Former Uber employees back new startup raising $9 million to decentralize ridesharing

Quick Take

  • Software development company DEC has raised $9 million to decentralize ride sharing using the Solana network. 
  • The seed round is co-led by Foundation Capital and Road Capital. Several prominent angel investors participated in the round including a number former Uber employees. 

Decentralized Engineering Corporation (DEC), a software development company, has raised $9 million to decentralize ridesharing. 

Foundation Capital and Road Capital co-led DEC’s seed round. Other investors include 6th Man Ventures and Common Metal as well as prominent angel investors such as Uber’s former general manager for New York Josh Mohrer, founder of Flexport Ryan Petersen and former early Uber employee Ryan McKillen. 

DEC has developed Trip, a new protocol built on the Solana blockchain that can be used for multiple mobility-based applications. The first application to use the network will be Teleport, a decentralized ride-sharing application built by DEC. 

The Trip network is open source. Key components of ridesharing services such as dispatch, payments, background checks and dispute resolution will be accessible to all network participants. 

“You can have multiple rideshare operating companies and multiple clients connecting to that same network and working together in creating this marketplace,” said Paul Bohm, CEO and founder of DEC. “… As opposed to Uber, which is a singular monopoly that no one can compete [with], no one can build on, no one can innovate and change.” 

Bohm isn’t looking to onboard the Ubers of the world onto Trip. He’s looking to instead bring on the smaller players who want to take on Goliath. 

“Why would the drivers keep investing into Uber’s ecosystem?” Bohm said. “When they could actually all collaborate and build their own ecosystem where they have ownership over what they're doing.” 

It's table stakes to be at least as good as Uber

Bohm has years of experience working on peer-to-peer networks. He founded a food delivery company in Austria, which was later acquired by Delivery Hero, one of the largest food delivery companies in Europe.  

He then joined Dropbox as the eleventh employee helping to build out the company's peer-to-peer protocol. He even helped make simulations for how many cars Uber would need to cover a city at former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s Jam Pad. 

On Teleport, individuals can access a marketplace for ride requests.

“It's table stakes to be at least as good as Uber is right now,” Bohm said. “But what we are achieving and I think that's relatively new to web3 is the user experience is extremely simple for users, they can use credit cards, or they can use crypto.” 

Bohm will pilot Teleport at the Solana Breakpoint conference in Lisbon and Art Basel in Miami this year. He decided to demo the app at conferences because of the high demand and how difficult it can be to catch a ride. 

“I worked on queueing algorithms in the past and auction algorithms and so it was very clear to me that you could actually do a lot better, especially when there's really high demand and low supply,” Bohm said. “So, I wanted to show people this is real, it works right now.” 

The funding from this round will enable DEC to expand the service to other events, make additional partnerships and encourage open-source development through hackathon events. 

Bohm’s goal for next year is to launch in its first city with multiple partners. He also wants to achieve the decentralization milestone of having the protocol governed no longer by DEC but by multiple dispersed entities. 

DEC raised half of the funds before the market crash and the other half afterward, Bohm said.  The round was all equity, he added. 

“By turning ridesharing into a protocol, Teleport is building what we couldn’t build at Uber in 2010, and what Uber should be building today,” said McKillen, former product manager and software engineer at Uber, in the release. “Riders and drivers will migrate from centralized middlemen to an open economy with aligned economic incentives.” 


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