Tie-up gives you more options for your Ryde
Local carpool service partners taxi operator ComfortDelGro
It started as a carpool service. But in just over two years, local app Ryde grew to become a major player in the transport booking market here.
Last month, it announced a partnership with Singapore's largest taxi operator, ComfortDelGro, that allows Ryde users to book ComfortDelGro taxis using its app.
The demand for Ryde shot up by 50 per cent since then, and it has over 100,000 users, about 30,000 cars and about 17,000 taxis on board now, according to founder Terence Zou, 41.
Mr Zou, a Harvard Business School graduate who served in the navy and worked in investment banking and private equity after getting a master's degree,promised that another Ryde feature will be rolled out by the third quarter of this year.
Ryde was among the seven start-ups chosen for an eight-week accelerator programme called Infiniti Lab by luxury motor company Infiniti Motor and venture capital firm Nest.
The programme came to a close this week, with Infiniti Motor choosing to partner several of the start-ups. More details will be released in the coming weeks.
Mr Zou told The New Paper: "The programme was a great learning experience. We learnt how big automobile companies work, about their needs and how we can work with them."
"We also try to differentiate ourselves from other players by making sure we constantly innovate and add more features."Ryde founder Terence Zou
Infiniti Motor's general manager for global business transformation and brand Dane Fisher praised Mr Zou's diligence and professionalism during the programme and lauded Ryde for its partnership with ComfortDelGro, which has a fleet of about 17,000 taxis.
ComfortDelGro's group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan told TNP that the tie-up with Ryde provides the company with an additional avenue to reach out to commuters.
While it may seem strange for a carpool app to partner a taxi operator, Mr Zou insisted that it is one that makes sense.
"We want to keep giving people choices when they travel, and we acknowledge that you may not always get a carpool, depending on the time and your location.
"So now, we also provide our users with an alternative choice - the taxi," he said.
But he said Ryde will not turn into another Grab or Uber, and that the carpool service will remain Ryde's main focus.
"First of all, we are an asset-light company. We do not own any of the cars or taxis, unlike Grab or Uber," Mr Zou said.
"We also try to differentiate ourselves from other players by making sure we constantly innovate and add more features."
He also said that carpooling is fast becoming a widely-accepted practice here, with over half of Ryde's users being female.
He attributed this to the rise of the sharing economy and a growing acceptance among Singaporeans when it comes to cutting costs on car ownership and travel.
"The target is to get as many available cars or taxis on the roads making shared trips, so it is a win-win situation for the driver, who earns; as well as the passengers, who save money," Mr Zou said.
"It is the way to go."
The Infiniti Lab programme also saw Canadian start-up Pantonium, which provides transportation and fleet management software, awarded with a "landing pack" to launch its services here.
The "landing pack" consists of access to working spaces here and a Infiniti Motor-funded public relations consultancy as well as legal, brand strategy and government relations advice.
Pantonium founder Remi Desa said: "This is an exciting time for our company, and the start-up landing pack in a market like Singapore is an important step for us to expand in this dynamic region."