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Sidecar bids farewell as it shutters ride-sharing service

The startup couldn't compete with better-funded rivals Uber and Lyft.

In this 2013 photo, San Francisco resident and ride-sharing enthusiast Kenny Liao poses next to his car, which he uses to give rides as a Sidecar driver.
Courtesy of Kenny Liao

Ride-sharing services, where you use an app to hail a ride, are all the rage in big cities. But when you power on your smartphone, you're likely to call on Uber or Lyft to get you where you want to go. Chances are, you've never heard of Sidecar.

It's that lack of recognition that partly contributed to the company's decision to cease its services at 2 p.m. PT on Thursday -- the last day of the year.

"This is the end of the road for the Sidecar ride and delivery service, but it's by no means the end of the journey for the company," co-founders Sunil Paul and Jahan Khanna said in a blog post on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman confirmed the move but didn't elaborate on what the company would do next.

Sidecar's demise underscores the brutally competitive environment for ride-sharing services, which have exploded in popularity as an alternative to traditional taxis. It also speaks to the feast-or-famine nature of the startup world, as competitors Uber and Lyft continue to stock up a warchest of funding amid sky-high valuations. For riders, it means one fewer ride-sharing option.

While touting its innovations in the area of ride-sharing, Paul and Khanna noted the "capital disadvantage" it faced versus its peers.

Beyond ride services, Sidecar in February introduced same-day delivery services.