Toronto Startup Winston Counters Uber’s Local Launch with BlackBerry App

The popular American car service, Uber, recently announced that its service would be arriving in Toronto this week. Local startup Winston, which is modelled after Uber, has responded swiftly by launching a HireWinston app for BlackBerry.

Winston no doubt hopes to retain its popularity as this major, direct competitor encroaches on its territory. The BlackBerry app will expand the Canadian startup’s reach, bringing its sedan scheduling and cab fare payments service to RIM’s mobile platform.

“HireWinston solves problems for both employers and employees,” Aidan Nulman, CEO of HireWinston explains. “Business travelers hate waiting for unpredictable cars, sitting through slow transactions, and ultimately losing paper chits or receipts.

“At the same time,” Aidan notes, “companies want to manage car service expenditures digitally, the same way they do with hotel, flight, and car rental spending. Companies are also concerned that it’s too easy for employees or drivers to abuse current paper payment systems. With the addition of the HIreWinston Blackberry app, finding reliable corporate car service has never been easier or more transparent.”

HireWinston emphasizes in a press release that it’s the first BlackBerry app to enable users to request on‐demand and pre-­scheduled car service in Canada. Uber doesn’t have a BlackBerry-specific app, but any smartphone owner can still take advantage of Uber’s service via SMS. It will be interesting to watch the two startups compete in the same space in the same city.