By Punch Correspondent Melinda Contreras
On Wednesday evening, guests packed 1776 to celebrate the launch of RideScout, the app that aggregates ground transportation options, allowing you to search and compare them on-demand. Key features include trip cost estimation, sorting ride options by cost or time, and walking and biking routes with an estimation of calories burned. With partners including Hailo, car2go, Sidecar, Capital Bikeshare, Metro bus and rail, DC Circulator, ART, DASH, DC Pedicab, and Alexandria Yellow Cab, RideScout is the only app that provides point-to-point trip planning services with public, private, and social ridesharing options in one view.
Though everyone was there to celebrate the launch of RideScout, the organization of the event allowed us to celebrate DC startups as a whole. On top of taking over 1776, the home of DC’s most promising startups, the RideScout Launch Party also offered guests a variety of bites from Union Kitchen, DC’s food incubator in Northeast DC that houses over fifty local food entrepreneurs.
With a Texas BBQ theme (RideScout was born in Austin, TX) guests enjoyed brisket from Cured DC, BBQ chicken and pulled pork sliders from B. Lin Catering, corn bread bites from Bling Dog Bakery, mini quiche and sweet potato biscuits with roasted turkey from Nutrition Synergies, and more.
Of course you can’t throw a launch party without some refreshments. The open bar featured selections from Great Lakes Brewing Co and 868 Estate Vineyards. Teas and hand crafted root beers were also available.
In between the drinks and BBQ, guests stayed engaged through Twitter contests, a green screen photo booth that put you in front of a Hailo Cab or Car2go SmartCar, on the Metro Platform, or on (or climbing up a) giant Capital BikeShare bike, and the opportunity to speak with representatives from each of RideScout’s partners.
The Austin based company chose DC as the destination for its official launch due to our wide array of transportation options available, and also because of our city’s leadership, who embraces new technologies that will help make DC one of the most liveable cities in the country. Mayor Vincent Gray joined the celebration about halfway through the event, leading a chant of “Ridescout, Ridescout, Ridescout!” and speaking of a day when new technologies won’t automatically be associated with Silicon Valley, but DC.
In addition to knowing how to throw a great launch party that celebrates your fellow entrepreneurs, the most exciting thing about this app is definitely the team behind it. I downloaded the app last week, and shortly after the download, I received an automated e-mail thanking me for the download, and asking me to submit feedback. I’m never one to shy away from telling others how to make improvements, so I took five minutes to browse through the app, and wrote a short e-mail reply about 10:45 PM. Within 30 minutes, the Communications Manager had replied to my e-mail, detailing how they were currently addressing, or planning to address, each suggestion I had made. If you’re following the timing of this, a staff member replied to my e-mail shortly after 11:00 PM! I’ve never received e-mails that late from someone I didn’t work for! I then sent a follow-up e-mail, and she replied back a day and a half later, first apologizing for the delayed response. No apologies necessary! With the time that the RideScout team puts into acknowledging and addressing all customers’ suggestions, I know great things are ahead for this app, and for the future of alternative transportation.
Check out RideScout
Melinda traveled cross country from a suburb of Los Angeles to attend college in DC, and has been enjoying DC ever since. As a Product Development Coordinator for Thinkfun, an Alexandria based company that creates "addictively fun games that sharpen your mind”, Melinda is often asked if her job is like the movie Big. Basically, yes. When not playing logic puzzles, Melinda likes to track down the coolest events in DC (along with the contests and giveaways that will get you in to them for free). You can find her tweeting about giveaways (and pizza) at @withabambipurse.