I spend a lot of time in Ubers and Lyfts (but not nearly as much time as the drivers)! As I talk to the drivers about platform software (naturally), I learn how the drivers decide which platform to drive for at any given point in time. Most drivers, like most riders, do what platform experts call “multihoming“, that is, the drivers switch between the Lyft and Uber platforms depending on the promotions being offered, expected demand, and rate structures.
Mystro: Making Multihoming, or Platform Switching, Easier for Drivers
It’s fairly easy for riders to multihome. All we need to do is open Lyft and Uber and check the wait time and price. (It would be nice to do it in one app though.) It’s a little more complicated for the driver to multihome. There are more variables to consider and more platforms to compare, especially in a city like NYC. That is where Mystro comes in.
If the Mystro application is what I think it is like, it’s like Mint, plus some algorithms. The application should connect the driver to the platforms he/she drives for and, given the driver’s constraints (hours they want to work, areas, etc), examine the platforms’ current promotions and recommend the best outcome for the driver. The company takes a small fee from the driver on a monthly or annual basis ($100/yr.). To a platform nerd, it is a pretty cool idea.
Issues Mystro Must Face
I suspect the main issue Mystro faces (besides getting access to the platforms via API!) is getting awareness among drivers, initial trial, and then ultimately recurring payment. I expect there is remarkable churn among the 2 million ridesharing drivers! Another problem is the total available market (TAM). With 1.5 million Uber drivers globally, and supposedly 2/3rds of them multihoming, the global TAM for the company is about $100 million, which may not excite too many VCs.
Extend Mystro to Trucking?
One way the Mystro folks might address their TAM would be to extend Mystro to the incipient trucking marketplaces. The trucking market has many attractive features relative to the ride-share market:
- 3.5 million drivers in the US alone
- more money at stake
- a shortage of drivers
- less churn in the client base (?)
There’s one long-run problem with both of these markets, however: autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles won’t multihome until there are too many on the road and the government requires them to! Better get moving fast Mystro!
Note: I have no financial interest in Mystro, nor do I know the folks there. I simply set out to write a blog post on what a great idea I had for a driver multihoming application and found through my research that Mystro had already invented it. Like many of my great ideas, it was not original!