There’s a new entrant in the ridesharing wars, and the company, IIZI, LLC, is headquartered in Clemmons, North Carolina, halfway between Charlotte and the Triangle, and will open operations across the Tar Heel State later this year.
The location in Clemmons, which sits along Interstate 40 outside of Winston-Salem, was an intentional choice said company founder and CEO Lynn Graham, who moved to the region from Colorado.
“Based on our personal findings we wanted to be centrally located between Raleigh and Charlotte to better understand the needs and the areas in between,” said Graham in an interview with WRAL TechWire.
IIZI is self-funded, and takes its name from a choice of four letters that in combination indicate “easy,” which Graham said is meant to be a connotation of effortless ease and accessibility.
Graham is also the founder of ClickUrban, an online business directory that supports and publicizes black owned businesses and organizations in the urban communities. In that role, Graham and her business familiarized themselves with how individuals and families are experiencing the changes in the economy and the rise of on-demand mobile applications, as well as the increasing support for locally-owned businesses. Graham said that her vision is to accelerate the growth of African American individuals, black-owned businesses, and organizations founded by people of color, by equipping them with the skills, mentorship, solutions, and resources required to transform from current to future state.
One of the pieces of economic transformation is access to reliable, safe transportation.
“Good things happen when people can move, whether across town or toward their dreams,” said Graham in a statement. “As opportunities appear, open up and become a reality, we’ve designed IIZI to be there every step of the way from start to destination and every roadblock in between.”
The company is currently accepting applications for new drivers, said Graham, though it will open to ridesharing customers later in 2021.
Graham wants IIZI to be differentiated from other companies that provide ridesharing or car-hailing services, noting that she intends for the company to be the employer of choice for those considering working in the gig economy. Drivers will be 1099 employees, said Graham, given the nature of the work and the structure of the app’s marketplace for connecting drivers and passengers.
But the company promises to provide the technology and support needed to empower drivers to be their own boss, said Graham.
The company’s proprietary software is designed to take the guesswork and hassle out of earning money, such that the company’s contract employees will be fully equipped to operate in their markets.
IIZI will provide a benefits portal for its 1099 contractors, said Graham, including options that enable drivers to have access to healthcare, dental and vision insurance, financial security programs, a network of national and local discounts, and insurance.
The company website lists markets in Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Wilmington.
“We look forward to disrupting the rideshare industry and begin rolling out our platform to other cities nationwide in the near future,” said Graham. “This is just the beginning of IIZI.”