There’s a new sheriff in town in the ride-sharing market. Live Rides CEO, “Friendly” Steve LaChance, wants users to know that his way is the friendlier way to rideshare and carpool in Canada.
“Carpooling will take off when people discover how easy and convenient it has become,” says LaChance. “Mobile technology enables more flexibility than ever before. All that ensures the safest, most enjoyable ride share experience yet.”
Live Rides is the first real-time carpool network in Canada, a social transport network that is the first to let drivers and riders spontaneously match by tapping into the massive pool of regular commuters. LaChance said the idea came to him after frustrating experiences a few years ago when he was constantly travelling between Quebec City and Montreal.
“I thought the existing services were pretty limited and I thought we could do so much better with mobile technology,” explained the 26-year-old. “So we assembled a team, started working on it, graduated from FounderFuel and for the past six months we’ve been working on the new release.”
LaChance and his team’s journey through FounderFuel was well documented: along with another team, Live Rides was the main focus in a recent reality series called “Make it or Break it." The show gave them exposure while the program pivoted their focus to a kind of Airbnb for ridesharing.
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Thus the vision for Live Rides: “a safe and friendly way to save money and time by driving with people going your way.”
FounderFuel General Manager Ian Jeffrey mentored the team the most during the program. He said LaChance was able to come in to the program and take Live Rides to the next level.
“Going through the program we pushed [Steven] really hard and came out with this whole notion that ridesharing should be more than just utility, it should be a social opportunity,” said Jeffrey. “He took feedback and internalized it and came out with something that we feel was much stronger than what they came in with.”
After the company graduated they spent six months iterating their product, completely redesigning it in the process. It now incorporates pre-planned long distance trips as well as instant rides and regular commutes. The app brings integrated, guaranteed payments for drivers with added safety and trust features.
In the immediate future they want to gain a firm footing in all major Canadian cities. They also eventually want to incorporate alternative methods of transport, such as trains, buses or even taxis.
But can this ambitious Quebec City-based startup make a big enough dent in a clientele that is largely dominated by Craigslist? LaChance maintains that even though Airbnb didn’t put Craigslist’s space-renting bulletins out of business, he believes Live Rides offer “some very significant advantages over them.”
Jeffrey may be the company’s biggest supporter and he thinks Live Rides can replace bulletins like Craigslist. These sites are disorganized, lack a sense of trust, and they don’t process payments.
“These are all things that Live Rides does,” he said. “And on top of that, what makes it magical and special is the social opportunity.”