Could ShiftRide be the next Uber?

Posted by Startup Waterloo on


Millions of cars sit parked 95% of the time, while millions of people don’t have access to drive one. ShiftRide is the practical next step toward the future of automotive.

And it was founded on the principle that the convenience of having direct access to a car, doesn’t mean you need to own it. But let’s reverse a little first, back to 2007.

Uber is the unimaginable startup story of lightning striking. Then striking again and again. University of Calgary computer software student, Garrett Camp moved to San Francisco to scale his startup StumbleUpon where he met Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Red Swoosh. In 2007, the two would sell their respective startups for a combined $94M USD and the successful exits would provide the initial capital needed to electrocute Camp’s startup idea, UberCab, into the fastest growing company in history.

Today, the $50B USD story has taken both positive and negative turns. On one hand, Uber prepares for one of the largest IPO’s in history and Camp, the Chairman of the Board, has pledged half his billion dollar fortune to charity. On the other hand, Kalanick has been ousted as CEO after leading a dishonest and toxic Uber culture of alleged sexual harassment, gender discrimination and now data breach cover-ups. It’s a co-founder lesson analogous to Newton’s law of action-reaction where opposite founders had once attracted and now repel.

The next Uber needs more Camp and less Kalanick.

ShiftRide app on App Store

ShiftRide wants to get it right. This week, the on-demand car sharing startup launched their new mobility service app in Waterloo with hopes of becoming an even better Uber. Co-founders Mohsen Mohsenpour, Nima Tahami and Deepak Parpyani designed their app to allow car owners to make money off their parked vehicles by renting them out. The team is poised to get accepted into Y Combinator and meet Sam Altman, the positive Chief Incubator Officer they need, to help them scale to the next level.

"We call it car usership."

Car sharing is the future of vehicle ownership but the co-founders face hundreds of similar competitors around the world. It’s a 0 to 60 mph drag-race and only the fastest team will win. ShiftRide wants to leave the pack way back in their rearview mirror, inhaling a cloud of burnt rubber, listening to old Eagles tunes. But like all great ideas, timing is everything.

“We are changing car ownership one car at a time and we’ve got nearly a billion more to go, so we just got started. With our great team, partners and market preference, the change is inevitable,” explains Mohsen Mohsenpour, Co-Founder & CEO.

The good news is that future investors in ShiftRide will be betting on the best-designed car on the track. The three talented and value-based software engineers met while living in Velocity Residence, an entrepreneurship residence exclusive to University of Waterloo students, and the undergraduates have been perfecting their software, hardware and pitch since May 2016.

ShiftRide car sharing

Rarely do you find a talented team of gifted computer science inventors who value the importance of getting out of the building and making a simple product that speaks for itself. Nima Tahami, Co-Founder & CPO, says that “through the development process we talked with over a thousand customers. One of the things we learned is that people don’t like gassing up during their trip.”

Through their accelerated development loop, they have built a remarkably simple app that integrates seamlessly with Facebook, where people can instantly rent their neighbours’ cars, fully gassed. The app also facilitates obtaining insurance on the spot, complete with customer support. And of course, for car owners it means that their parked cars can earn them a little cash. The team plans to disrupt the $60B USD car rental industry which is estimated to explode to $125B USD by 2022.

With their new mobile app customers will enjoy a UX and UI design that is simple and elegant. The coding complexity is hidden by the seamless registration process and the app functionality is designed for ease and accessibility.

“We’ve created a new model from scratch to give users the most convenient way to get from one place to another within the city, we call this ‘car usership.’ Users can be out for 10 minutes or hours at a time, the control is in their hands,” explains Tahami.

ShiftRide is on-boarding cars throughout the Waterloo Region before expanding to other cities across North America. Success in scaling worldwide depends on the right mentorship, funding and speed. These value-based founders have the right talent to strike it rich, now they need more cars to rent. Godspeed ShiftRide.

ShiftRide car in Waterloo Region 


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