Ridesharing apps have become such a central part of our experience as college students. We at the Clog are big fans of any service that can help us avoid walking up the Berkeley hills, and we like it even better when that ride’s discounted. Enter Wildfire, a safety app started by four recent Berkeley graduates.
Through Oct. 14th, Wildfire will be partnering with Lyft to provide students with up to four 25 percent-off rides going to or from campus (or really anywhere within the Berkeley zipcode nearby campus) when the Lyft is ordered through the Wildfire app. Co-founders Hriday Kemburu, Vinay Ramesh, Jay Patel and Tim Hyon noticed that after spending late nights studying on campus, many of their friends would be scared to walk home.
One night Hriday was walking past the Valley Life Sciences Building on his way home when he was almost mugged. He posted about it on Facebook and received positive feedback from other students who said that because of his heads-up, they had walked home a different way that night. Shortly after, he went to the other three co-founders to talk to them about an idea that would alert students to crimes when and where they happen.
Wildfire allows the community to come together to help make the area safer by spreading information. Through a partnership with The Daily Californian, the app is working to spread information about crime and safety hazards in real time.
“It’s about people being in the know, and that’s what’s really important,” Hriday said.
The app allows users to post to the greater Berkeley community, rather than having the information they could share limited to just their friends and followers.
The app is also available in other locations, with users around the world downloading and posting on the app. Because so much of the news it pushes out is community-driven, the app does work best in areas where more people have downloaded it, which is why it’s become so popular in Berkeley. The more people that use the app, the more specific and personal the news becomes.
By working with the Daily Cal and the community, Wildfire is able to break news to students through posts in the app and the push notifications it sends out. The guys want Wildfire to be the go-to safety app, no matter where its users are. Ideally, they’d like everyone to use it when they travel to stay safe around the world.
Lyft, like Wildfire, is also committed to safety, so the partnership between the two apps worked out well. The co-founders are hoping to reconnect with Lyft after Oct. 14th to see how the promotion went. They’re hoping that Lyft will value the partnership as much as Wildfire, and the two apps will be able to continue providing the discount to students for longer.
Whether you’re just too lazy to walk from Soda Hall all the way up to Greek Row or you’re can’t even spare the twenty minutes it would take you to walk from campus back home, Wildfire is hoping that the promotion with Lyft will entice students to be even safer.
Rachel Feder is the blog editor. Contact Rachel Feder at [email protected].