Launched in August of last year, JumpIn Rides allows users to post a ride or look for a lift via its web service. All drivers are vetted and reviewed, and the platform allows people to connect and discuss details of the trip.
The growth of such services make sense, with carpooling saving money and fuel, and helping to protect the environment from carbon emissions.
“We noticed that the main concern for South Africans is the efficiency of public transportation systems in terms of affordability, safety, reliability, accessibility and flexibility. The idea was to create a solution to make travelling easier, safer and affordable for every South African,” JumpIn Rides managing director Pauline du Paty told Disrupt Africa.
“We have some competitors in the market but I think the main challenge we all face is to educate the community to carpooling as a frequently used service.”
In this respect, JumpIn Rides has some help. It has been incubated by the Cape Town-based Far Ventures Global since July of last year, and its model is the successful European unicorn carpooling startup BlaBlaCar, which currently has over 25 million users in more than 22 countries.
Uptake so far has been solid.
“We have seen more than 30 per cent month-on-month growth and have 800 registered users. Our plan is to conquer South Africa and be the leader in the market thanks to an aggressive customer acquisition strategy,” du Paty said.
This strategy requires further funding. Bootstrapped thus far, JumpIn Rides is currently looking for approximately ZAR1.5 million (US$114,000) to expand the business. South Africa is very much the focus, though du Paty does not rule out international expansion down the line.
“Today, we are only targeting the South African market and responding to a need: giving a safe, flexible and fun transport solution to people,” she said.
“As we’re based in Cape Town, it’s where we’re focusing our efforts, but we are expecting to operate throughout the country very soon. Once the market is stable we will think about expanding JumpIn Rides abroad.”
The startup is currently pre-revenue, offering the platform to users for free at this point until it reaches a bigger user base. At that point it plans to charge a commission on each ride.
“The main challenge has been to convince South Africans that our service responds to a need and would help them to make better use of the road network and connect people to each other,” du Paty said.
“As with any user-based service, we need a large user base to really get rolling as people need to match for a ride to happen. And we are working hard to succeed.”