Big data is one of the most lucrative by-products of the digital revolution, enabled by the flood of information from smartphones, cars, clouds, and connected devices. Numerous startups have emerged to cash in on these opportunities, including those catering to ride-sharing and delivery drivers.
Founded in 2016, Gridwise claims to help drivers earn as much as 39% more per hour by pooling data from various sources and serving up real-time alerts to let them know where and when to show up.
To do this, Gridwise collates data from traffic services, social media, weather, events, and local news, as well as leaning on crowdsourced data from its network of drivers who install a dedicated app on their phones. Gridwise said it has already tracked 300 million ride-hailing miles from drivers who have installed its app, mostly across Uber and Lyft.
The Pittsburgh-based startup this week announced that it has closed a $3.3 million seed funding round led by Mountain State Capital, with participation from Switch VC, 412 Venture Fund, Quaker Capital, Blue Tree Allied Angels, and Reinforced Ventures, taking its total funding to $5.4 million. Now the company has also unveiled plans to “unlock ride-share and delivery insights” to help municipalities, mobile service platforms, insurance providers, and other key stakeholders understand how people move within cities.
“The supply and demand data we capture across services not only allows us to create a more powerful user experience for drivers through data network effects, but also enables us to improve through the way people and goods move in cities by exposing aggregate analytics to corporate and municipal stakeholders,” Gridwise cofounder and CEO Ryan Green told VentureBeat.
This move taps a growing trend across the urban mobility spectrum as companies increasingly leverage big data to unlock deeper insights into cities.
Alphabet off-shoot Sidewalk Labs recently spun out a new company called Replica that uses “de-identified” location data to figure out how people move around cities. This data emanates from a range of third-party sources and is then combined with demographic data from public sources, such as censuses and public transit data, to create a “synthetic population” not unlike SimCity. Elsewhere, San Francisco-based StreetLight Data uses data gathered from weather apps, dating apps, and more to serve up valuable insights into how people move around. Then there’s PredictHQ, which recently closed a $22 million round of funding for a proposition similar to Gridwise — except PredictHQ sells its data to companies like Uber to help them forecast demand.
It’s worth noting that Uber itself has a data-sharing program for cities, but Gridwise says the cross-platform nature of its service is a core selling point. The company works with Uber, Lyft, and Via in the U.S. and is able to track food delivery services (starting with Uber Eats). It also has aspirations to expand into grocery and parcel deliveries, which could offer even greater insights into the gig economies shaping cities.
“We see that 70% of drivers are driving for at least two or more gig services out on the road and are constantly turning them on and off as they drive,” Green continued. “Gridwise is essentially the layer over the services providers that is able to connect the breadcrumbs between all of the ride-share and on-demand delivery services on the road, enabling us to possess the most comprehensive view for how people and goods are moving across these services.”