Finding Travel Partners in Real Time, Canada’s Live Rides Turns Long Drives into Social Experiences

Montreal-based Live Rides, which was a member of the 2012 spring cohort at FounderFuel, is a community marketplace for rides that turns long drives into social experiences.

The Live Rides platform provides an easy way for people to find great travel partners in real-time. They travel together, save money and enjoy a more fun, social experience. Live Rides focuses on ease of use, social match and user safety.

Users are reached through Facebook and third-party integrations (web, mobile, and Facebook plugins for events and attractions). Passengers pay for rides up front; Live Rides keeps a margin and pays the driver when it’s completed. Registration is free.

The Canadian startup, which is comprised of only three people currently—two software engineers and one product manager, the CEO—launched on the iPhone in April 2012. For now, it is only in Canada, but the firm anticipates a US launch and an Android app later this year.

The focus is on building one corridor at a time. The first corridor is Montreal-Toronto, then Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington will follow, and after that, Texas and California. Live Rides offers greater value with long rides by matching driver and passengers with similar interests for more interesting conversation. Users can review social profiles of others customers with the names and see the comments.

Their competition, direct and indirect, includes Craigslist, Zimride, Ridejoy, and PickupPal.

Below is an interview with the CEO, Steve LaChance. 

LOUIS: What did you learn that helped you the most at FounderFuel?

STEVE: Focusing the product. We went from a multi-platform, complex product, to a simple product on the single best platform.

LOUIS: Do you plan to monetize your activities in other ways than commission?

STEVE: No. We strongly believe this is the business model that is best for the users and ourselves.

LOUIS: What are the costs of a Montreal-Toronto ride or a Quebec-Montreal ride? 

STEVE: For riders (passengers), Quebec-Montreal is $20. Montreal-Toronto around $35. One-way. For drivers, a round-trip Quebec-Montreal can be around $100.

LOUIS: Live Rides’ services appears more useful with a large customer base, where customers can pick more “suitable customers for a better social experience.” How do you plan to reach a critical mass of users on different rides?

STEVE: We are working on several marketing initiatives this summer to ensure faster adoption. We will integrate around events, attractions and events to maximize visibility.

LOUIS: What are your objectives for the next year?

STEVE: We have very ambitious growth plans. We aim at having operations in multiple countries by then.

Interview edited for length and clarity.