Students trying to get home for the holidays may soon have an easier time finding a ride, as a new mobile application seeks to connect students hoping to “ride-share” with the help of local entrepreneur group 100state.
Many students at University of Wisconsin-Madison have the same problem figuring out inner city travel within the Midwest, said Oso Ride creator and UW geography graduate student Fei Ma. Ma said she is trying to solve this with her development of Oso Ride, a mobile application that seeks to simplify ride-sharing for students in Madison.
Ma said she thought of the app from her own experiences traveling through places such as Germany and Mexico, where she often had to hitchhike.
“I love traveling,” Ma said. “I find it really exciting, getting connected with strangers and cultures.”
Another reason Ma said she wants to develop the app is because of her environmental concerns. Ma said carpooling is an easy way to reduce carbon footprints. She added ride-sharing is a “win-win” for drivers and passengers, as traveling can get expensive for both with the cost of gas.
To further the app’s development, Ma took her idea to 100state, a “co-working company” located above Ian’s Pizza on State Street. She said being involved with 100state has been useful, as it provides for business connections and other resources members share with one another.
“I like the community a lot, 100state is definitely a great place for startups,” Ma said. “There are entrepreneurs who are there to help and provide you with resources.”
Adam Braus, one of the co-founders of 100state, said the company started up just this past June. He said 100state is now at about 95 members, and could reach 100 in the near future.
He said members work on all different types of projects related to art, music or even social issues, such as homelessness. Ma said working with other entrepreneurs at 100state can also be a comfort.
“Of course being an entrepreneur is pretty lonely, solving all the startup problems by yourself,” Ma said. “[At 100state] there are mentors and peers who are other people dealing with similar problems.”
Braus himself is also involved with Oso Ride. He and some developers are working on the app with Ma, and hope to launch it later this winter, he said.
Braus said Ma already has a website up that has fostered more than 300 rides, boasting about 700 users. He said he and Ma have also made connections to Facebook, noting that many travelers connect through ride-share Facebook groups.
Braus said the kinds of startups that come out of 100state vary. He said 100state typically has 15-25 startups working in their office space. One example he gave was 100 Friends, a “place-making” startup that grew out of 100state, he said.
“Madison is a good place to start a company,” Braus said.
Braus said 100state allows members to connect with each other as well as with mentors who have more experience starting businesses. He said there are experienced entrepreneurs who hold office hours at the location on State Street for those who seek mentorship.
100state is an open community where everyone is encouraged to make their ideas happen, Braus said.