You may have heard of Flywheel, it’s the app-enabled cab hailing startup that rivals Uber. They are causing quite a stir at the moment as the firm recently announced that it had raised $12 million in Series C funding. The company’s new CEO, Rakesh Mathur, isn’t shy about his criticisms of Uber. In a recent reference to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Mathur said, “Travis has used the word ‘asshole’ to describe the taxi industry…Well, he uses the word and he acts in that fashion and beyond that he clearly created an army of mini assholes.”
Flywheel first launched back in 2010 under the name Cabulous and has grown in strength and popularity since then. Their headquarters are located south of San Francisco in Redwood City. Interestingly the CEO estimates that approximately 85% of the city’s taxis are equipped with Flywheel.
The firm connects people with taxis in California, Washington, Florida and Oklahoma via their Flywheel app. The function is not dissimilar to Uber or Lyft or any other ride-sharing service: The payments are handled in-app and the users are then able to rate the drivers at the end of the journey.
Mathur says, is its reliance on licensed taxi drivers is what sets Flywheel apart from competitors like Uber and Lyft. Flywheel states users receive a better experience, who get the advantage of trusted and knowledgeable drivers, who undergo strict background checks. Mathur is hoping that their extensive experience in San Francisco will help the firm to expand to more cities across the US.
According to Mathur, one reason for taxi firms to have been easily supplanted by companies such as Uber and Lyft, is because the taxi industry is fragmented by individual cab companies. More often than not, taxi fleets do not have their own app or even if they do, they are not user friendly and they don’t include taxis from numerous different firms.
Mathur also shed light on Flywheel’s popularity,”What we’ve noticed in San Francisco is people have Uber, Lyft, Flywheel and whichever delivers a ride the fastest is the one that gets used…You’ve got to prove yourself every time.”