Personal Enterprise Economy

LA Times: Bill proposing tougher regulation for Uber and Lyft back on the table

 

From a March 5, 2015 article in the LA Times.

“Regulation of ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar is making a comeback in the California Legislature this session.

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) introduced a bill that would require all drivers working for ride-hailing companies to register their cars as ride-hailing vehicles with the California Public Utilities Commission and display decals identifying them as such.”

Mike Montgomery, executive director of technology advocacy group CALinnovates, which counts Uber and Sidecar among its partners, described the introduction of AB 24 as “outrageous” and “blatantly uncompetitive.”

Read the full article here.

TechCrunch: Zombie Ridesharing Bill Comes Back To Life In California

From a March 5, 2015 article posted on TechCrunch:

“A bill designed to regulate ridesharing companies in California is back. State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian has submitted a bill aimed at placing new rules on companies like Uber and Lyft. Assembly Bill 24, however, is incredibly similar to Assembly Bill 612, which failed in committee in 2014. Nazarian notes in a release on the bill that 24 is “similar” to 612, which is understatement.”

“Others weighed in along similar lines. CALinnovates, a group that works to connect technology firms with the “slower moving […] public policy communities in Sacramento and Washington, DC,” said the following:”

It is outrageous that any legislative energy will be spent on this new bill, a practical carbon copy of Assembly Bill 612, a bill that didn’t even make it out of committee last year. […]

Nazarian’s bill is a blatantly anti-competitive example of regulatory capture at its very worst that will only serve to pile on bureaucratic redundancy and red tape while choking innovation.

Read the full article here.

Peer-to-Peer Economy Could Benefit from Better, Not More, Regulation

In October, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors did something very smart; by a vote of 7 to 4, it made Airbnb legal.

In some ways, this was not news. The fact that the room rental service had been technically illegal in the city did not stop thousands of homeowners and travelers from taking advantage of the Internet platform. In fact, as many as 5,000 San Francisco rentals are available on Airbnb on any given day. But the short-term rentals were violating city laws that classified them as businesses and therefore not allowed in residential zones. The new law creates a safer environment for Airbnb users and will contribute millions to the city’s tax coffers.

San Francisco is an example other cities and states need to follow. They need to both clear a path for new entrants and protect the health and safety of consumers.

This does not mean following New York’s lead. The New York attorney general recently came down hard on Airbnb. A report from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, based on subpoenaed information, showed that 72 percent of all Airbnb listings in New York City are considered illegal under the state’s Multiple Dwelling Law or city zoning laws. Those rentals accounted for approximately
$304 million in revenue over the past four years. Furthermore, Airbnb is big business in New York where more than 100 renters own more than 10 units each and illegally generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Read the rest at Techwire

On Ridesharing

 

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The following statement can be attributed to Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates

Ridesharing companies make great efforts to meet stringent rules of the road as determined by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which has taken on an important leadership role to create a framework for these companies and consumers to coexist. These rules are comprehensive and exhaustive.

Ridesharing companies should – and do – utilize a best practices approach to conducting background checks on drivers in order to ensure consumer safety. Despite this, certain non-CPUC lawmakers have called upon the industry to do it their way or face the wrath of litigation.

CALinnovates urges these lawmakers to adopt a constructive meet-and-confer approach that balances the number one priority of consumer safety with the economic and consumer benefits of these platforms. CALinnovates has long advocated such an approach, which would be far more results oriented than governing – and litigating – via press conference.

Consumers are embracing new business models in order to meet their needs in a safe, convenient and cost-effective way. We put our trust in Transportation Network Companies to provide safe travels.  I say with no hyperbole that I feel extraordinarily safe in a rideshare. Through my experiences working with leading rideshare companies, I know that consumer protection and safety are paramount to these organizations and will continue to be a guiding principle in the development of this industry.

 

*Sidecar, Uber, and Shuddle are members of CALinnovates

 

 

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel on the Innovation Economy

There are few people better equipped to talk about innovation and technology than FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. She is a frequent visitor to Silicon Valley, which helps inform her understanding of the Valley’s point of view.

So it was a real honor for CALinnovates to sit down with Commissioner Rosenworcel and discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the innovation economy. From the complexity of spectrum policy to what Washington DC needs to learn from Silicon Valley, Rosenworcel is an important voice for the tech community.

True Peer-to-Peer Rideshare Now a Reality

Larry Downes and Paul Nunes, authors of the seminal book Big Bang Disruption, which details how to strategically navigate our digital world, wrote that every industry is ripe for disruption, even an industry that is currently disrupting another industry. For example: ridesharing.

Ridesharing has caught fire in the U.S. Want to catch a ride in an open seat in someone’s private vehicle?  It’s as simple as tapping your smartphone app.

Competition is alive and well in the rideshare industry.  In alphabetical order, the three dominant players in the game are Lyft, Sidecar and UberX.  Each differentiates itself in its own unique way.  I frequently use all three services.

Read the full article on Daily Kos

Follow the Leader | California Regulators Approve Transportation Ridesharing Companies

As featured on Tech Zulu
By: Mike Montgomery

Regulations can be suffocating. Used in the wrong way they might accidentally “Napster a nascent industry.

Thankfully, the California Public Utilities Commission realized the value of the mobile-based sharing economy by voting to legitimize the rideshare industry statewide. As Liz Gannesof All Things D reports:

The California Public Utilities Commission today approved a decision to legitimize for-profit ride-sharing companies. The ruling should give legal clearance to peer-to-peer driving services from startups like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Tickengo, if they meet certain parameters. It’s the first such decision in the U.S.

The CPUC’s decision, which was unanimous, boils down to creating a new transportation category called “transportation network companies” in order to oversee rideshare companies – an idea put forward last July by Commission President Michael Peevey. I liked President Peevey’s idea when it was just an idea. I like it even more now that it’s formally on the books.

By realizing the value of technology and innovation for California’s economy, and smartly supporting the trajectory of the digital revolution, the CPUC has shown regulations can indeed keep pace with the blazing speed of progress. The Commission has also provided a blueprint for other regulatory bodies to follow suit — not just when it comes to regulating the rideshare industry, but for many innovative, tech-based ideas with the potential to disrupt.

As the saying goes, as goes California, so goes the country.   I anticipate that yesterday’s news paves the way for other states to embrace common sense, forward-thinking tech regulations.

 

Utopia Parkway in LA | Ride-Sharing Revolution

I’m obsessed with the ride-share revolution sweeping the nation.

My interest was piqued last year during a phone call with Nick Allen, a member of my CALinnovates Advisory Board.  Nick told me that he was in the process of winding down his fund at Spring Ventures, which would allow him to focus his energy on a new business he founded with Sunil Paul.  The new venture, called SideCar, launched in San Francisco last June.  Four months later Allen and Paul raised a Series A round of $10 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Mark Pincus, Lerer Ventures and a convoy of other prominent angels and VCs.  The A round allowed SideCar to expand well beyond their launch city of San Francisco.  SideCar now serves passengers in Seattle, Austin, DC, Philly and, now, thankfully, the City of Angels.  Competition abounds, mostly in the form of Lyft, another Bay Area-based purveyor of ride-shares.  You simply can’t miss Lyft’s cars driving around the city due to its clever marketing ploy of placing big, pink “carstaches” on the grill of each car in their fleet.

Read Mike Montgomery’s Full Article on TechZulu

Mike Montgomery: President Obama’s State of the Union Address Should Offer Hope for the New Economy

Today, speechwriters in the West Wing will put the finishing touches on President Obama’s State of the Union address. The State of the Union provides every President an unparalleled opportunity to showcase his policy priorities. And the opportunity is never more valuable than in an inaugural year, when it can set the tone for the next four. This year I hope the President speaks to the digital economy and, specifically, California’s burgeoning tech sector.

In my dream scenario, the President’s speech will sketch a blueprint for building a stronger future for America. To me that means focusing some policies on Silicon Valley and San Francisco, still the headquarters of the new economy, a fact that Washington seems to forget from time-to-time. Tech-friendly policy initiatives will directly benefit the new economy, California, and the U.S. Take these, for example:

Give the app economy a boost. As consumers and businesses use more and more data, California’s burgeoning app economy could use a digital infrastructure upgrade, which could be accomplished by moving to all-IP networks across the country. A new Brookings Institution book by Robert Litan and Hal Singer, The Need for Speed: A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century, offers a potential roadmap for a regulatory re-think that could help expedite the delivery of broadband to consumers and keep the new economy humming. Meanwhile, the federal government, under President Obama’s leadership, needs to speed the reallocation of underutilized spectrum, the invisible radio waves over which our connected devices communicate. If our telecommunications infrastructure clogs up like our freeways at rush hour, either because of inadequate spectrum or insufficient private investment, then our app economy will suffer.

Read the Full Article on the Daily Kos

Transformational Transportation – The Rideshare Revolution

Yesterday, I joined the rideshare revolution. Today I’m writing about it. I downloaded this app on my iPhone and took three short car trips yesterday courtesy of SideCar, a San Francisco-based ridesharing company that connects people who need a ride with drivers already on the road. Simply put, it’s a reinvention of carpooling through smartphone technology.

SideCar, founded by visionary cleanweb venture capitalist Sunil Paul, is only available in San Francisco at this time.

Read the Full Article

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