There was not one, but two transportation launch parties last week in DC—Split (ride sharing) and Getaround (car sharing).
Split debuted its on-demand car service to a crowd of 500 at Long View Gallery. Its CEO is Ario Keshani and the biz dev director is Dan Winston. The service is slightly different from Uber and Lyft in that it connects people going in the same direction and they share a ride from a Split driver. Everything is organized and arranged through a mobile app, using real-time routing algorithms that combine multiple overlapping rides, on the fly, in a single car.
Split used DC’s open data to identify points in legal stopping areas, avoiding crosswalks, bike lanes and other disruptive areas, so that riders have designated areas to wait for their rides. For now, the service is limited to DC’s "central core", including Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights and Constitution Ave, and rides run $2 to $8. The company raised a Series A round from Transdev, a global firm that manages multimodal transportation systems.
Getaround also debuted last night in DC, its first East Coast market. Its founders are Jessica Scorpio and Sam Zaid. The San Fran-based company is a peer-to-peer car sharing service that allows people to “rent” their cars. The company’s hardware technology, designed in-house, uses GPS, Bluetooth LE and keyless remote technology so that renters can use their phone to get access to the car. (No awkward key exchange.)
The party at Union Market attracted nearly 2,000 people, including CDMedia NY’s Ryan Hamilos, Fosterly’s Adam Zuckerman and Social Radar’s Kevin Alansky. The company, which launched in 2011 and has raised $24M in funding, has 4,000 DC users.