By Bert Belanger
Courtesy of The Journal Record
Since David Chapman is now in a runoff, I will be on duty for another six weeks. A little like the groundhog and winter…
Every national real estate conference today includes sessions entitled the new sharing economy or a discussion of gigs – farming out your couch, your house or your car for extra cash. All of which impacts the metrics of value creation, including in real estate.
Dozens of new companies beyond the obvious giants Uber and Airbnb are structured around folks like you and me in the field, leveraging the age-old business of filling a need, whether an alternative to hotels or renting out a corner in one’s garage.
Enter into this arena the Oklahoma startup SendaRide, founded by Laura Fleet. Like many of us baby boomers, I was looking for help in transporting my mother, Shirley Beckett (and her husband, Ron). Their collective February schedule of trips from their senior complex to doctors totals 24.
I learned about SendaRide through Laura Fleet’s husband, David. We first met as we filled soda machines for OSU Vending. That’s a story in itself, but I knew that Laura, an accomplished health care lawyer, was the brains of the duo, and that SendaRide had recently raised capital through i2E, one of the state’s premier venture capital firms.
Downloading the SendaRide app through my iPhone, I have been able to book and monitor more than 40 rides for Mom since last fall. SendaRide drivers are specially vetted; I can plug into live video inside the driver’s car to check on her safety and progress. Like Uber on steroids, I can see the driver’s, then Mom’s, location on a map in real time.
Baby boomers are in a sandwich; many still have children at home to raise, as we balance the privilege and biblical duty of managing the needs of aging parents. Our shared angst of taking the car keys a couple of years ago has been greatly aided by the flexibility and freedom that SendaRide now affords both my mother and my whole family. OKC is SendaRide’s flagship market and most ridership occurs through contracts with health care providers. I am grateful that it is also part of “the gig economy” that I can access on my iPhone.
Bert Belanger is a broker with Adept Commercial Real Estate and an of counsel attorney with Riggs Abney; after being a happy SendaRide customer, he bought a few shares in the company.