RideCell, Provider of Mobility-as-a-Service, Beefs Up Team

In the past year, mobility upstart RideCell has tripled in size, geared up with tech talent, and has started working on a new pilot for BMW’s ReachNow program. Resolution for 2017: further expansion and autonomous vehicles.

We are 60 people now, up from 20 a year ago, and we will be 200 at the end of 2017,” Mark Thomas, VP of marketing at RideCell, told Mobility Buzz.

RideCell provides and powers a white-label platform that enables carsharing, ridesharing, car rental, and fixed-route services for 15 customers, including BMW and UCLA. Essentially, ReachNow is a subscription business that allows for on-demand car services that require some sort of a monthly or weekly fee to use.

The company is now working on a new pilot for BMW’s ReachNow program to allow Mini drivers to place their cars on ReachNow’s platform for short-term leases. The vehicles can be rented for a minimum of two days. The pilot, dubbed ReachNow Share, launched in Seattle last month, and will be offered in more regions soon.

“We are now focused on setting up the ability to give ReachNow customers those features, without the need to switch through several apps,” Thomas said.

The automotive space has “rocketshifted” in the past year,  Thomas said, and OEMs have had to quickly figure out how to start a subscription business.

“Automotive is the new and the biggest mobility entrant, and it has allowed us to branch out and power multiple forms of transportation, like campus shuttles, public transits, and carshares,” he said. To do that, the company beefed up its executive team with techies from Amazon, Google, HP, Cisco, and others.

As autonomous vehicles become more prevalent in the industry, Thomas expects OEMs to form subscription alliances, similar to the airline industry.

“The real goal is to have a high-quality service for your customers, so if a rider requests a car and your partner has one only a block away, you’d refer the customer, and collect referral fees,” he said. “That’s when you’ll see multiple OEMs running on the same platform with fleets of autonomous cars.”

San Francisco-based RideCell raised $11.7 million in a Series A round in April, led by BMW i Ventures with the participation of Khosla Ventures and several angel investors.

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