Skedaddle, the ridesharing startup, is trying to do what Uber and Lyft did for ride-hailing for charter bus service around the country. The startup, which was launched two years ago on the premise that people would want to escape the city on the weekend and needed a means to do so, is starting to take the chartered bus industry by storm.
“Every time we wanted to leave the city, it was expensive,” said Adam Nestler, one of the founders, in a report. “We had to rent a car, and it was a pain in the butt, or it was expensive. We wanted to touch a button on our phone and ride with others traveling in the same direction.”
Skedaddle started out as a website but is now pivoting into an app-only business. The company landed $2.1 million in new venture funding from investors, including lead Arena Ventures, and will use the proceeds for its transformation.
The way the app works is someone planning a public trip can post their route and then get at least nine people to come along and pay a cheaper rate. As soon as the group reaches 10 people, the trip is booked, and the ride will happen. At that point, anyone else can join the trip as the chartered bus maxes out at 54 seats. The company also allows private trips to be scheduled for different numbers of passengers, but most of its business comes from these public trips. “As we grow density and users in each city … this becomes as reliable as a schedule without a schedule,” Nestler said in the report.
Nester noted that there are around 4,000 charter bus companies in the U.S. alone and that they each own two to 10 buses. The companies often book engagement for an event here and there. Not to mention the market is fragmented, which means there’s a lot of downtime for the buses and an opportunity for Skedaddle.