Ridejoy Raises $1.3M From Freestyle, Lerer, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Others

Ridejoy said it raised $1.3 million in a seed round led by Freestyle Capital and followed by Lerer Ventures, Start Fund, SV Angel, Founder Collective and Y Combinator. Also joining the round in the ride sharing company are individual social technology investors Ben Ling, Owen Van Natta and Joshua Schachter.

PRESS RELEASE

Social Ridesharing Pioneer Ridejoy Receives $1.3 Million in Seed Funding

Ridejoy Delivers Social Ridesharing Community for Drivers and Passengers to Safely, Easily and Cost-Effectively Share Rides on Long Distance Roadtrips

SAN FRANCISCO – February 6, 2012 – Ridejoy, the social ridesharing community that brings people together on long distance roadtrips, today announced that it has received $1.3 million in seed funding from a list of notable venture capitalists and angel investors led by Freestyle Capital and followed by Lerer Ventures, Start Fund, SV Angel, Founder Collective and Y Combinator. Also joining the round are individual social technology investors Ben Ling, Owen Van Natta and Joshua Schachter. Ridejoy will use the new funding to increase design and engineering capacity, as well as expand beyond its current West Coast presence to meet growing demand in other regions.

Ridejoy delivers a transparent and consumer-friendly social ridesharing marketplace that builds personal connections by bringing people together on long distance roadtrips. Ridejoy makes it effortless and safe for drivers and passengers to come together and share rides, saving money and maximizing resources – all while delivering a unique and convenient travel experience that makes the journey more enjoyable.

“We are excited to partner with Ridejoy and become an active passenger on its social ridesharing journey,” said Dave Samuel, co-founder, Freestyle Capital. “Economic factors and social trends are driving the movement toward collaborative consumption – a multibillion dollar ‘sharing’ industry that is still in its infancy. We believe that Ridejoy offers a new and innovative solution in this space, giving people an easy, safe and straightforward way to save money by sharing an unused seat – and redefines ridesharing with a social emphasis in the process.”

“At Ridejoy, we’re passionate about changing how Americans view travel,” said Kalvin Wang, co-founder, Ridejoy. “We’re designing our social ridesharing community to be friendlier and more convenient than driving alone, flying or taking the bus. Every day, we bring friends, families and long-distance lovers closer together. Thousands of drivers and passengers already use Ridejoy to safely share rides to hundreds of destinations, and we’ll use this funding to bring that experience to communities beyond the West Coast. We’rell also hiringe more people who are fanatical about creating a joyful customer experience.”

“The Ridejoy team has everything we look for in a startup,” said David Lee, Managing Member,  SV Angel. “They’re addressing a need in a growing and viable marketplace; they’re monetizing an unused asset – something that’s just ‘sitting there’ to be shared; and they’re making the solution affordable and ubiquitous through the Internet and social networks. Ridejoy is harnessing the power of the virtual world to create real-life social connections and save money with shared roadtrips.”

Ridejoy – A Social Ridesharing Community that is Easy, Affordable and Safe
Ridejoy changes the ridesharing landscape with a social community that offers an easy, economical and eco-friendly way for people to safely fill extra seats that would otherwise be unused on long distance roadtrips. Ridejoy provides travelers without access to a car with a highly convenient, cost effective and fun alternative to taking public transportation, such as the bus or train.

With Ridejoy’s intuitive online marketplace, drivers and passengers alike can easily locate others going to the same destination and engage online in advance of the trip. To find travel companions, Ridejoy members simply post rides offered or rides needed; flexible payment options include cash or credit card, adding a layer of reliability for drivers.

Ridejoy includes several mechanisms to ensure the safety of its members, including:

•    a required Facebook profile with photo, which also allows members to view mutual friends;
•    a user review system, so that drivers and passengers can check community feedback from previous rides;
•    a user reference system, which allows for friends to vouch for community members
•    a safety checklist, with guidelines such as snapping photos of driver and passenger IDs at the start of a trip and emailing to a friend or family member.

“Ridejoy brings travel and society back to a safer time – that possibly imaginary past where everyone felt like they knew everyone else,” said Wang. “We think services like ours’ve been told we’re are ‘restoring people’s faith in humanity.’ Getting a ride with someone new , or giving one, feels much safer when you can see you’re both friends with Alice and Bob, or when you know where they went to school and where they work now. We make use of existing social connections from Facebook, with its nearly one billion users, and we’re committed to additional features that enhance the safety of both drivers and passengers.”

Ridejoy bridges two intersecting trends – the movement toward resource sharing and the desire and technological capability to connect socially by building new communities. Collaborative consumption – the sharing or renting of goods and services as opposed to ownership – represents a huge and growing market. Rachel Botsman, co-author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, projects the peer-to-peer rental market alone to be a $26 billion industry. Consumers are attracted to the model not only for lowered costs but also for the opportunity to connect with others and make new friends.

About Ridejoy
Ridejoy is a social ridesharing community that gives drivers and passengers an easy, economical and eco-friendly way to safely share rides by filling extra seats on long distance roadtrips, maximizing personal resources and lowering travel costs. Ridejoy connects like-minded people who want to save money, meet interesting people on the journey and be socially responsible by minimizing their carbon footprint.

Based in San Francisco, Ridejoy currently covers more than 300 West Coast destinations, and has successfully completed more than 1,000 roadtrips to date – ranging all the way from Vancouver in the north to San Diego in the south. For more information, visit the company website at www.ridejoy.com, phone (415) 326-3569.

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