"I use UberX all the time,” said Adam Janikis, co-founder of Engaged Interactive. “I don't want to knock them. But I don't want to spend $25 on an UberX ride when a cab ride would be $6."
His confusion with Uber's price fluctuations gave him a product idea. With his business partner and CTO Matt Banach, with whom he co-founded Engaged Interactive, Janikis began talking with friends about the ridesharing giant Uber and its controversial 'Surge Pricing' scheme.
"Before we built it, we were asking our friends, 'Hey! Would you actually use a product like this?'" said Banach. "And they said, 'Yeah! We're not ever exactly sure what a multiplier of 2.5 is going to be.'"
[ibimage==41545==Medium==none==self==ibimage_align-right]The result of this inquiry is Quxsi, a new, free iPhone app that compares the potential cost of a ride with a cab driver and with Uber, in real time. It has caught on with remarkable speed – Janikis said that the app currently has a 91% active usage rate. "It's a product built out of personal need,” said Banach. “What we're figuring out is that it's not so much of a niche market. There's a lot of demand for something like this."
So which option is generally a better value? "When it's a base charge, when there's no surge, UberX is clearly the winner,” said Janikis.
Before Quxsi, Banach created the successful real estate app iTenant, along with several other proprietary projects. During the year Janikis and Banach have been at Engaged Interactive, government regulators in Chicago and Illinois have proved themselves quite friendly to tech in general and ridesharing businesses in particular. “Ridesharing is going to become a bigger part of how people get around the city,” said Banach.
Quxsi ensures riders that they know whether or not they're getting fair deals. Banach said he's seen complexities such as 1.75x surge pricing turning out to be cheaper than a cab when 2x would not be. “It's not always exactly clear. We want to make sure there's transparency.”