The ride’s over for Sidecar, a pioneering ride-sharing service that simply couldn’t compete with Uber and Lyft’s mindshare—nor their massive venture capital-infused warchests, as co-founders Sunil Paul and Jahan Khanna made clear in their farewell post on Medium.
“We are the innovation leader in ridesharing despite a significant capital disadvantage, continually rolling out new products that set the bar for others to follow,” they wrote.
No more. Sidecar will stop all deliveries and rides at 2 p.m. on December 31. The closure doesn’t exactly come as a surprise; the company had already shifted focus towards Postmates-style delivery/courier services in 2015, after its attempt to differentiate from the competition by allowing customers to pick their drivers failed to give said competition any pause. And things were only getting worse; while Lyft’s raised over $1 billion and Uber’s near-constant funding rounds have totaled up to more than $10 billion, Sidecar raised a mere $35 million in its lifetime.
But while Sidecar’s hit a dead-end as originally envisioned, the company itself may not be sent to the scrapyard just yet. “This is the end of the road for the Sidecar ride and delivery service, but it’s by no means the end of the journey for the company,” Paul and Khanna wrote; they also said Sidecar is shutting down rides and deliveries to “work on strategic alternatives and lay the groundwork for the next big thing.” That’s interesting for sure—but the co-founders didn’t provide any other explanation about where this alleged detour is headed.