I agree with Nick Grossman, when he said “the long tail of ride sharing will be a big big thing”.
Earlier this week, as a result of being one of the organizers for Startup Weekend Valparaiso and a friend’s project (Wilin) advancing to the Global Startup Battle champions track, I was browsing other finalists and came across LetsTryke (@letstryke).
Lyft’s brand can support being the technology under the entire public transportation grid (including a massive peer-to-peer component that doesn’t exist today).
LetsTRYKE in the Philippines is exactly the type of long tail opportunity that exists in the transportation market in the developing world to enable my quote to become true over the next 5-10 years. Anyone that has traveled to the third world knows this is a real opportunity because millions of trykes operate in an inefficient ecosystem with zero technology. Another opportunity is building a simple text-based payment application that lets public transit riders pay for their ride on larger shared transit vehicle such as a Songthaew. An obvious benefit to digital payments for ride sharing in the third world is an end of day summary of the vehicle’s daily performance (every vehicle is essentially an independent small business) would be a 1 second operation.
A potentially extremely interesting play for Lyft or Sidecar? Enable any developer to quickly launch their own branded ride sharing service on top of Lyft/Sidecar technology. Maybe even open source some of that stack, as it’s doubtful Uber will be interested in competing on that front.