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About LaZooz

LaZooz is a Decentralized Transportation Platform owned by the community and utilizing vehicles' unused space to create a variety of smart transportation solutions. By using cryptocurrency technology, La'Zooz works with a "Fair Share" rewarding mechanism for developers, users and backers.

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This Israeli Ride-Sharing App Is the Utopian, Hippie Uber

Sep 17, 2015

By Bloomberg News (Gabrielle Coppola and Yaacov Benmeleh)- (Bloomberg) -- Uber, in many ways, embodies hyper- capitalism. The apps surge pricing algorithm, which automatically raises fees when the weather is badordemand is high, is a constant source of sticker shock and an occasional source of outrage. Some critics saythe company issqueezing driver pay, others that its running roughshod overgovernment regulators. Travis Kalanick, Ubers confrontational chief executive officer, compares his job with runningfor public office, and it hasnt been a smooth campaign.Protesters have disruptedcorporate events,marched outside the San Francisco companys headquarters, and interrupted an interview with Kalanick during the Sept. 10 taping of Stephen Colberts new late-night talk show. Halfway across the globe, Shay Zluf says heshoping to createtheanti-Uber. In Israel, the former yoga instructor co- founded LaZooz, a sort of cooperative ride-hailing service. Through the organizations app, volunteersgive people lifts in exchange for tokens they can later tradefor rides.The group behindLaZooztalks a lot about community responsibility, alleviating city congestion, saving the environment, and the fair share of wealth. Just doing another application was not enough for me, Zluf said. What is important for me is to start a movement. To keep track of the online exchange of karma,LaZooz began developing its own digital currency in 2013, based on the technology underpinning bitcoin. Apart frombeing used as a means tocompensate drivers, Zooz tokens are given out to the 80 or so coders and other people who volunteer services to improve the app. One Zooz roughly converts to a penny; at the current rate, booking a ride through the app costs about a tenth the price of Uber, says Zluf, a37-year-old formercontract developer forEBay and Broadcom.LaZooz has been testing the ride-sharing feature in Israel since Julyand plans to roll it out globally onSept. 17.One message on the apps website humbly declares: The end of capitalism has begun. Israel is a fertile environmentfor this kind ofidealistic twist on one of todays hottest technology businesses. Not only does it house one of the most successfulstartup scenes outside of Silicon Valley, its one of the few developed countries in whichhitchhiking remainsa common way to get around in some communities. Israel was founded with socialist ideals, and in 2011, the rising cost of living sparked the largest public protests in the countrys history. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied to curb the political and economic influence of the countrys business elite.Zluf cites that movement as a sourceof inspiration for LaZooz, which means to move in Hebrew. Other ride-booking apps have set their sights onIsrael for different reasons. The countrys large, affluent population has plenty of smartphones and disposable incometo spend on taxis. The market was dominated` by a homegrown startup called Gett (formerly GetTaxi) until August 2014, when Uber beganspending heavilyto push its way in. Gett was Israels most-downloaded Android transportation app on most days in August 2015, and Uber averaged 10th, according to research firm App Annie. LaZooz barely cracked the top 500 on a typical day.We are aware of LaZooz, and wish them best of luck and success, said Li-or Avnon Solan, a spokeswoman for Uber. Applications like LaZooz not only demonstrate that there is consumer demand for a ride- sharing product but also that other companies share our vision of future mobility.Google, which bought the Israeli navigation startup Waze for about $1 billion in 2013, started testingits owncarpooling servicecalled RideWith in Tel Aviv this summer. Its unlikely that LaZooz willdisplace such established companies as Uber and Gett because its decentralized nature and virtually nonexistent marketing budget couldmake it seem unreliable,said Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University whose recent research has focused onthe sharing economy. There are limits to how far a completely decentralized system like this could go, he said.People will still pay for better logistics, a more trusted systemthose are still things that are better done by a centralized platform. While it wont be easy for LaZoozto break through, its starting to amass a fervent base of supporters. So far, about 2,500 people have signed up to use the app, which is available onlyon smartphones running Googles Android software. Users have left enthusiasticreviews on the Google Play store and on Twitter, often throwing around such words as revolutionary. Bitcoin developerJeff Garziksays a decentralized transportation app such asLaZooz has the potential toeat Uber and Lyft.The trio behind the project has raised $120,000 from supporters and friendsand has persuadedErnst & Young to provide accounting services in exchange for digital tokens, said Zluf. Katherine Tarbox, a spokeswoman for Ernst & Young, declined to comment.Next, Zluf said, they are looking to raise an additional $1 million to develop an iOS version and more features. Yechiel Yogev, a 37-year-old industrial engineerwho lives in the northern Israeli city of Migdal HaEmek, is an earlyfan. He started a Facebook page to promote LaZooz after discovering the app while reading up about bitcoin. Yogevused LaZooz recently to catch a ride to Haifa, a city near Tel Aviv in which companies that include Google, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Yahoo! have research and development facilities. I turn on the app, and its just like hitchhiking. I used to love doing that as a soldier, Yogev says. Humanity at large needs to become more efficient by becoming more connected with one another. To contact the authors of this story: Gabrielle Coppola in New York at Yaacov Benmeleh in Tel Aviv at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at For more columns from Bloomberg View, visit Page: 1 Related Keywords:001511NODE, 2500, ALLSTATES, ALLTOP, ALLWWCUR, AME, AMERICAME, ATTACHMENT, BBCHTO, BBIZ, BGOVBILLGO, BGOVCODES, BIZNEWS, BNALL, BNSTAFF, BNTEAMS, BNTELAVIV, BONDWIRES, BUSINESS, CA, COS, ECOM, EM, EMINTLTEAM, EQUITYKEY, FINNEWS, FRXDIGITAL, G10MEMB, G7MEMB, HLNOVEL, HLNOVELTY9, INDUSTRIES, INTERNET, ISRAEL, ISTOP, ITSVC, MAJOR, MENA, MIDEAST, MISC, MSCIDVEUR, MSCINAMER, MSCIWORLD, NORTHAM, NOVEL, NOVELTY9, NYX, ONWEB, ORIGINAL, PADD5, PADDIST, PHOTO, READ, READ25, READ50, SF, SOF, SPREGIONS, SRCRANK1, STFILT241, STFILT266, SVC, TEC, TECHCUR, TECHCURZ2, TECHCURZ3, TECHTOP, TECHTOPZ2, TECHTOPZ3, TIMECO, TIMENI, TMT, TOP, TRN, US, USBNX, USSTORY, USTECH, USWE, WORLDBloomberg News, Digital Media Software, Communications, Web, Apps, Smart Phone, Search, Research, Google, Social Media, Mac, Android, Israel, Business, Other, Source:? ?2015 Bloomberg News. 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LaZooz is included in 2 Expert Collections, including Blockchain.



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