A Bloomington-based rideshare startup developed by two former Indiana University students is growing. Daniel Jones and Michael McHugh co-founded Nomad Rides, which was born out of a texting service they originally developed in Bloomington called B-Town Rides. Since its launch, the company has completed more than 40,000 rides with a group of more than 80 drivers and 12,000 users and has expanded to the campus of the University of Illinois.
Jones, who is chief executive officer of Nomad Rides, and McHugh, who serves as chief financial officer, talked about the service on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick. Jones says the service differentiates itself from competitors like Uber and Lyft with its non-commission model.
“We’re actually the first commission-free rideshare service; so what that means is Uber and Lyft take up to a 40% commission on each ride and what we do is we don’t take anything,” said Jones. “So our rider pays 20% less, drivers make 20% more and then the way we make money is a monthly driver subscription.”
McHugh says the company has only been operating on a full-time basis since August after he and Jones took part in the Y-Combinator program, a seed accelerator that in the past included companies such as Airbnb, DoorDash and Reddit.
Jones says they are looking to expand the service to other Big Ten Conference schools and beyond.
“We really want to go through all the Big Ten universities like Purdue, etc. and then go through the California schools, the Texas schools, the southern schools, basically just the top 50 college towns in the United States and we can build the third-largest rideshare company in the U.S. just off these towns.”
McHugh says the commission-free model creates a more equitable solution than what currently exists in the rideshare market.