How many hikes have you left unexplored, rocks unclimbed, epic waves unsurfed? How many sunrises or sunsets have you managed to talk yourself out of witnessing, all because you lack the wheels to get to them or the bodies in your car to make it worth the trek? Today, with the release of the new app RideSwell, our dear friend, Tyler Greco, and his brother Damian are about to change all of that!
RideSwell is a ridesharing app that connects people to the outdoor adventure of their choice — be it hiking, paddle surfing, sailing — you name the adventure and there’s probably a person out there who wants to join you on it! I got to chat with Tyler about the inspiration for RideSwell, how the platform works, and the role environmental conservation takes on within the company. Tweet @rideswell for an invite-only code for you and your friends to join – once the app goes live in the coming days!
What is RideSwell and how does it work?RideSwell is a free carpooling app for getting your butt outdoors. For my own friends and neighbors in NYC, it’s a convenient way for us to shout at each other when there are waves worth surfing. It’s always been a problem for us keep track of long, annoying email and text chains, so I put them all in one place. We really needed an alternative, some simple way for us to plan, discover and share escape plans with each other. Now, it’s finally in our hands, and I’m really excited to extend the invite to a larger community. With RideSwell, you can plan a ride as a driver if you want or you can request to join a ride as a passenger. The app has turn-by-turn directions and a geo-tracker, so you can see how close your friend is to picking you up when a ride is underway. Finally, at the end of the trip, everybody splits the cost. As a driver, this has really helped me recoup expenses to the beach, which is about $20 round trip including tolls. Normally, these were paid back to me in egg and cheese sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong, I love food, but I prefer cash. And because we’re creating an entire network of outdoor focused carpoolers, hopefully you make a new bud to share a ride with, dare I say close friend. It’s happened to me. The app is very intuitive, and there are a lot of cool features coming in the next month. We’re very stoked.
What was the impetus that lead you to create RideSwell?I bought a car two years ago in NYC. I didn’t want one. As a surfer, sailor, climber and hiker junkie, I just wanted a ride to the places outside the city. When my close friends with cars couldn’t go, I had no option to go off the grid – even with public transportation. I had to watch the guy down the block go instead. Then I asked myself: "what if I knew the guy down the block?" What if I could throw him a few bucks for that ride? Maybe he surfs more than my friends do? I disregarded my curiosity altogether and just bought a car, so I could just go when I want. The first day I loaded and unloaded my board from my roof rack four people not only approached me, they begged for a ride. Now I surf with these guys all the time. It was only when I was approached by complete strangers that I realized this was a problem worth fixing. I had seen both sides of the coin. After that, I hooked up with my brother Damian, and RideSwell was born.
Conservation of the wilderness is obviously an important aspect of your company. Can you talk to me about the give-back incentives that are such an integral part of Rideswell and the role that environmental non-profits will be playing.
Environmental conservation and stewardship are the backbone of RideSwell. After staring in the face of our own impact, we realized the opportunity the app could provide. First, every person in the app has a CO2 tracker baked into their profile. It displays your green savings in pounds of CO2, updating with every ride you complete. I was blown away to find out that about one gallon of gasoline burned by your car equals 20lbs of CO2 released into the atmosphere. You can see how easy it is to carelessly pollute when we don’t have context or reminders in our everyday life. Carpooling is a great alternative and I’m proud to help the community visualize the positive impact and actually make it fun to measure on RideSwell. We’re also very psyched about our partnerships with nonprofits like Surfrider Foundation, organizations making a real difference out there. RideSwell provides them with an incredible tool to organize and hopefully turn more outdoor maniacs into volunteers. In the coming months, we’ll be able to double down on our good when your pounds of CO2 turn into points that users can redeem in the form of donations to these very partners. Donations and volunteering are what buoy these nonprofits so they can continue their work. We want to build a community where that hard work is appreciated and supported on a sustainable basis.
This is clearly so much more than just an app–you’re building a beautiful adventurous tribe around the love of the outdoors. What is your big dream for Rideswell and the community building with it?Growing up in the mountains of Montana, getting outside was a way of life for my brother and I. We never took it for granted even when we moved away. Whether you’re hiking or surfing, but even music festivals and meditation – all these lead you to a more spiritual life. I remember last summer when I got a group together for a day of sailing in LA. Troian and your hubby Justin drove out to Redondo along with a few other friends and we hit the water. There was an incredible moment in the ocean when we were completely surrounded by a pod of dolphins. There must have been hundreds of them jumping out of the water. It was exhilarating and we were all freaking out together. I want to forge more moments like that between people and nature. Ultimately I want to multiply that experience by thousands of people. I also believe it’s the key to making more headway in cleaning up our planet. If we can connect over our passions, create a tribe culture, then we will have a powerful community to influence change. It’s also just way more fun when you bring others on the adventure. My hope is that RideSwell provides a place to make all these connections.