Whisk offers a different model for getting around town

A woman tries to hail a cab in the rain on Lexington Avenue on the east side of Manhattan 

When you think of the iconic images of New York City, certainly the yellow taxi cab comes to mind. It makes sense - NYC makes up 40 percent of the for-hire vehicle industry's business in the United States. It's why Michael Ibrahim, CEO of a startup called Whisk, thinks his business couldn't have gotten started anywhere else.

Unlike other phone apps with on-demand car services (think Uber or Lyft), Whisk doesn't deal in recruiting drivers to be part of its service. Instead, it serves as a platform for users to locate the nearest  black car or livery business vehicles. Also, unlike its competitors, users can watch their ride fare in real time on their phone, not unlike riding in a yellow taxi. 

Ibrahim says that working with multiple businesses that offer cars for hire allows Whisk to avoid a common problem found in other ride-sharing programs:

"There’s actually a predicative problem about knowing where rides are going to come from at what time and helping to deploy drivers. And what we get, because of our model, is we have all these partners that are helping us do it."

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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