Austin’s RideScout Picks Up Steam, Rolling Out to Dozens of Cities

The last time we met Joseph Kopser, he was pitching his newly hatched startup, RideScout, at a Start Houston pitch night.

Nine months later, the RideScout app, which Kopser describes as “Kayak for ground transportation,” is preparing to roll out to 40 cities by the end of the summer. Currently, commuters in four cities—Austin, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC—can open the app and peruse real-time transport options, from taxis, buses, and trains to Zipcars, Uber, and B-cycle.

The 20-year Army veteran and West Point graduate has become an evangelist for getting around without a car on his blog, “The Austin Road Scholar,” as well as his tweets detailing his cross-country travels using RideScout.

The startup, which has 12 employees, has raised $2.5 million in funding and is in the middle of soliciting investors for its Series A round, which it hopes to close by August. Here is an edited version of my recent conversation with Kopser on what’s powering RideScout’s growth and how an app could prevent drunk driving.

Xconomy: How many cities have you now rolled out to?

Joseph Kopser: We’re live in four cities; we have three more to go—Chicago, New York, and Houston—in the next month and a half. By the end of summer, we will have turned on 36 more cities, and we expect to have a total of 200 cities by wintertime.

X: Whoa. How can you suddenly add so many cities at one time?

JK: We have made it possible from a tech standpoint. Now we have configured it so that ride providers can upload their own companies onto RideScout. We’re finishing that [software change] now. Until now, we’ve added the ride providers one by one. Now, it’s a self-service process where they can put themselves into the RideScout solution.

That gives us the ability to add cities at a much faster speed over the summer and fall. In … Next Page »

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