A bit of history about Groundlink

Austin Bob

Member
Dec 15, 2018
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What City & State do you work in?
San Antonio
So, some drivers think Groundlink is a new app-based gig economy startup because they’ve just recently heard of them. But, the truth is, Groundlink is a pre-gig economy, traditional car service transportation company.

They were founded in 2003 in New York City, where they are currently still based. They offer point to point airport transportation, traditional corporate limo service and hourly car service – just like an old-style limo company. Groundlink customers who r normally corporate clients and leisure travelers are able to book trips through their website, by phone (i.e. old style) or now by app (new style). They manage several different classes of service such as taxis, shuttles, SUVs and limousines and they provide corporate travel solutions that enable their clients to manage all their transportation activities by employee level, country, client or project.

If you go to their website, they look like they’re worldwide. In other words, you can make reservations with them for many major cities around the world. However, as far as I can tell they only have a New York office. They may have another office or two around the country but they do not have offices around the world and they do not own cars or employee drivers around the world.

What they’re doing is called co-branding. In other words, they have partnerships setup around the world with websites, travel agents and travel providers. Travel providers are other limo companies located in other cities. So, basically if you want to book a trip from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to central Paris (which will cost you $112 by the way), you can book it through Groundlink’s site. But the service will be provided by a local French company that operates in Paris. This gives the consumer though, the feeling that Groundlink is HUGE and that they’re operating everywhere! When in reality, they’re simply taking your information, and processing it on to a local provider in the city where you’ll be traveling. And of course they take a cut of the trip as compensation for their services. And they are in fact offering a service to these other companies – they’re feeding them business. So, they should be compensated for that. As well, those same companies will send business to Groundlink when they have a client that is visiting New York City or the U.S.

When Uber and app-based ride-hailing came along, Groundlink was actually one of the few traditional car service companies that got into it in a big way. They actually developed their own app and through their network of New York City drivers, they began signing them up to use the app. So they had an in-house team of drivers already ready to go, which gave them a real leg up on other ride-hail startups that were starting from scratch, like Juno and Gett for instance.

Their new system was called Brio and once they opened it up they quickly realized they no longer had to rely solely on the drivers they already had in-house but they could now reach out to a whole new group of drivers – all the guys who were driving for Uber & Lyft.

New York drivers say they’re not that great though. That’s probably because they thought they had promise since they already had a lot of corporate clients who obviously are willing to pay a lot more than the typical Uber passenger. But the new drivers were quickly disappointed when they saw little short trips across town showing up as available that were only paying $5 or $10. That’s because along with recruiting a whole new group of pure app-based drivers, Groundlink was also focused on bringing in a whole new group of app-based customers. These customers were just your typical Uber customer so Groundlink had to charge low, low Uber prices in order to compete.

But since they are rooted in a traditional car service mentality – drivers who have been with them for a long time say that they are actually given better trips. Groundlink still has dispatchers – who are humans and will hand out better trips to who they personally know are better drivers. So, you can apparently work your way from the bottom up with Groundlink and get better opportunities the longer you’ve been around and the better job you’ve done for them.
 

Mr. Gig

Member
Dec 6, 2018
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Interesting note about Groundlink, it was founded by a man named Alex Mashinsky who also founded several notable technology firms, including a commodities exchange for telecom companies in 1996 called Arbinet. He had another company called VoiceSmart which was one of the first companies to offer switches to handle ordinary voice calls over the internet - or Voice over IP.

So, maybe it was his technology background that really made it a natural for him to take Groundlink into the ride-hailing space.

And just as a point of interest, he now is the CEO of the Celsius Network which is an Ethereum-based lending platform using blockchain technologies! So he's definitely a high-tech guy.
 

Mr. Gig

Member
Dec 6, 2018
93
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Haha! I don't know! I just know. No, actually, he's somebody I've kept up with over the years because he's a really smart guy and has always been kind of on the cutting edge of technology and business. He also grew up in the Soviet Union so I think it's interesting to see someone who came from there really make it in our capitalist system.
 

Graham

Member
Feb 4, 2019
141
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What City & State do you work in?
Glendale AZ
Hmmm. Reading about it, it almost sounds like the Doordash of ridesharing. You book through the app, but still are served by a local business.