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AZ Tech Beat | November 24, 2017

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Startup Ruby Ride’s expansion brings new jobs to the Valley

Startup Ruby Ride’s expansion brings new jobs to the Valley
Carlene Reyes

The way we get around Phoenix has evolved over the years. We have steadily been branching out past our bus systems and taxi services, welcoming rideshare programs like Uber, Lyft and now, local newcomer, Ruby Ride.

The Phoenix-born subscription-based rideshare program got off to a rocky start earlier this year, but now seems to have their alignment in check. Since our last discussion with the startup, CEO Jeff Ericson shared that Ruby Ride has been experiencing a growth spurt and is realizing an increase in revenue with each month.

To speed up their scaling and marketing efforts, the team is seeking funding with the help of crowdfunding platform Fundable, which allows accredited investors to join the funding.

Ruby Ride Car2

Ruby Ride has set itself apart from peers Lyft and Uber by offering frequent, scheduled, short trips to its riders, eco-friendly vehicles, and hiring its own drivers.

Ericson pointed out, they don’t really compete with other rideshare programs in the area because they’re not really a rideshare program, calling themselves a “car replacement service” instead.

“We feel the market space we play in is the consumer automobile space…,” said Ericson. “We’re trying to put ourselves in that category.”

Ericson admits that their growth hasn’t been fluid, but they’re on their way.

RubyRide ASU Car“We’ve had our periods of strong growth and low growth,” he said. “We’re still not huge yet, but we’re getting our tools and systems down.”

He’s referring to a new software platform the team is testing out right now for their automated dispatch system set to debut soon. 

Ericson said about 70 percent of their trips cater to regulars, and they’re working toward a system that can handle all different kinds of trips, calling it their Short Trip Management System.

“At the end of they day, we serve a lot of commuters,” he said. “We’re focusing on customers who need services at different times of the day to make our system efficient.”

In April, Ruby Ride joined Arizona State University’s Startup Accelerator based at SkySong, tightening the company’s already strong bond with the University: five of their six full-time staffers are ASU grads, and Ruby Ride’s new package for students called Semester to Ride is set to launch this fall for $1,500.

As it gears up for the program, Ruby Ride will hire 30-40 new drivers over the next six weeks according to Ericson.

Ruby Ride started out with a limited area of services beginning with Central Phoenix, and then reaching out to Tempe, Old Town Scottsdale and Sky Harbor Airport. In June, it began services in Sun City and are doing really well in that market with hopes to add a second car next month, he added.

To read past AZ Tech Beat coverage of Ruby Ride click here. 

To read more AZ Tech Beat coverage of ASU news click here.

Photos provided by Ruby Ride