diesel. The equipment is also designed to operate efficiently, so no energy is wasted.

With so many benefits, foot transportation could become a thing of your past.

Where Are Bird Electric Scooters Available?

The electric scooter rental scene is fairly new, so it’s no surprise that Bird is only available in a few locations. However, the success of their current operation areas is leading the company to expand rapidly. As of today, Bird electric scooters are available in the following cities:

  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • San Antonio
  • Oakland
  • San Diego
  • San Jose
  • Los Angeles
  • Atlanta
  • Indianapolis
  • Baltimore
  • Charlotte
  • Memphis
  • Salt Lake City
  • Arlington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Milwaukee

As you can see, the majority of their operational centers are in large metropolitan areas. In the near future, you can expect to find Bird in major cities all over the country. Smaller cities and college towns are likely to be in the second round of expansions after Bird enters each state.

How to Rent a Bird Electric Scooter


Bird Scooters - Find a Bird Nearby


Renting a Bird scooter is fairly easy. First, you need to download the Bird app, which is available on the iTunes store and Google Play. After you open the app, it’ll prompt you to create an account. You’ll also need to enter your payment information before accessing the service. You’ll find this option at the top of the main menu. To get started with a free ride on Bird (up to $5), click the button below.

Join Bird


On the main page of the app, you’ll see a map that indicates your position in relation to nearby scooters, or “Birds,” as the company calls them. You’ll also be able to view the current battery level of each scooter before you choose one.


Bird Scooters - QR Code Unlock


After you’ve located a scooter nearby, you tap the symbol on the screen to choose it. Then you’ll focus your phone camera on the QR code, which is located on the handlebar, to verify the scooter, before hitting “Unlock.” The first time you utilize a Bird scooter rental, the app will also require you to take a picture of your driver’s license.

Once your scooter is rented, it’s time to ride. On the left side of the handlebar, you’ll see the brake handle, and on the right side, a throttle button. To start the system, you’ll use foot power. Three strong pushes will wake up the scooter, and then the rest of the power is provided by the throttle button. Be sure to only operate the scooter in bike lanes and not on sidewalks.

After completing your journey, tap the “Lock” button in the Bird app. You can park the scooter with the kickstand and leave it near the entrance of your destination. It’s best to avoid blocking walkways and sidewalks, so look for a safe location that’s easy to access for other riders.

Everything You Need to Know About Being a Bird Charger

Since Bird’s electric scooters are dockless, they need to be charged regularly. To aid in this effort, the company employs contractors known as “chargers.” Chargers operate as independent contractors and are responsible for Bird scooter charging on a daily basis.

What Bird Chargers Do

Bird chargers utilize the app to locate scooters in their area, and then they collect them for charging. There isn’t a central docking station, so each charger takes the machines home with them to charge overnight. The scooters require a special charger that connects to a standard outlet, but the company will provide these to you once you join their team.

The company sorts scooters throughout a city by creating a “nest,” which is a specific location with expected high demand. After the equipment is charged, the chargers “release” the Birds anywhere in their nest area.

How Much Do Bird Chargers Make?

Bird pays their chargers based on the number of scooters they charge. Each scooter is categorized as either green, yellow, or red, and their charging price varies by category and location. On average, you can expect to make around $5 per fully charged Bird scooter. Once you locate a machine on your app, it’ll tell you how much you’ll make for charging the scooter.

One of the top benefits of working for Bird is their same-day payouts. You’ll be paid the same day for all charged scooters that were freed back to their nest by 7 a.m. After 7 a.m., releases are paid the following business day. Such a quick turnaround only adds to the appeal of the company. Bird does limit each charger to 20 scooters per night.

Bird Charger Requirements

To become a Bird charger, the company requires you to apply. The process isn’t as complicated or thorough as rideshare or delivery companies, but you do need to meet some basic requirements. All Bird chargers must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum age of 18 years old
  • You need to have a vehicle
  • Live in or near an operation center
  • Charge a minimum of three Birds at a time

Since the company pays out on a daily basis, they require that each charger tackle three machines at once. This choice reduces the company’s overall costs as banks charge them for each transaction.

How to Become a Bird Charger

To apply for this Bird scooter job, you need to visit their charger sign up page. You can also access it through their app through the main menu under “Become a Charger.” Next, you’ll enter your personal and tax information along with your direct deposit information.


Become A Bird Charger


After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a call from the Bird team for a short interview. At this time, they’ll explain the process involved in more detail.

Upon approval, you’ll gain access to charger features in your Bird app. This step allows you to find and “capture” Birds in your area. Once you find them, you’ll scan the QR code in the same manner as you would rent them, and then you’ll load them into your vehicle and take them home for the night. The next morning, you’ll need to drop off the Bird scooters in their nest area (designated by the app) between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Bird Scooters: The Future of Bikeshare

Bikeshare options ruled 2017, and scootershare is sure to take over 2018. At the front of the electric scooter rental pack is Bird, but it’s not the only player in the game. Have you used a scooter rental service yet? If so, which one?

on demand economy - man ringing bell held by robot hand

The State Of The On Demand Economy

On Demand In 2018: The Arena Is Crowded, But Growing

It’s hard to believe Uber was founded almost a decade (2009) ago. Lyft is a bit younger, but still a six year old company. It’s incredible to think how much these two apps, along with Postmates, Google Express, Instacart, Grubhub, Doordash, and a whole bunch of others, have changed how we get around, and how we shop for food and household items.

The other day, I tried to remember the last time I was in a taxi cab. I couldn’t. Then, I tried to remember the last time I actually called a restaurant to order delivery or take out. Couldn’t remember that either. However, although I used Instacart once, I still generally go to the supermarket myself. Call me old fashioned.

Bikes and Scooters: A New Wrinkle

Besides all the available rideshare and delivery apps, a new type of app has appeared in the last year that looks to further change how we get around – ebike and escooter dockless rental apps. The concept is pretty simple. A user searches for an available ebike or escooter on the app. The app locates a nearby escooter or ebike. The user walks over, unlocks the ebike or escooter using the app, and rides to their desitnation. When they get there, they can just leave the ebike or escooter parked off to the side. Although the field is pretty new, there are already a few major players. It’s likely not all of these companies are going to make it (remember Sidecar).

  • Bird – $115 million in funding, raising an additional $200 million
  • Jump – Already bought by Uber
  • Limebike – $132 million in funding, raising up to an additional $500 million
  • Spin – Originally bikes, recently added an ebike to their offerings – $8 million in funding
  • Skip – $6 million in funding

If that weren’t enough, Lyft is also developing it’s own e-bike/e-scooter service.

So much change in just a few years, and yet, it’s likely only the beginning.

The Next Five Years

Both Lyft and Uber aim to integrate more with municipal transportation systems in the coming years. Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is aiming to make Uber the “Amazon of transportation“. This is why both companies are moving into the ebike and escooter area. Both eventually aim to become an end to end transportation company. Currently, you can use the Lyft or Uber app to book a Lyft or Uber ride only. Look for e-bike options to be added with a year. Over the next five years, expect Lyft or Uber to try and integrate subway, light rail schedules and external booking into their apps.

On Demand Economy - hands holding phone

2018 is likely to be a year of massive change for the on demand arena, and especially for Uber and Lyft. Although Uber is aiming to go public in late 2019, Lyft may try an IPO in late 2018. Whatever happens, 2018 is likely to be the last year in which all the on demand companies are privately held. Besides the coming IPO’s, there’s also the question of how fast both companies will be able to integrate autonomous vehicles into their fleets.

International Rideshare Players

In the U.S., it’s basically Lyft and Uber. Outside the U.S., it’s a whole different ballgame. Didi cleaned Uber’s clock in China (Uber surrendered, left and took a small stake in Didi.) Grab is dominant in S.E. Asia (Uber sold their s.e. asia business to them recently). In India, Ola is number one, with Uber a distant second. In Europe and Africa, Uber is dominant, but stiff competition is coming.

  • Didi – Dominant in China, operates in Brazil; Planning expansion to Europe, Africa, and the U.S.
  • Ola – Dominant in India
  • Grab – Dominant in S.E. Asia
  • Taxify – European startup, also expanding in Africa – just closed a $175 million funding round led by Daimler Chrysler.
  • Softbank – Japanese conglomerate that has stakes in Uber, Didi, Ola, and Grab. Nobody realizes it, but Softbank is actually the quiet king of rideshare on the planet earth. They also just invested in GM’s self driving car division.

Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous vehicles are coming, but they’re not likely to fully take over the roads in the next five years. Even when they do, they’ll still be a need for drivers (although not as many) However, they will start to become a more common site in the next few years. Virtually every major automaker is a player in this area, and they’re all doing some testing in California. Here’s a quick rundown of who’s doing what and who’s ahead.

  • Waymo (Google subsidiary) – The leader in the field. They have more self driving cars on the road, that have driven more miles, than everyone else on this list combined. One of the ways success is measured in self-driving cars is how long the vehicle can go without a human driver having to intervene. By this metric, Waymo is first by a large margin.
  • Ford – A strong second, but they need more testing.
  • GM – Third, but just got a massive investment from Softbank.
  • Tesla – Tesla gets a lot of hype, but their actual self-driving technology lags behind the three front runners
  • Uber – Overall, their program has been a disaster. They don’t have the funds, or the engineering talent to compete with Google in this area.
  • Lyft – partnering with various companies – no real internal program
  • Daimler-Mercedes, Fiat, Honda, Toyota, BMW and many others – all have testing permits for autonomous vehicles in California.

In all likelihood, both Uber and Lyft will wind up incorporating self-driving cars from Waymo, Ford or GM into their platforms. As it turns out, developing true self-driving vehicles is incredibly difficult, and frankly, beyond the scope of Uber and Lyft’s capabilities. Put another way, Google has unlimited funds, the best self-driving engineering talent in the world, and has been working in the field for six years, and they’re just getting to the point where they can safely put a lot of their self-driving cars on the road. As you can see, the on demand economy is a complicated and crowded arena with a lot of moving parts.

It’ll be interesting to see what everything looks like in 2023.