A new ride-hailing app that is positioning itself as the anti-Uber is expected to soft launch in New York City this month. Juno, the brainchild of Israeli-American businessman Talmon Marco, has spent the last few months recruiting highly rated Uber drivers to its platform in anticipating of going live this spring. Now it appears that the launch may come sooner than expected.
"We have sufficient liquidity to launch tomorrow."
Marco told The Verge that Juno would be available in a private beta mode to "family and friends" later this month, and expects to launch officially in late spring or early summer. In an interview with The Washington Post today, Marco claimed that Juno is already the second largest ride-hail company in New York City based on the number of drivers it has signed up. "We have sufficient liquidity to launch tomorrow," he told The Post.
How does Juno plan on out-Ubering Uber? The company's strategy is twofold: sign up the cream of the crop, Uber drivers with ratings of 4.75 and above; and promise those drivers to pay them more money, as well as shares in the company. If drivers are happier, the rides they provide will be higher quality, the theory goes — and customers will be convinced to use Juno over Uber.
To be sure, Juno will have to overcome huge hurdles to compete in the most cutthroat, highly regulated taxi market in the country. Uber is large and in charge, while Lyft has positioned itself as the scrappy, pro-driver alternative. It's unclear whether riders care about details like driver pay and equity plans in the five seconds it takes to open a smartphone, choose an app, and hail a ride.