General Motors introduced Maven, a car-sharing service designed to attract people who would prefer not to own a car, but prefer not to use a ride-sharing service either.
Maven, which means ‘expert’ in Yiddish will begin with small fleets of autos in Ann Arbor, Chicago, New York, Frankfurt and Berlin. It will at first stay close to large cities and college campuses. GM will be testing the market for this service, with plans to expand to additional cities this year, although GM did not announce which cities or to what extent they would like to expand.
President of GM Dan Amman emphasized that this is a completely different service than Lyft Inc, a ride-sharing service that GM invested $500 million in. Ride-sharing allows people to call taxis; they do not need to drive themselves. Car-sharing customers use a smart-phone or other device to get access to cars and drive them themselves.
The use of a small car can be bought for as little as $6 per hour, while larger cars will go for about $12 per hour. Amman stated that today around the world there are about 5-6 million people who are utilizing some kind of car-sharing service. He expects the service to expand 4-5 times in the next five years.
In today’s society where gas is at a premium and rising every day, Michigan-based vRide has a sound and enviable solution. They are a ride sharing platform that offers commuters both an economical and environmentally friendly way to get to work. Now, they have a nation-wide challenge to try to get one million cars off the road. With the help of private equity investments, they are hoping to reach their lofty goal.
Founded in 1977 as a van pooling company, vRide forged a partnership with the private equity firm TPG Capital in 2010. TPG has patiently assisted vRide with growth capital, a strategic focus and management and operational expertise. vRide has a national presence with over 40 offices that offer van pooling in every single state.
As vRide CEO Ann Fandozzi explained, “Private equity does in fact help businesses realize their dreams. If you don’t have access to resources both in terms of knowledge base and funds, most ideas die. At the end of the day, it’s no more complicated than that.”
vRide’s figures for the environment are impressive today. They save commuters up to $5000 a year and have more than 5000 daily active vanpools with over 50,000 commuters. They estimate that they help to eliminate about 78 million vehicle miles each year, taking over 800,000 cars off of the highways and roads every month.
Learn more about vRide and their experience with private equity.