Sidecar, a ride-sharing and delivery service, will cease operations at 2PM PT on December 31st, according to co-founders Sunil Paul and Jahan Khanna. The company, which is based in San Francisco, has struggled in recent years to get out from under the shadow of its much larger rivals like Uber and Lyft.
"Shutting down the Sidecar service is a disappointment for our team and our fans," Paul and Khanna write in a post on Medium, citing "a significant capital disadvantage" as one of the reasons Sidecar decided to fold. "The impact of our work, however, will be felt for generations to come. We changed transportation law, and created a new mode of transportation that has transformed cities and made life easier and better for millions of people."
"Sidecar came up with all the cool technology... "
While it started in 2011 as a peer-to-peer, on-demand ride-sharing service, by late 2015, Sidecar had largely shifted to a business-to-business delivery company. It relaunched in early 2014 with an eye toward encouraging its drivers to offer more of a personal touch to riders, complete with pictures and notes about themselves or car "amenities" like phone chargers or free water. But by August, ride-sharing was largely set aside in favor of deliveries. And now that will cease as well.
Sidecar also struggled to match Uber and Lyft's prodigious fundraising. It only raised $35 million over five rounds of financing, according to Crunchbase. By comparison, Uber is reportedly worth $62.5 billion. Sidecar was backed by big investors like Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Sir Richard Branson, many of which had also hedged their bets by investing in Uber and Lyft as well.
Ride-share experts mourned the loss of one of the progenitors of the ride-sharing industry. "Sidecar came up with all the cool technology Uber and Lyft are testing years later: destination filters, custom pricing, the ability to favorite a driver, back-to-back rides, and the ability for a passenger to select the driver they wanted from within the app," wrote Harry Campbell, the Rideshare Guy, on his blog.
Still, Paul and Khanna claim that Sidecar will live in, though in what form in unclear. "This is the end of the road for the Sidecar ride and delivery service, but it's by no means the end of the journey for the company," they write, hinting at "our next big adventure in 2016."