|By Business Wire||
|June 11, 2014 09:10 AM EDT||
Carma, the company powering the real-time ridesharing economy, today unveiled the Carma Prize, funded by $2.5 million in grants and investment. The comprehensive stimulus program will encourage developers to create breakthrough applications that make ridesharing the solution for eliminating commuting gridlock in cities around the world. Funds and seed investment will be awarded to developers whose innovation drives significant and sustained use of legitimate ridesharing anywhere in the world.
Due to inadequate public transportation options, highways are jammed with single occupancy cars. This adds significant time and frustration to the daily commute. In fact, research at Umeå University in Sweden showed that commutes longer than 45 minutes are associated with increased divorce rates, greater propensity for neck and back problems and less sleep.
“We don’t need incremental improvements in our daily commutes, we need a revolution. The Carma Prize is an important symbol of our commitment to make legitimate ridesharing a critical and meaningful part of the sharing economy,” said Sean O’Sullivan, CEO of Carma. “It’s like the Nobel Prize, but instead of awards for chemistry or physics, we will be recognizing significant breakthroughs in sustainable commuting, which will affect the critical climate, energy and political issues we face today.”
Ridesharing goes beyond the current wave of pseudo-taxi services that have caused public confusion around the term “ridesharing.” Carma’s solution is an easy-to-use mobile app that enables users to find nearby commuters who want to share their empty car seats and the cost of the journey. Using GPS matching and tracking capability, riders reimburse drivers for a portion of journey costs, at roughly one-ninth of the rate “illegitimate” ridesharing companies charge. Now Carma is looking to accelerate and grow the ridesharing market through the Carma Prize.
The Carma Prize Fund covers three distinct contests including:
- The Carma Prize for 3rd Party Developers will award $1 million to the first developer using Carma’s real-time ridesharing API to build an application that results in 10,000 daily user trips over a 90-day period. To apply for access and view more information about Carma’s API, please visit www.carmacarpool.com/prize.
- The Carma Prize for Internal Developers will offer $1 million to a Carma employee who creates a feature that results in 1,000 additional daily trips in a single metropolitan area. Carma is actively looking for the right technical talent; click here to apply.
- The Carma Accelerator is a $500,000 program that will offer $25,000 in cash to development teams with innovative ridesharing ideas and projects. Additional benefits include free office space, facilities (at its headquarters in Cork, Ireland) and mentoring to grow their ideas. Interested teams can find out more and apply at http://carma.axlr8r.com.
Founded in 2007, Carma is a world leader in legitimate ridesharing, helping people team up to commute together. Carma’s customers include cities, governments, public and private transport operators and tens of thousands of consumers. A number of cities are using Carma to reduce traffic congestion including: Austin, Texas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C. Bergen, Norway and Cork, Ireland. Carma experienced an 8,000% increase in usage during the San Francisco BART strike in 2013 as commuters sought alternative commuting methods to deal with nightmarish commutes to work. For more information about Carma, see www.carmacarpool.com or download the app from the iPhone App Store or Android's Google Play.
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