Are RelayRides, Sidecar, Avego (Carma) and Taxi Magic on the ropes given Uber and Lyft's funding tallies and mobile app performance to-date. Interestingly, Google Ventures has backed 3 companies in the space. With their funding to Uber, it's clear who they're betting on.

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As the transportation tech industry expands its reach, venture capital, PE and even hedge fund investors appear to be picking their horses. Last August, car service app Uber raised one of the largest investments of 2013, taking $258M from investors including Google Ventures, TPG Capital and Benchmark Capital. Meanwhile, on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft appears to be raising another large funding round with Coatue Management as a rumored investor. Lyft last raised $60M just 9 months ago from Andreessen Horowitz.

But as Uber and Lyft add to their war chests, are other venture-backed car-sharing and mobile taxi startups going to be left out? We dug into our App Store and financing data to see which apps were trending ahead of (and behind) the pack as well as who has not raised funding in a while and may be on the ropes, an acqui-hire or who might have something big in the works which remains undisclosed.

Car-Sharing & Mobile Taxi App Store Rankings Comparison

Below is some recent App Store rankings data for 10 venture-backed players in the taxi and car sharing space with U.S. operations. Of the apps, Uber and Lyft dominate in the U.S. App Store rankings in the ‘Travel’ category. Competing e-hailing apps Hailo and Taxi Magic have trended near each other in the top 100 since October. Both Lightspeed Venture Partners-backed Sidecar and Shasta Ventures-backed e-hailing startup Flywheel have ranked in the top 200 ‘Travel’ apps over the period but have not been able to sustain any upward momentum in the rankings.

There are others also that have not been able to shake their ranking doldrums. Carma Carpooling, an app operated by Ireland-based Avego, has only entered the top 1000 sporadically. Car-sharing marketplace Getaround and RelayRides have trended behind the pack as well, though RelayRides has seen its App Store ranking make a notable jump in February. T-Venture-backed European e-hailing startup MyTaxi has also ranked outside the top 200 U.S. ‘Travel’ apps (though it only entered the U.S. market relatively recently)


Car-Sharing & Mobile Taxi VC Financing Comparison

The chart below highlights the wide disparity in financing between Uber and other venture-backed companies operating in the transportation tech market. In fact, Uber has raised more funding than all other nine startups combined.


Peeling back total months since last funding round, we see that while Lyft’s rumored raise would be its second in just 9 months, others including Avego (Carma) have not raised in over two years.

Interestingly, Google Ventures holds stakes in competitors Uber and Sidecar, as well as P2P car sharing startup Relay Rides. SideCar has not raised funding in over a year while Relay Rides disclosed $5.9M in new funding in an Sept. 2013 SEC filing. Given Google Ventures’ notable investment in Uber, it appears Google Ventures has picked who they believe the winner in the space is going to be.


Update: Sidecar disclosed a $10M funding round from investors including Union Square Ventures and Softbank Capital on 2/19/2014 as well as a pivot to a ride-sharing ‘marketplace.’ Sidecar now counts $20M in disclosed funding. The charts above have been updated to reflect the additional financing. Note: Google Ventures did not participate in Sidecar’s latest funding round.

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  • Sean OSullivan

    Hey, I’m CEO at Carma ( and I can tell you we are absolutely not on the ropes! :-) We’re kicking it, with millions in revenue and solid growth.

    That said, we’re not in the taxi business, and the taxi/”on-demand car service” market is not at all the same the market as the “carpooling/ridesharing” market. Note: Uber, Lyft, Sidecar are using the term “ridesharing” in an illegitimate way, trying to bypass the American legal definitions of ridesharing and perhaps trying to gain good will by using the term “sharing” even though these are just paid commercial drivers using their own cars as taxis. What they do is taxis, not ridesharing.

    Nothing wrong with disrupting the taxi market, though, and full credit to these guys for implementing really good technology that works well.

    But the rest of the transportation industry still needs disrupting.

    While Carma is the leading player in the carpooling market, to be honest, no-one has yet fully cracked the (much harder) problem of sharing empty seats in the situation where the driver is sharing the costs of driving with the passenger rather than just a hired hand.

    We’re working on it, just released a new version of the app yesterday (see video

    But at any rate, all of us in the tech industry know it doesn’t matter who is top in the market today, it’s who gets to the top of the heap and can stay there over time. Anyone remember Viber, the first messaging app to really go viral? Sure, they reportedly have 70 million downloads, but they aren’t as sticky as WhatsApp… and WhatsApp eventually seemed to win the game, haven’t they? (at least for now).

    Staying power and real value to customers is where it is at.

  • Anand Sanwal

    Sean – thanks for the great comment and for reading. Interesting distinctions on ride-sharing vs. on-demand car services and Uber, Lyft, etc skirting US laws.

    Interesting times ahead…

  • Sean OSullivan

    Yeah, hopefully it’s going to get better and better for the consumer, with both this range of services, and others (carsharing (vs. on-demand car services), and even self-driving cars in 10-20 years time).

    Real-time carpooling/ridesharing is growing rapidly, but it’s not yet at the scale that these on-demand car services are at yet. Best wishes, Anand, and if you want to reach out to me at any time you can reach me through