As written for iluvlocalplaces.com 10/2016
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have no doubt heard of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. What you may not know is that Cape Girardeau is poised to get its very own version by the name of carGO. The ride share service is designed to work in micropolitan, or hometown markets, where people are more likely to know each other. Up until now, this is a market untapped by larger rideshare companies as they tend to focus on larger cities.
I recently sat down with carGO business managers, Gunnar Knudtson and Kyle Campbell, to get the scoop on their exciting new venture. James Stapleton of Codefi and Jeffrey Maurer of Mayson Capital Partners of Cape Girardeau spearheaded the micropolitan rideshare concept. The service is designed to be an on-demand ride service similar to those in the larger markets. A major defining feature of carGO is the ability to request a ride from your smartphone – connecting you with background checked and safety trained drivers. A further defining feature specific to carGO is the ability to “favorite” and request particular drivers or be matched with nearby drivers.
When I asked Gunnar and Kyle why this particular business, they said an opportunity like this right out of college was not something they could walk away from. Both Gunnar and Kyle were studying business at the University of Mississippi, and both had no plans to come back to Cape. But as we all know, life is funny that way. Gunner explained the pair received a call one day indicating Stapleton and Maurer wanted to meet and discuss the business idea over dinner. Gunner recalls with a laugh, “that meeting lasted over four hours.” He said they felt like they were on “cloud nine” afterward, recognizing that they had an incredible opportunity in front of them. Although the pair has a background in business management and interest in starting a business, neither has experience launching a tech-infused start-up.
Gunnar and Kyle immediately took up residence in the Codefi co-working space in the Federal Building and started the grind. Although the business idea was already in place, the pair would have to create processes and finalize details. This meant partnership agreements, working with the app development, logistics, and a host of legalities and marketing issues related to locating drivers and riders. Then there is the fact that the service has never been tried in the Cape area. No pressure guys. Gunnar and Kyle both express sincere gratitude to the folks at Codefi (https://www.codefiworks.com/) and for the way the up and coming Tech District have nurtured the process.
When asked what success looks like for the new venture Kyle said, “getting that first ride requested and completed.” As the pair laugh, Gunnar chimes in saying that he is hopeful for “future expansion into multiple markets” as the long-term indicator of success. Both gentlemen agree that the experience is going to be a great learning experience.
The carGO app and website are currently under development. Potential drivers and riders can visit the site http://www.gocargo.io/ to sign up for more information.
carGO headquarters will be located in the Marquette Tower Tech District.