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Starting Up, Southern Style

RidePost

By aiming to make transportation more affordable, we believe RidePost can serve as a gateway for people who – until now – have had limited access to travel.

By Blair Deckard (Co-Founder & Head of Marketing, RidePost)

I’m one of four co-founders of RidePost, headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina. I landed in the South, which was previously uncharted territory for me, by way of business school – where I met my other co-founders and where RidePost was first conceptualized and ideated.

RidePost grew from a dueling pair: a love for travel and a lack of income. It was Marty, Nik and my last semester at the University of South Carolina, and as part of our MBA program we had lived, studied and worked abroad in different parts of the world. Upon returning stateside we soon realized our collective travel experiences had fully indoctrinated us: we had converted – and fully committed – to the sharing economy. Ridesharing and CouchSurfing had given us access to people and places we otherwise would have never gotten to see. We got local experiences, and we did it on a budget.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to participate in the collaborative economy, I highly encourage you to get out there and give it a shot. The obvious reasons being that you will save yourself a great deal of money and you’ll cut down on your environmental footprint. But the best reason: that all around incomparable experience that simply isn’t for sale.

I believe the knowledge gained through travel, and the relationships built on the road, is something that can’t be taught. It has to be experienced. Like so many of the finer things in life, travel is often limited by one’s income or net worth.

By aiming to make transportation more affordable, we believe RidePost can serve as a gateway for people who – until now – have had limited access to travel. For those that can afford to travel at leisure – well, we see this as a way to connect with fellow travelers on a more meaningful level. This is something we are extremely passionate about, and is what truly drives our team.

Vision aside, I’ll tell you a bit more about how we got to where we are today. After Marty, Nik and I decided to pursue RidePost full time, our fourth co-founder, Robert, fell from the heavens into our lap by the recommendation of a mutual friend. Robert is our one-man development team and chief technologist. In April, we applied to The Iron Yard startup accelerator in Greenville. After being accepted the day before we graduated in May (phew), we committed to working on RidePost full time.

I never imagined I’d be starting a company fresh out of business school. Getting into a startup accelerator was a godsend and it pushed us harder than we could have imagined. Over the course of the summer we successfully launched our beta site, attracted initial investments, and we continue to grow the RidePost community every day. We celebrate every new member as if it’s the first – the feeling doesn’t seem to get old.

The South might not be a hub for all things startup, but the tides are certainly shifting. We believe the South is a region in the U.S. that is in dire need of a new transportation solution. It’s a place where our ideas have the potential to truly disrupt the status quo, should we achieve our goals of making ridesharing a fourth alternative in public transportation. So, I think in some serendipitous, random and unpredicted fashion, I am meant to continue exploring the South, just as RidePost is meant to bring our concept of ridesharing to one of the places that needs it the most.

Women 2.0 readers: What kind of collaborative consumption startups interest you? Let us know in the comments!

About the guest blogger: Blair Deckard is Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at RidePost, an online marketplace connecting drivers and passengers for safe and social ridesharing. After working for a boutique branding and design firm in San Francisco, Blair relocated to South Carolina to earn her International MBA from the Darla Moore School of Business with a focus in Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship. Blair holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Denison University. Follow her on Twitter at @blairdeckard.