Ride sharing is here to stay, but it's unclear which companies will be the most popular. Uber and Lyft appear to be here to stay, but is there room for others?
A team from Denver is betting that there is room for at least one more.
Their new service, Hovit, launched in December. It already has hundreds of drivers, and riders report loving the new service.
It was started by a team of four from Colorado, two are former refugees, one is the son of a refugee family, and one a US Army veteran. Another partner lives in Vietnam, and leads a team that's doing the programming and app development.
How could this team possibly compete against the two ride-sharing services that have gotten so big? Well, what they say is that they have a few key differentiators.
In every "crowdsourcing" business like this there are two sides, the providers and the consumers. It's harder in many ways for businesses to build up the provider side of the business.
Hovit is different for the providers in several ways, including an ability for the drivers themselves to set prices rather than having an algorithm set the price. The drivers also keep a bigger percentage of each fare than they do with the better-known competitors.
For the consumers, people can request individual drivers, and make appointments with individual drivers for important trips. The founders say this has been a very popular feature, especially for women who like knowing who will be driving them rather than gambling by getting into a car with someone they don't know at all.
The story behind this company is fascinating. Colorado passed a law to regulate ride sharing, and required those who provide the network of drivers to pay a fee of $110,000 to the state for a license. For Uber and Lyft, that's no problem at all, but for four young entrepreneurs without deep pockets, it was a huge mountain to climb. They went to family and friends for investment and got the money. They have a sense for the dramatic gesture, so when they paid the fee they went to the state office with a duffle bag filled with cash.
Hovit is in its earliest days, but it's certainly possible that Denver could be the home of a third major player in the ride-sharing business.
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Each Tech Tuesday Scott Yates showcases new and emerging companies that are doing great things in Colorado, along with tech events. This post was written by one of the freelance writers working with the blog writing service BlogMutt, a company Scott founded. Do you want to see your business featured in a future #TechTuesday segment? Build an interesting business and then go to a startup event, and Scott will probably see you there.