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It began in 2010. Flo had just moved to Vancouver from Europe on a working holiday visa. His goal was to ski as much as possible, so he bought a car and made friends in Whistler.
Driving up and down the Sea-to-sky Highway, Flo kept picking up hitchhikers. They told him getting to Whistler was difficult unless you had a car, and the only other option was the bus, slow and expensive.
Flo was looking for a project to cut his teeth into web development. He did a Google search to see if there were any good rideshare solutions to get to Whistler, there were none. He decided to build a simple website to help connect drivers and people looking for rides to go skiing. Ten days later, HitchWhistler was born.
The website got over 1,000 members in its first season. Between 2010 and 2014, it grew through word of mouth as a side project. Flo had settled in Vancouver and was working for a tech startup.
In early 2014, HitchWhistler hit 10,000 members, and as Flo became a permanent resident, he decided to quit his job and focus on growing the service into a business. He partnered with Luke, a good friend and software engineer. They rebuilt HitchWhistler into a scalable platform in six months and in December 2014, HitchPlanet was launched.
Between 2014 and 2016, Flo and Luke focused on improving the platform, which attracted another 30,000 members. They also launched mobile apps to help people organize rides on the go.
In late 2016, they reached a crossroads. With a killer product, over 41,000 members and 1,000,000 km shared, they decided to raise money. After collecting $250,000 from the crowd in just three months, they proceeded to rebrand. They had evolved the original concept of hitchhiking to an online platform for people to prearrange rides, and had enabled thousands of people to trust each other and travel together.
On November 17, 2016, they rebranded to "Poparide".
Poparide is now used by thousands of people across North America and is quickly becoming the preferred choice to travel between cities: it's faster, more affordable and social than other means of road transport.
The Poparide platform is constantly improving thanks to member feedback. The team prides itself on building an evolving consumer product that helps people connect in the real world, and by increasing vehicle occupancy to reduce our impact on the environment.