WALTHAM, MA—If Rik Ganguly and Ari Iaccarino are right, this upcoming spring and summer could be a fun—especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast and live in transit-oriented city like Boston and Cambridge.
Ganguly and Iaccarino are co-founders of Reading, MA-based Ridj-it, LLC, a carpooling company whose model can also be applied to other non-outdoor activities. The self-funded company was launched about a year ago. Here is an interview via email with Ganguly.
INDIA New England News: What is the mission of the company?
Rik Ganguly: Ridj-it is a rideshare company for outdoor enthusiasts who live in transit-oriented cities like Boston, and matches those who need a ride to the outdoors with someone who can get them there and back. The platform is ideal for those without cars and for those who are looking for new friends.
Ridj-it therefore supports a community of outdoor enthusiasts by increasing access to outdoor destinations throughout New England, and by encouraging a shared experience of getting to the destination and enjoying the outdoors.
This shared experience fosters environmentally-friendly behavior by reducing the number of cars per trip. Ridj-it also connects outdoor-related businesses like ski resorts to a more urban and diverse class of customers and in turn secures ticket discounts for customers.
INE: Growth plan?
RG: Non-outdoor activities: Ridj-it’s carpooling model can also be applied to other non-outdoor activities, and presents an area of expansion. Users have already utilized Ridj-it’s platform for wine tours and museum trips, for example.
Event planning: The social experience that is spurned from matching individuals with similar hobbies enables Ridj-it’s platform to be adapted to plan events, in addition to carpooling. Ridj-it therefore is looking to become a “one-stop-shop” for coordinating events that require carpooling.
Bulk ticket booking: Ridj-it has successfully partnered with outdoor-related businesses like Loon Mountain ski resort and Alpine Adventures (among other businesses) to provide discounts to users since Ridj-it brings to these businesses a steady stream of urban customers, many of whom would otherwise not have been able to get to these businesses in rural NH. Ridj-it therefore plans to be a “one-stop-shop” for outdoor-related businesses to rely on a steady stream of new customers from urban centers.
INE: Self-funded or venture-funded?
RG: Ridj-it is currently self-funded by the co-founders, but we are excited to work with investors and groups that share our values and goals of increased access to non-easily accessible locations without a car and untapped members of the population who can contribute to the local economy.
INE: Where is the venture based out of?
RG: Ridj-it operates out of Boston and surrounding, transit-oriented urban communities, where the vast majority of its user-ship resides. The company is formally registered in Reading, MA.
INE: What is the business model?
RG: For each trip posted by a driver on the platform, a passenger purchases a ride, which costs between $10 and $30 depending on distance. Each trip generates a certain amount of money, determined by the number of passengers who purchased a ride and trip distance.
Ridj-it retains a smaller proportion of this amount and pays the larger part to the driver as reimbursement for gas and travel.
In addition, for trips to outdoor-related businesses like ski resorts, a trip cost includes both the cost of the ride and the cost of the ticket. Ridj-it collects a small service fee from tickets purchased by drivers and riders. However, no fee is collected for events like hiking as this normally requires no ticket purchase on the part of our users.