Bonazzi, R. (2014) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy of Dynamic Ridesharing (submitted)
Dynamic ridesharing is a form of carpooling that allows anyone to hitchhike a ride on a short notice, by means of a smartphone application. Firms like Lyft and Uber are said to revolutionize the sector of transportation within big cities. Nonetheless, this mobile service is still at its infancy and there is a constellation of alternative solutions, and no reliable way to benchmark their diffusion across cities. We propose a methodology that treats dynamic ridesharing like a virus and (1) collects data from Google trends, as if it was a flu; (2) monitors its viral diffusion across cities by implementing a model used in epidemiology; (3) infers the strategy of the firm and represents it on a business model canvas. Our data analysis shows that (a) the Susceptible-Infected-Recovered model performs better than the traditional S-shaped curve, and (b) our methodology allows to estimate the evolution of new users and dropped users in every cities and tests business model hypotheses accordingly.