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Not only is there an Uber-like business model for just about everything, but there are all kinds of businesses for your Uber. Now here comes another concept to layer an extra transaction on your ride. In the latest iteration of the ride-hail backseat as a new consumer marketplace, Los Angeles-based Ivee curates decor for your current or desired mood. It will help you (or brand marketers) by creating a particular mindstate while you’re going about your day. And it will ferry your happy bubble with an all-electric fleet.
Strategies to help underpaid ride-hail drivers side hustle their side hustles are not new. The opportunities to pick up extra earnings on each fare are varied and growing. They can amenitize their backseats with third-party products and services in the hopes of extra tips, or actually earn a portion of the revenue they help third parties to earn on their rides.
There is digital advertising inside the vehicle (Vugo), on the roof (Firefly), and as a wrap (Wrapify). Drivers can become a consumer packaged goods distributor with a box of for-sale sundries strapped on their center consoles (Cargo).
Now Ivee’s participating drivers can invest in themed decorations and amenities to earn more from a customer. At the moment, their rides could be delighted by a mobile holiday party. Next month they will have the option to make their backseats a rolling relaxation pod as people regroup from the holidays.
But it’s more than an OtterBox for your Uber in two ways. First, eventual product placement will combine the marketing side hustle with the consumer packaged goods side hustle. And it will do so with a vivid experience engaging all five senses.
Second, it’s going to use whim-oriented consumers to — wait for it – minimize harmful consumption. Because while you’re busy Instagramming the gimmick you’re rolling in, the ride-hail fleet will electrify.
At least, that’s the goal. The spark came from Giannikoulis’ experience surveying the mobility scene and watching Silicon Valley money flow. He had been a partner in tech early stager-focused Graphene Ventures. “Seeing mobility-as-a-service, there’s all these great new concepts around how transportation works, but no one was solving at scale how to increase EV adoption,” he said in a phone interview.
Giannikoulis saw the potential in electric ride-hail and brand participation. “I started thinking about, ‘How do you create a better ride for brands to participate in that in a way that is passenger-centric?'” he said.
Alpha testing started in Chicago last March. The company was formally founded on Earth Day, April 22. It has been on Los Angeles roads in beta since September.
Ivee will accomplish its mission, Giannikoulis believes, by appealing to drivers, passengers, and brands alike. Drivers will, if beta outcomes hold, earn twice their typical tips for the fun surprise they bring. (For now, it’s only driver’s choice. Passengers can’t yet order a particular theme for a ride.)
Those packaged themes or a core technology pack that includes a tablet, wi-fi, and connected lighting are provided free of charge for ride-hail drivers to use if they complete at least 40 rides per week in a low-emissions vehicle. They can also rent an Ivee EV hourly. So far rental rates average $3 per hour, a rate that Giannakoulis says works out to less than the cost of fuel over an eight-hour shift in most cases.
Brands will get new customers by customizing the interior or exterior of a car, by using the onboard tablet to customize messaging or run their own apps, and by placing products the passenger will try as part of a visceral experience.
A morning café experience, for example, would include not just the welcome sight of coffee during a morning commute, but the smell of fresh grounds in the car, a pleasant mix playing on the audio that emulates a coffeehouse’s music, the warm touch of the cup on the passenger’s hands, and the rich taste of the drink.
Additionally, in Giannikoulis’ view, those brands get a “halo effect” from association with an environmentally-focused concept. “[Millennials] want authetic interations, they want brands that have values that stand for something,” he said. “We can use the power of the brand for good.”
December 20, 2018 at 05:11PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs