Wheels Up on Adventure, City-Dweller

The Ridj-it startup gets you outside, one carpool at a time

Moving comes with all the challenges you expect and one you might not be anticipating: Did going car-free for your new urban life leave you city-locked?

Lots of people in urban areas feel that the great outdoors aren’t easily accessible. You’re going to have to get creative if the mountains are calling your name.

Ubering to a remote location isn’t the safe or cost-effective answer. And hiking or climbing is best done in a group.

Ari Iaccarino tackled this when he first moved to Boston. The experience inspired him to create Ridj-it, a ridesharing startup with the goal of getting city-dwellers out in nature.

But instead of simply focusing on carpooling, Iaccarino and Ridj-it’s cofounders believe the true value of their startup lies in the network it’s creating.

“We are definitely not the first people to have had the idea of connecting more people to the outdoors,” Iaccarino said. “However, rather than focusing on the carpooling, we find that when we focus on community development, that is actually enhancing the carpooling in and of itself.

“People appreciate the camaraderie that happens, because you really just get to know each other. You’ve developed that trust, and that’s a great way to facilitate community that never would have happened without Ridj-it’s platform.”

No wheels? No problem

The name Ridj-it is inspired by the Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Iaccarino is a hiking enthusiast; when he was new in town and without his own car, the four-hour roundtrip to the ridge seemed impossible.

But just as a ridge connects two mountains, Ridj-it could connect people to the mountains, he imagined.

“We are a travel tech platform. We create an adventure ecosystem that offers carpooling, ticket booking, and a network of people to do adventures with,” Ridj-it co-founder and data analyst Rik Ganguly said.

After Iaccarino and Ganguly launched the company, Alex Nikitin joined the team. It has been a labor of love: They have had to harness their collective talents and self-fund the majority of the operation. But they all hope to one day make Ridj-it their only professional obligation.

“I haven’t taken a dime from it in three years, but again, when you believe in something so much, you’re willing to put that aside to work on something that you know has a greater good for all of us,” Iaccarino said. “When people ask me, ‘Are you trying to make Ridj-it your full time gig?’ Yeah, my answer is unequivocally ‘yes.'”

“(My days) can be anywhere from typical eight-hour day to 20 hours. That’s what happens when you have a startup,” Ganguly said.

This video is part of America’s Entrepreneurs: Making it Work, a Rewire initiative made possible by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and EIX, the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange.

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