A ride-hailing app inDriver with a less-than-conventional launch story made its way to the US at the end of last year. Although it only launched in 2012, the app already has 14 million members across 11 countries and has ambitious plans to keep growing in many markets. The move of the headquarters to New York from Siberia is just one of them.
The app was founded in Yakutsk – a city in the heart of Siberia, Russia. Believed by many to be the coldest place on the planet, you wouldn’t think it to be a birthplace of a successful start-up. And yet, the tough climate is the very reason it took off about 7 years ago.
Some students were fed up with the taxi drivers raising their prices in -45 C and created a group where everyone could submit requests for rides. Car owners would accept the calls for help if they could. The group grew to up to 50k members, and soon, a tech entrepreneur Arsen Tomskiy bought it and started inDriver.
How it works
The app’s major difference from its competitors is that it lets you set the price for your trip and negotiate it with a driver. There’s also no commission for the drivers for the first six months of work. Later on, the commission amounts to 5-8%. Uber’s and Lyft’s 20% commission looks hefty in comparison.
inDriver works in the “real-time deal” (RTD) mode. When you need to find a ride, you type in the address and your suggested price, and the app submits the data to the nearby drivers. They can either accept your offer or try to negotiate. Both the drivers and the passengers make a conscious choice for each ride, based on the data available, and no fixed rates are forced upon them.
According to Arsen Tomskiy, this flexibility is what makes inDriver so successful. “inDriver has thrived across the globe by advocating for the rights of both drivers and passengers in cities that are often overlooked by giant ride-hailing corporations”, he stated just before the app has made its debut in NYC.
He believes that the only way for a P2P service to achieve success is “decentralization”, citing successful examples of Airbnb and Arcade City. And judging by inDriver’s constantly growing popularity in emerging markets like Russia, Latin America, and others, he might just be right.
YouTube: App and service summary in Russian language
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Barna Bartis. The screenshots of the app are owned by inDriver.
Source: Bruce Brown (Digital Trends) / Ilya Khrennikov (Bloomberg) / Matthew Flamm (Crain’s) / Julie Walmsley (Forbes) / inDriver staff (PRNEWSWIRE) / Arsen Tomskiy (The Next Web)