Fix to L.A.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Logan
Green spent a lot of time stuck in trafc.
When he started college at University
of California, Santa Barbara, he left
his car at home and started a ridesharing
service on campus, one that had just six
vehicles. Green was invited to join the
board of the Santa Barbara Metropolitan
Transit District while still in school,
but he quickly grew disillusioned by the
unsustainable economics of public
transportation. Frustrated, he left for a
trip to southern Africa. The rest is startup
history, and a company that generated a
reported $700 million in revenue in 2016.
I WAS JUST HEADING into my senior year
at college, in 2005, and my friend Matt
Van Horn and I took a trip to Africa—
Cape Town, Namibia, Botswana, and
Throughout the trip, we saw these
shared-ride vans. In Zimbabwe, they call
them kombis, named after the VW van,
though sometimes it’s a pickup truck or
a minibus, whatever is available.
In L.A., roads are nonstop trafc and
noise. In Zimbabwe, the streets were
quiet. People walked, rode a bike, or took
a kombi. I don’t think I saw a private
vehicle the entire time I was there. No
locals were driving themselves around.
I was blown away. Zimbabweans
had created this incredibly scalable
transportation system that got better
the more people used it: the more
kombis on the road, the faster the pickup times, the more destinations and
routes that were covered. It operated
on basic free-market principles. Entrepreneurs who would see a need for
a route would charge market rates and
fulfll that need.
It hit me then. Zimbabwe has solved
this problem in a more elegant manner
than we have in the U.S. This isn’t about
money. Zimbabwe has nothing in terms
of government support. The system was
created out of necessity, and it’s because
of the free-market principles that it’s
been able to scale up so successfully.
I didn’t know how to translate that
back to the U.S. It was about a year and
half later that I started working on
Zimride, which was named after that
experience. Ultimately, Lyft evolved
Logan Green A Lyft
• The Original Rideshare
Kombi vans, like these in South Africa,
inspired Logan Green to start what eventually
LAUNCH 32 - INC. - NOVEMBER 2017