Ride Sharing Startup PoolCircle Wants to be the eBay of Sharing Economy

Ride sharing doesn’t work in India, especially the B2C model. But then, the model itself needs a few iterations and experiments.

Bangalore based startup PoolCircle is building a social network that allows users to carpool with people they can trust – colleagues, neighbors and online connections. PoolCircle is riding on a concept of ‘circles’ i.e. allows the user to aggregate their various network of connections, or “Circles”, across their colleagues, neighbors and other online connections. Users can choose to carpool with any combination of these circle.

Poolcircle : Ride Through Circles
Poolcircle : Ride Through Circles

The PoolCircle mobile app allows you to

a) Find a carpool partners who are headed in the same direction
b) Initiate a carpool, accept a request.
c) Enable a carpool- Track and sign off post the carpool.

Some of the nifty features PoolCircle has cracked is ensuring that the commitment from the two parties is well tracked. The PoolCircle app allows you to track the location of your carpool partner, 15 minutes before the pick up time (and your ride partner will be able to track your location too) using GPS. That should give you a sense on when the user will arrive.
You can make a decision to wait and take the carpool or cancel based on where the person is.

Our user acquisition channels – Enterprises (launched at NetApp and MPhasis), Apartments (L&T South City, Alpine Eco and Rohan Vasantha residents) and Events (launched a product to enable carpooling to ipl – www.poolcircle.com/ipl and launched an integration with the online event platform Explara – http://www.poolcircle.com/#explara) largely leverage the existing notions of Trust, Uniform Schedules and User Density – 3 pre-requisites for carpooling to work. 

Founder, Raghu tells us that ride sharing is the first app that PoolCircle has launched. The bigger picture is to go deep in the peer sharing economy.

“While carpooling is our first app, we essentially see ourselves as a platform for peer to peer Sharing Economy. We aspire to be the ‘eBay for the Sharing Economy” that brings together Borrowers and Lenders just as eBay brings together Buyers and Sellers. Users will be users to engage with different “Circles” for different sharing use cases on PoolCircle. Imagine being able to carpool with anyone in your tech park, but rent out to car to only your office colleagues. We expect to launch other applications on our platform, beyond carpooling, in our platform over the next few quarters.

Incentives Anyone?

PoolCircle has got all the technology piece right, the bigger question that one needs to understand is lack of incentive for the end user to do ride sharing.

As a concept, everything falls in the place (theoretically speaking) – the target segment, traffic woes; but practically speaking ride sharing hasn’t picked up because of factors ranging from trust to timing match (Indian stretchable time) to the next best option available, i.e. your own vehicle to importantly, predictability (that the other person will turn up).

Do give PoolCircle a spin and share your comments. Do you think some of these models are better off being B2B2C than pure B2C?

Tell us in comment section : Why do you share rides? How often? When? We’d love to know.

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