Entrepreneur Josh Massey used to run the Madison-based startup Alfred, a ridesharing service that catered to people who wanted to go about town in luxury Mercedes-Benzs and SUVs.
But in late 2017, the company made a rigid pivot. Alfred became Carepool, a ridesharing platform designed to help people with special transportation needs.
“I think the easiest way to say it is, it’s Uber for people with disabilities and the aging population,” said Macy, the company’s CEO.
Today, Carepool operates in La Crosse, Dane, Eau Claire and Waukesha counties, with 60 drivers in the fleet. The company is a 2017 graduate of gBeta — an accelerator program focused on helping early-stage companies grow — and this summer, it received seeds from a Nashville, Tennessee-based health care venture capital fund called Jumpstart. Received $150,000 in funding.
Most importantly, according to Massey, the company is connecting riders — many of whom are enrolled in long-term care programs or managed care organizations, and many of whom live in difficult rural areas — with drivers who help them travel. can do. efficiently and comfortably in a way a taxi or bus cannot.
Massey said Carepool started after receiving a call from Dane County transportation experts who were considering some technical paratransit solutions, including one for a digital ridesharing system. Massey, who said he had been interested in the Paratransit network for a long time, said he was eager to jump in and help.