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Lyft Is Testing Out An All-Access Subscription Business Model

Most people are used to monthly subscription plans since they are the typical business model for services that run continuously. Netflix and Hulu and other video streaming services make use of them as they are more convenient than paying for every episode. However, this kind of business model is generally unheard of in the transportation industry, but Atlanta with Lyft All-Access Plan, a GA-based tech company, is testing the waters for its use.

Competitive Pricing

Various sources have reported that the ride-hailing service is sending an invite to select riders to try out their subscription plan which is called the All-Access Plan. Aside from being an invite-only feature, prices vary from person to person which simply means that the company is still trying to figure out the perfect pricing. According to some people, the company offered them $199 for one month and with it, they get 30 free rides as long as the fare is not more than $15. This means that Lyft is effectively giving them $450 worth of free rides per month.

However, as the company is still deciding on the best pricing to do, some users are reporting different offers. A different source reports that the company offered them a $49 per week plan with seven free rides not exceeding $15 for the fare. This means that effectively, you are getting a weekly subscription with a total value of $105 worth of rides. The company assures the users that there are no hidden charges. For people who regularly use the ride-hailing service with daily trips that don’t exceed the limit, this subscription model is definitely worth it as it will incur big savings in the long run.

 What This Means for the Future

Right now, the company is still testing this new subscription model and it is unsure whether or not the company is planning to replace its current business model or is simply offering this as an alternative payment option. It is expected that the company will officially make its new subscription model public and will make it available for all users.

With this new payment mode in mind, ride-hailing services will probably grow more and more in number.

Numerous analysts have tried to predict what this increase will mean for the millennials buying their first cars, and for the car manufacturers that make them. There was a lot of fear and speculation that these services will eventually kill the automotive industry as people will buy fewer cars as these ride-hailing services become more numerous, become less expensive, and become easier to access.

Recent reports show that this isn’t the case as a lot of operators are actually buying new cars to be used for these services and since they act just like taxi services, they depreciate just as quickly. This eventually evens out since the operator will have to buy a new one more often. However, this also means that there are effectively less cars operating on the roads at a given time which will lead to less traffic and faster travel time.

Whether or not Lyft’s new subscription plan will become a success is anyone’s guess. The good news is that these continuous innovations only ensure that these ride-hailing services are here to stay.

Vinik Helping Dreamit Fund More Startup Companies

One of the most popular business people and philanthropists of his generation, Jeff  Vinik has once again made a bold move to invest in a startup company that he believes possesses a lot of promise through Dreamit Ventures.

The well-known owner and developer of Tampa Bay Lightning has given a generous $12 million investment to Dreamit, an early-stage venture fund accelerator, in order to support its vision of helping startup companies.

Dreamit started its great groundwork in 2008, and from there it continued to give assistance to companies, especially those in the fields of urban technology and healthcare.

According to Vinik, “I met the guys from Dreamit almost a year and a half ago. From that very first meeting, I thought they were terrific. The way they’ve approached their business of accelerating companies (and) the way they’re vetting potential investments has been outstanding.”

This gesture from Vinik has allowed him to be part of the rising accelerator. He will become a part of Dreamit as one of the board of directors (BOD). Vinik also served as a BOD for Liverpool Football Club from 2010 until 2013.

Vinik’s investment has also allowed Dreamit to come up with a plan for developing an office in Tampa. News has not been confirmed yet, but if given the green light, office works will begin in the first quarter of 2019.

It’s Not the First Time

It is not the first time that Vinik has helped Dreamit. One of the earlier programs of the rising accelerator was UrbanTech, and reports suggested that Vinik has provided an undisclosed amount of money.

He said, “Over the last year, my partnership with Dreamit has helped us identify emerging technologies and bridge the funding and resource gap between Tampa Bay and larger startup ecosystems like New York and San Francisco.”

There is no doubt, why Vinik is eager to help Dreamit. The startup fund accelerator has already supported a lot of companies such as LevelUp, and Tissue Analytics and Raxar. In return, these companies never failed to impress as they already cultivated $800 million in follow-on funding.

Vinik has an impressive vision to see industries be transformed by these startup companies. He still has a lot to offer and his actions will surely result in creating a bold impact on the society.



Top Amazon Executive Moves to Airbnb

On March 5, Greg Greeley, the vice president of Amazon Prime posted on LinkedIn that he was resigning after 18 years in the company. According to his post, he was leaving to take on a “different challenge.”

It turns out that the different challenge was to work for a startup. Shortly after the post, Airbnb announced that Greeley was going to head its Homes Division.

To get a better grip of the future, Airbnb has set about reorganizing by dividing the business into four divisions: Homes, Trips, Lux and China. Greeley, former Amazon Prime Vice President, is uniquely suited to head the Homes division. He was responsible for building the European segment of Amazon, and was set to work on the transformation of the Whole Foods, which was recently acquired by Amazon.

Before Greeley, the Homes division head was Airbnb Chairman Brian Chesky. Homes is yet Airbnb’s most profitable division.

Greeley came from Sun Microsystems and joined Amazon in 1999. At Amazon he was involved in various roles, including operations and finance, as well as Amazon’s books and music retail business and the consumer business in Europe. He was also instrumental in the creation and growth of Amazon Prime which he managed starting in 2013.

His learnings from Prime, a subscription service, may be useful with Airbnb after it announced a perks and rewards program for renters and hosts. This is to encourage loyalty and increase spending among top users. The division represents almost all of the company’s $2.57 billion revenue in 2017.

The Homes division is also undergoing further modifications as it recently introduced a higher-end tier called Plus, and options for hotel stays, and a loyalty program.

Through a spokesman, Amazon acknowledged Greeley’s contributions with this statement: “We thank Greg for his contributions to Amazon and wish him the best in his new role.”

While with Amazon Prime, Greeley spent some time working in Europe. During that time, Airbnb competitor approached him and offered him the CEO position. Greeley declined the offer.

Airbnb is an online utility which matches rooms for rent with possible vacationers who would want to rent cheap rooms. Serving as a broker and marketplace it has more than 150 million users as of the first quarter of 2017; it has over 4.5 million listings in more than 81,000 cities located, and it has tax agreements with more than 275 countries. It has facilitated in over 260 million listings since it was founded.

The company is also one of the most aggressive in terms of growth. It has an estimated 100 million “guest arrivals” in 2017. The company valuation as of mid-2017 was $31 billion. With growing regulations and legislation in the US and Europe, the company has set its sights on Asia and Latin America for further growth. More than 81% of Airbnb’s business is from outside of the US.

There are still several openings in key positions at AirBnB, including the chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.

Airbnb is a bold technology which has proven to be disruptive in the way people are booking their vacations. Its continued growth is expected to expand even further.

The company allows its hosts to set their own room rates, with suggestions on Airbnb. Accordingly, the hosts are responsible for putting up pictures of their own rooms and homes. In San Francisco, the average Airbnb room rate in 2015 was 18.8% less than the average hotel room rate. The occupancy rates of Airbnb homes also vary a lot. In 2015, the occupancy rate of Airbnb rooms and homes was around 65%. Analysts estimated that the income generated was $451.43 million in New York City alone, for the whole of 2015. This was estimated to increase to $805.32 million by 2018.


Possible Alternative Fuel for Rockets Found on the Moon

The moon is once again enjoying the limelight. A recent study about it is presenting a bold idea that alternative fuel for spacecraft may come from water scattered on its surface.

The Apollo 11 mission catapulted exciting researches and studies including the presence of water on the moon. Scientists have recently found that hydroxyl, a more reactive relative of water, is scattered around the surface of the moon and not just at the poles also known as “cold traps” or at specific terrains.

The Hydroxyl Impact on the Moon

The research revealed that the hydroxyl has the capacity to be used as oxygen, drinking water, and even a gasoline for the rockets. 

Alternative Fuel for Spacecraft may allow water to power rockets
Could water power rockets to mars

Using the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) of NASA, the authorities were able to somewhat identify the magmatic water flowing on the surface of the moon. The groundbreaking discovery initially took place in 2009, and investigations have not ceased since then.

Researchers have yet to discover the source of the water on the moon, but what they know is that water exists both during day and night.

Joshua Bandfield, a Senior Research Scientist with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said, “We find that it doesn’t matter what time of day or which latitude we look at, the signal indicating water always seems to be present. The presence of water doesn’t appear to depend on the composition of the surface, and the water sticks around.”

Water to the Rescue as an alternative fuel for spacecraft

According to Michael Poston, a Southwest Research Institute Scientist, and Co-Author of the research, “When you split water molecules, you end up with oxygen and hydrogen, critical components for breathable air and rocket fuel.”

The elements that are used for liquid-fueled rockets are dangerous to the environment, highly combustible, and expensive. With the help of the moon’s newly-discovered water, rockets may now have a safer and better alternative.

If successful, water on the moon could send up future space missions. Astronauts could make a lunar pit stop and replenish their rocket tanks before continuing farther into the solar system.

The study is still in its nascent stage but because of the continuous effort and support from research facilities, water on the moon might soon become the next bold and big thing.