At the end of Uber’s first full day of PR wreckage on Tuesday, one of my bosses announced she was downloading taxi-hailing app Flywheel and deleting Uber’s app — like many have tweeted they have done.
But while ride-sharing competitor Lyft has likely received a publicity bump from Uber’s massive fumble, it’s likely no one’s benefiting more from this right now than Flywheel. Today, the company is announcing a new round of funding, to the tune of $12 million, which it will undoubtedly use to maximize on this opportunity Uber has given it.
The company also has a new chief executive, Rakesh Mathur, as well as a new chief technology officer and chief financial officer.
Unlike Uber, or even competitors Lyft and Sidecar, Flywheel is not an alternative to taxis. It merely outfits licensed taxis with the same technology. Cab drivers join Flywheel’s network, and in exchange for 10 percent of their proceeds, enjoy the benefits of access to Flywheel’s customer base.
And Flywheel can be a fairly easy sell to consumers — just as with ride-sharing apps, users can call, or hail, a car from their smartphone, track when and where it will arrive, and pay within the app without having to worry about carrying cash (as a San Franciscan, I can say that’s one of the biggest conveniences, as many cab drivers here refuse to take credit cards).