Not many entrepreneurs would want to launch their own rideshare app against giants in the industry like Uber and Lyft. But the father-daughter duo, William and Savannah Jordan, wants to do exactly that.
They have launched a rideshare app exclusively for women. The service is intended to be available nationwide. Last month, the app was launched in its beta testing stage in Orange County, California.
Tapping into an Untapped Market
Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have risen in popularity, but not necessarily among women. Uber, for example, was infamously entangled in a number of sexual assault and harassment cases where female passengers have complained against their male drivers. Uber is notoriously negligent in addressing these issues. Lyft, though it enjoys a friendly underdog reputation in comparison to Uber, is not faring any better. Both companies receive a number of tickets with words such as “rape” written on them. The problem has gotten so big, there’s even a website dedicated to tracking “incidents” involving ridesharing apps.
See Jane Go, the Jordans’ app, is designed to directly address this issue that big ridesharing companies would happily ignore. See Jane Go offers comprehensively vetted drivers for female passengers to assure safety.
William Jordan, the father, is funding the app out of his own pocket at the moment. (William runs his own wealth management firm.) The idea for the app had come to the Jordans after Savannah entertained the idea of being a rideshare driver. William did not like the idea, especially because he didn’t want his daughter driving male strangers.
His fears are not completely unfounded. The few female drivers Uber and Lyft have had tell chilling stories of having to pick up intoxicated male passengers.
Attempting to Solve the Rideshare Problem for Women
Savannah also told reporters that she herself has been uncomfortable with the idea of taking an Uber or a Lyft with a male driver. She has heard stories from her friends, and has read news articles about sexual assaults against female passengers using rideshare vehicles.
So she and her father pooled their resources and started See Jane Go. The app, unlike Uber or Lyft, will thoroughly screen drivers for criminal records. In addition, a questionnaire will be provided to evaluate the drivers’ ability and attitudes.
William and his daughter are seeking funding from large private equity firms to manage costs as the app launches nationwide. However, funding may not be the only challenge the company faces.
Uber and Lyft are extremely tough competitors in the market. Though the two companies are market rivals, they are united in their political ideology. The companies have raised billions in funding to expand, and are offering competitive rates for passengers. It will not be easy for the Jordans to convince women to switch to their startup app.
Facing Tough Challenges
See Jane Go is not the first rideshare app to offer services exclusively to women. SafeHer is another app that wants to offer more comfortable rideshare options to female passengers. Like See Jane Go, SafeHer wants to launch nationwide. It’s highly likely that See Jane Go will face the same problems SafeHer is facing as the app tries to go mainstream.
SafeHer, ironically, was launched by an Uber driver. SafeHer offers female drivers for female passengers. Additionally, the app allows a safe word to be exchanged between the driver and passenger in advance. It ensures that the passenger is getting into the ride she booked. SafeHer is just getting off the ground has already been criticized for discrimination against male drivers.
SafeHer has not been sued yet. However, both SafeHer and See Jane Go risk being sued out of existence like SheRides, possibly the first women-only rideshare app to launch as an alternative to Uber and Lyft. Male drivers and some activists challenged SheRides for being discriminatory. The legal problems have taken SheRides offline, but the app is reportedly returning sometime soon.
See Jane Go, in contrast, seems ready to face down discrimination complaints. The app has plans to partner with other rideshare companies to divert male passengers, so they are not left without a service.
See Jane Go will launch their beta version nationwide this August.