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Ride-sharing startup SideCar acquires Austin-based competitor ahead of SXSW

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SideCar, one of the larger companies hoping to establish ride-sharing as a mainstream trend among travelers, has bought out Heyride, a smaller competitor based in Austin, Texas. Heyride launched last October and — similar to other startups like Lyft and Uber — immediately came into conflict with local transportation officials. Despite that friction, the carpooling service claimed that it had been "growing like crazy" in its last blog post published in December.

SideCar's purchase comes ahead of Austin's popular South by Southwest (SXSW) festival slated to kick off in March. Ramping up its presence before hordes of press and festival-goers arrive in the city could help SideCar jump out ahead of other local competition. Unlike Lyft, which settled with California transportation regulators last month, SideCar has yet to come to terms with state officials — who cited ride-sharing and on-demand taxi apps as potential "public safety violations." In response, SideCar stated "this ticket certainly has our attention, but it will not sidetrack us from our broad and important mission to reform a transportation model and legacy regulatory system that hasn’t evolved or innovated in almost half a century."