Could rideshare advertising be a $2 billion space for advertisers?

Could rideshare advertising be a $2 billion space for advertisers?

A group of San Diego tech entrepreneurs believe with the right partner, their platform will be able to quickly monetize the rideshare advertising space. With proven technology, and beta program complete, RIDEPLAY tv is now servicing advertisers and paying rideshare drivers by the mile.  The fully functional platform is equipped with proprietary technology that streams entertaining content and advertisements on tablets within the back seats of rideshare cars like Uber & Lyft.

After 2.5 years of bootstrapped development, RIDEPLAY tv is now broadcasting its own content network along with placed advertisements.  The reaction from passengers and drivers has been extremely positive.  After polling drivers, RIDEPLAY tv has seen driver ratings go up, passengers tickled by the content, and a change in consumer behavior.  Drivers say 25% of the time passengers reroute to a destination advertised on the tablet.

Accelerating beyond the friends and family investment, RIDEPLAY tv is seeking a partner that will help increase distribution to serve a long waiting list of regional and national clients.

“We’re young and flexible. We’re focused on finding the best active partner to come on board and help us take our platform to the next level,” says RIDEPLAY tv CEO, Greg Maestro.

The app is available in IOS and Android platforms and has rideshare drivers kicking down the door to join a growing waiting list for the opportunity to earn a 20% increase in annual income.

According to projections, the US rideshare advertising market is over $2 billionin untapped annual advertising revenue.  RIDEPLAY tv believes it can capture a large part of this market with the right partner/investor.
• Could rideshare advertising be a $2 billion space for advertisers?

ABC Companies and Van Hool mark 30 years as family ventures

ABC Companies and Van Hool mark 30 years as family ventures

Since Van Hool and ABC, two family owned and run businesses joined in 1987, the shared vision of Van Hool and ABC Companies has centered on developing and relationships with customers.

With a unique premium European product offering, supported by ABC’s established distribution, sales, parts and service network, the partners continue to distinguish the brand and demand for the Van Hool product in the American marketplace.

From the start, both families understood that listening and responding to customer needs would be crucial to success. Over three decades, Van Hool has modified equipment models and introduced ongoing series of fully-Americanized versions that have steadily gained popularity, grown market and mindshare, and increased customer loyalty year in and out.

“There are many key turning points in our history together,” said Roman Cornell, ABC Chief Commercial Officer. “And it’s exciting to see where the breakthroughs occurred.”

Most notably was the breakaway success of the Van Hool C2000 series introduced in 2000. Built exclusively from the top down for the North American market, within a year it not only became the most popular imported coach in the U.S., it also outsold all the other imported coach models combined.

“Customers loved this product because it was the direct result of listening to their input,” Cornell said. “While they know to expect premium quality and support from Van Hool and ABC, I believe what they really appreciate is the hands-on aspect of working with both of our companies.”

Today, with more than 10,000 Van Hool coaches on the road, and three generations of ABC and Van Hool family leadership, the brand dominates the highway coach private market segment. “Customers know that we are just as invested in surviving and succeeding as they are,” said Filip Van Hool, CEO of the eponymous firm. He believes the family-oriented cultures at ABC and Van Hool makes it easy for customers to do business with their firms. Van Hool says the arrangement brings significant benefits not applicable when transacting with a larger corporate structure.

“Our priority is to give customers the confidence and the solutions they need to support their operations,” Dane Cornell said. He believes ABC’s entrepreneurial business approach supports that goal. Cornell notes few manufacturers can claim that they’ve had three generations actively run a successful business, a trait they share with many operators throughout North America.

Accessibility and access within both organizations often results in product modifications directly forged by customer needs and preferences. A few prime examples of customer collaboration include the introduction of the Van Hool TD925 double deck coach. This double deck coach delivered a high-capacity solution to Coach USA for the launch of its Megabus market expansion and is the go-to solution for many Silicon Valley employee shuttle programs. More than 600 Van Hool double deck coaches in the U.S.

Similarly, the CX35 Van Hool model was introduced to answer operator calls for a smaller version of the popular CX45 foot coach with a reduced passenger capacity that would not sacrifice the “big coach” look, style, and feel. The new CX35 model has been another success with orders exceeding expectations and thanks to standardized design and manufacturing and numerous interchangeable parts with the 45’ version, operators can realize significant parts, as well as driver training savings when running both models in their fleets.

The partners are committed to future-looking innovation and investments that contribute to greater control and efficiencies for their customers and business strategies. Plans to expand and strengthen their parts business supply chain will afford faster access to needed components for customers, Roman Cornell said. “We envision growing our supply chain and distribution network to tightly sync with operator requirements when and where support is needed all over North America.”

Cornell also references the numerous technologies emerging each year that can make operations more efficient. “ABC and Van Hool are focused on rapid technology adoption, and whenever possible being first to market with tech-driven solutions for our operators.”

  • Van Hool and ABC: successful 30 year partnership.
Finnish company MaaS Global completes funding round, raising €14.2 million

Finnish company MaaS Global completes funding round, raising €14.2 million

In its recently completed funding round, MaaS Global managed to raise
€14.2 million. Significant additional investments were made by Transdev, Veho and Karsan, who are among the Finnish company’s older shareholders. New investors include the Japanese company DENSO and the Turkish company Swiftcom, as well as Toyota Financial Services and Aioi Nissay Dowa, whose investments were announced about a month ago. MaaS Global’s Whim mobility service, which operates in the Helsinki region, is being launched this year in the West Midlands, UK and the Amsterdam region, Netherlands.Mr. Sadahiro Usui, President and CEO, DENSO International Europe says:

“We are very pleased to partner with MaaS Global to jointly develop the emerging mobility service market and ecosystem that revolutionize the way people access to all modes of transportation, and which also contributes to DENSO’s core mission to realize a future sustainable automotive society.”

As part of the recent funding round, the existing shareholders Transdev, Karsan Otomotiv Sanayii Ticaret AS and Veho Oy Ab increased their ownership in MaaS Global.

Mr. Thierry Mallet, CEO, Transdev says:

“As first investor in MaaS Global, we strongly believe that we are moving forward to the mobility of tomorrow with Whim. We welcome our new partners in our quest to offer passenger a true alternative to car ownership.”

The aim: easy mobility worldwide. MaaS Global wants to globally revolutionise the way people move. The Whim app, launched by the company in the Helsinki region, is the world’s first mobility service which allows users to book and pay for all mobility services in one app and for a monthly fee.

Thanks to this exceptionally successful funding round MaaS Global can take mobility services to international markets. Whim is already in test mode in the West Midlands region of the UK, and later this year the service will be launched in the Amsterdam region. MaaS Global’s Founder and CEO, Sampo Hietanen, has a vision of seamless mobility in and between cities.

“In the future, you will be able to move anywhere, at any time and by any mode of transport without needing to own a vehicle. Our goal is to build a global roaming system for transport which people can use to travel from, say, Helsinki to Brussels using one app. Strategic investments ensure that we are among the first in this mobility revolution,” Mr. Hietanen says.

  • MaaS Global (Whim) increases funding by 14.2 million euros.
Taxify announces strategic partnership with Didi Chuxing

Taxify announces strategic partnership with Didi Chuxing

Taxify, a leading ride sharing company in Europe and Africa, announced a strategic partnership with Didi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobile transportation platform. Under this partnership, DiDi will invest in and collaborate with Taxify to support the latter’s further growth and innovation across its diversified markets.

Launched in Estonia in 2013, Taxify is the fastest-growing ride-hailing company in Europe and Africa, offering taxi- and private car-hailing services to over 2.5 million users in major hubs across 18 countries, including Hungary, Romania, the Baltic States, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Powered by AI technologies, DiDi offers an extensive range of mobility services, including Taxi, Premier, Express, Luxe, Hitch, etc., to over 400 million users in more than 400 cities. In addition to creating over 17 million flexible work and income opportunities for its driver-partners, DiDi leverages its AI capabilities to help cities develop integrated and sustainable smart transportation solutions.

Markus Villig, Founder and CEO of Taxify, said: “Taxify will utilize this partnership to solidify our position in core markets in Europe and Africa. We believe DiDi is the best partner to help us become the most popular and efficient transport option in Europe & Africa”.

Will Cheng Wei, Founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing, said: “Taxify provides innovative, high-quality mobility services across many diverse markets. We share a strong commitment to harnessing the power of mobile technology to satisfying rapidly evolving consumer demands and revitalizing traditional transportation industry. I believe this partnership will contribute to cross-regional smart transportation linkages between Asian, European and African markets.”

• Taxify and Did Chuxing join forces

Amtrak and Lyft Announce Rideshare Partnership

Amtrak and Lyft Announce Rideshare Partnership

Amtrak and Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., are making it easier to go more places: “We know most trips don’t start or end at an Amtrak station. This exciting partnership with Lyft is one of the ways we are working to make it easier for travelers to get where they’re going in a safe, comfortable and convenient way.”

Beginning today, customers can use the Amtrak mobile app to access the Lyft app to request a ride. New users of Lyft will receive $5 off each of their first four Lyft rides by using the promo code AMTRAKLYFT. Lyft operates in more than 360 communities across the U.S., covering 80 percent of the U.S. population and reaching 97 percent of Amtrak riders. This partnership allows for a seamless end-to-end travel experience from your doorstep to an Amtrak station.

“We are focused on improving the customer experience, and this is one way we are working to make your entire journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible,” said Jason Molfetas, Executive Vice President for Marketing and Business Development for Amtrak.

“We’re looking forward to working with Amtrak. As a fixture of American travel, Amtrak makes it simple and convenient for passengers, something Lyft feels passionately about as well,” said David Baga, Chief Business Officer for Lyft, “Both companies have a long-standing commitment to supporting communities we serve and we’re excited to grow together.”

As two leaders in transportation, Amtrak and Lyft are excited about this partnership because it offers immediate benefits to travelers – and it’s just the beginning. We both share a commitment to improving the travel experience and connecting with the communities we serve. Stay tuned as Amtrak and Lyft build on this partnership across the 46 state Amtrak network.

  • Amtrak and Lyft in partnership for first and last mile.
Moscow hosts the Fifth International Eurasian Forum ‘TAXI’ on August 3-4.

Moscow hosts the Fifth International Eurasian Forum ‘TAXI’ on August 3-4.

The fifth International Eurasian Forum “TAXI” will be held on August 3-4, 2017 in Moscow. The choice of the city for holding the event is not accidental: the 110-th anniversary of the Moscow taxi – the first taxi in Russia – is celebrated this year.

According to the organisers “the purpose of the Forum is to promote the development of a competitive and highly efficient system of transport services by passenger cars for the population and the creation of a civilized service market where equal opportunities and rights are provided to all participants. The forum is a platform for uniting the efforts of government bodies, the business community and the general public in order to develop effective solutions in the field of improving the quality and safety of taxis.”

The event will be held with the support and participation of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Moscow City Government, the relevant federal and regional ministries and departments. The organiser of the forum is the autonomous non-profit organization “International Eurasian Forum ‘TAXI’”

The key themes at the Forum 2017 will be the state regulation of the taxi industry, transportation security technologies, taxis in the context of the development of urban mobility, the development of the taxi business, as well as innovative technologies in taxi operations.

In parallel with the Forum’s business programme an extensive exhibition will be held. The latest samples of taxi equipment, taxi platforms, software, as well as various services for the taxi industry will be presented.

Currently, the taxi is the flagship of the innovative economy. Solving issues related to the development of the industry will make a significant contribution to the creation of principles for the regulation of new business models and technologies and the formation of a sustainable and accessible urban environment. It is this integrated approach that is the basis for the formation of the Forum’s programme in 2017, and its implementation will be ensured by the joint work of federal and regional government bodies, taxi companies, technology platforms and the expert community. For the 2017 Forum the organisers expect about 700 representatives of federal and regional authorities, commercial and non-profit organizations of Russia, CIS countries and others.

The main outcome of the Forum will be a unique public resolution with suggestions and recommendations of the participants, which will be sent to the public authorities of the Russian Federation in order to improve legislation and relevant state policy.

Taxi companies, taxi radio circuits, car manufacturers, fuel companies, manufacturers of specialized equipment and software developers for the taxi industry, companies that provide leasing, insurance, banking, consulting services; educational, scientific and public organizations have been invited to participate in this event.

The Forum will be held at one of the leading venues of the capital – in the Congress Park at the Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow (formerly hotel ‘Ukraine’).

• This year’s Forum will (again) be held in Moscow to celebrate a 110 years of Moscow taxis.

Uber’s internal politics are an even bigger disaster than you thought

Uber’s internal politics are an even bigger disaster than you thought

Internal bickering among Uber board members was so bad that it sent HP CEO Meg Whitman running for the hills (see below) and appears to have stymied the company’s attempts to find a replacement for disgraced founder Travis Kalanick, according to a pair of reports over the weekend.

While each story offered some nuance and unique details, they agreed on a few major points. First, the board is split into factions, with some still loyal to Kalanick. A possible stock sale to SoftBank has complicated the board dynamics. And finally, Kalanick, who was pushed out of his company following a wave of sexual harassment issues, is angling to weasel his way back in some fashion. There may not be enough popcorn on the planet to last out this saga.

One story came from the New York Times, which, hilariously, reported that after weeks of in-fighting and leaks, Uber’s board had “agreed to a truce in hopes of avoiding another negative round of media coverage.” The Times reported that the “backbiting” and discord among board members has led to a flood of leaks, which in turn prompted Whitman to publicly announce last week that she was taking herself out of the running to become the next Uber CEO.

More details emerged in a story from Recode, which reported that Whitman had given the board a 48-hour deadline to decide if it wanted to seriously consider her. She was scheduled to meet with several board members in coming days. But when she got no response, she pulled the plug, according to Recode.

While both stories noted that Kalanick was trying to plot a strategy that would allow him to return to Uber in some fashion, Recode went a bit further by suggesting he was making a play to become CEO again. Specifically, Recode reported: “Since he left, Kalanick has told numerous people, including at least one job candidate, that he was ‘Steve Jobs-ing it’, an apparent reference to the purge and later return of the legendary Apple founder at the company.”

Continue reading:

  • Is Kalanick doing a ‘Steve Jobs’?
Meg Whitman (CEO HP) says she’s not going to Uber

Meg Whitman (CEO HP) says she’s not going to Uber

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman wants everyone to know that she’s not going to Uber. Bloomberg and Recode had reported that she was on the short list for the CEO spot, but she took to Twitter to make it clear that it’s not happening.

In a three-part tweet, she concluded that the “rumors” have “become a distraction,” so she wants everyone to know that “she’s not going anywhere.” She emphasized that “Uber’s CEO will not be Meg Whitman.”

Rumors have been swirling about who will be Uber’s next CEO. Travis Kalanick stepped down last month after the conclusion of an investigation into the company’s toxic culture.

Continue reading:

  • Meg Whitman is staying at HP.
Ford’s Chariot shuttles are expanding to New York City

Ford’s Chariot shuttles are expanding to New York City

Ford is adding its largest market yet for Chariot, the crowd-sourced shuttle service that it acquired last September. Chariot began operations in San Francisco, where the former startup ran commuter routes of its branded transit vans, and expanded to Austin after that. In August, it’ll begin service in New York City, with two debut routes running from the Lower East Side to Midtown in Manhattan, and from Greenpoint to Dumbo in Brooklyn.

Chariot’s goal is to supplement existing transit solutions, addressing gaps in transit and completing commuter options with first- and last-mile additions, or with routes for underserved areas. Riders can check routes in the Chariot app, and even propose their own new routes that contribute to the company’s crowdsourcing efforts in determining how best to serve actual user needs.

Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh told me in an interview that he believes this is “a pretty opportune time for Chariot to introduce its reliable and accessible services in New York,” hinting at the frequency and severity of service disruptions we’ve seen in the city this summer so far. Chariot’s goal is to supplement existing options with flexible, fluid routes that respond quickly to rider needs, servicing areas with shuttle vans that hold over a dozen passengers. Theoretically, the flexibility of its model allows it so help compensate for prolonged service outages on regular public transit lines.

The initial lines were chosen through partnership with Ford’s data analytics team, Vahabzadeh explained, which looked at multiple factors and ran a multi-step narrowing process to identify the best starting points for expanding to the city. “LES and Greenpoint are two very high-growth boroughs that haven’t historically had a lot of public transit alternatives,” he said.

And while Chariot has been working with New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to make sure everything its doing is “licensed and above board,” Vahabzadeh also suggested the two are not working in any kind of close collaboration at this stage. He said Chariot’s first goal was to “get the service and the product out there and to prove to all stakeholders involved what Chariot is really capable of.” “We like to do first and talk second,” he said. “We think conversations will develop and evolve after we launch.”

Ford’s Jessica Robinson, Director of City Solutions, noted that the automaker often encounters confusion about why it’s working on urban transportation solutions like this one that are normally left to city services. She said that the company actually has a long history of wanting to help people get around, and that all that’s changed is the form that goal has taken.

“It’s a natural extension of what we’ve always been out to do,” she said. “I think the shift that we’re making as the world changes is the understanding of what we can do in that space. We think that with our history as a technology integrator, and with our special place in cities, we have a key role to play there.”

Continue reading:

• Chariot is moving to New York City – as well.

Fastned grows revenues with 119%

Fastned grows revenues with 119%

In a Year on Year (YoY) comparison with the first half year of 2016, Fastned’s volume, revenues, and number of active customers have all shown strong growth in the first six months of 2017:

  • Volume: 398,653 kWh (+125%)
  • Revenues: €186,829 (+119%)
  • Number of active customers: 3,967 (+64%)


  • Fastned growth significantly outpaced the market (47.8% more full EVs in the Netherlands in H1 2017 vs. H1 2016)
  • Fastned became a founding member of the  “Open Fast Charging Alliance”
  • In March the first two fast charging stations of Fastned in The Netherlands passed the operational break-even point
  • Six new stations were built, bringing the total number of stations in the Netherlands to 63
  • The first 14 locations were acquired in Germany
  • Fastned signed a framework agreement with Transport for London to realise rapid charging stations in the Greater London Area
  • A partnership was signed with Van der Valk to develop charging stations in the Netherlands and in Belgium
  • In June Fastned raised 7.7 million euro via a public issue of bonds
  • In June Fastned raised 1 million euro of additional capital through the issue of certificates of shares to investment fund Ballotta B.V.
  • Investor Breesaap converted its entire loan of 10.3 million euro into certificates of shares at a price of 10 euro per certificate
  • Investor Flowfund extended its convertible loan of 2.5 million euro by two years to the end of 2020

Michiel Langezaal, CEO of Fastned: “We look back at a first half year with continuing growth of revenues, kWhs delivered, and number of customers. Deliveries of new EVs in the Netherlandsfor the first part of the year were somewhat lower than expected but still amounted to 48% growth compared to H1 2016. There are now waiting lists for EVs such as the Opel Ampera-e and the Hyundai Ioniq EV.

We expect a strong take-off of EVs once the “second generation EVs” with longer range becomes readily available in Europe. European deliveries of these cars, such as the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf II are announced for the beginning of 2018. Based on these developments and anticipated demand for fast charging services we invested a lot of time and resources during the first half year on our expansion to London, Germany, and Belgium. We believe that developing a portfolio of high quality locations across Europe will prove to be a very valuable asset once the EV revolution really takes off.”

The need for fast charging infrastructure was recently confirmed in an ING report, “Breakthrough of Electric Vehicle Threats European Car Industry”, which points out that access to fast charging infrastructure is an important prerequisite for BEV adoption and that the charging speed is essential.”

  • Fastned grows revenue.