UCLA is serving as Hopp’s first partner, and former NBA player and entrepreneur Matt Barnes is serving as its official ambassador. - Hopp

UCLA is serving as Hopp’s first partner, and former NBA player and entrepreneur Matt Barnes is serving as its official ambassador.

Hopp

Hopp Technologies Inc. announced the launch of the first geosocial ride matchmaking app in the U.S.

Hopp is the only company of its kind to match verified drivers with passengers based on interests for ride sharing, while also prioritizing safety, comfort, transportation costs, and reducing negative environmental impacts such as carbon emissions during their journey. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is serving as Hopp’s first partner, and former NBA player and entrepreneur Matt Barnes is serving as its official ambassador.

“People need to feel secure about who they are traveling with,” said Fabrice Allain, CEO and co-founder of Hopp Technologies Inc. “Hopp has developed a secure and trusted web platform and app for both drivers and riders. The app matches potential ‘road buddies’ based on similar interests, so people are available to socialize or network while traveling, creating new relationships,”

Hopp’s launch comes as traffic congestion and gas prices soar in cities across the U.S., costing commuters time and billions of dollars each year. Last year, it signed Matt Barnes as its official ambassador. Barnes, a UCLA alumnus who faced financial restraints when finding transportation as a student, was instantly attracted to Hopp’s mission.

“If they had this when I went to UCLA, I would be going home every weekend. I’m honored to be part of Hopp,” said Barnes.

As part of their partnership with UCLA, students will be among some of Hopp’s first users to use the app. The cost for riders using the platform is lower than the average of other mobility service apps in the nation. It is the first app of its kind where users create a personality profile to showcase their interests, preferences, views, and more.

Hopp’s initial target market is in southern California, where an estimated 1.6 million commuters cross counties between Santa Barbara and San Diego. More than three-quarters of them drive to their destinations alone, while less than 10% carpool. The company plans to focus on daily commutes, sports associations and events, travelers, and music festivals. The vast number of college students in the region will be a significant part of the initial target group and, over time, Hopp expects that market will grow.

The announcement of the app’s launch took place at an event in Santa Monica, where Hopp partnered with Deckers Brands to raise awareness around the globe’s current environmental state and how companies can do their part in reducing their footprint.

Hopp is currently based in Santa Barbara, with plans to go live in other major U.S. markets over time. It is more affordable than traditional hired driver platforms and is faster for travelers to use than trains, buses, and subways due to limited stops, according to the company. A Hopp trip from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, for example, would cost each passenger between $17 and $31, depending on how many passengers are in the car. Hopp charges a tiered platform fee of $2.99 to $6.99 of riders on each transaction depending on the distance they travel. Drivers will be charged a small platform fee of $1 per ride.

The app (engineered by Octos Global Solutions) can be downloaded through the Apple store and Google Play on Android devices, and iOS beginning March 14.

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