A passenger hails a Via car via a smartphone app. A passenger hails a Via car via a smartphone app. A passenger hails a car via a smartphone app.

New ride-sharing business challenges Uber

Juno plans to begin service this spring in New York City.

The New York ride sharing community is about to get a new member, and it's already lured many drivers to its ranks with promises of higher pay and part-ownership in the company.

Juno is its name, and it plans to launch this spring. They say they already have "thousands" of drivers signed up to work for them.

The company is the brainchild of Israeli entrepreneur Talmon Marco. He is also the cofounder of messaging app Viber, which launched a few years ago in Tel Aviv, Israel and has since amassed more than 700 million users around the world.

Juno is still in its infancy and its press materials remain pretty basic.Juno is still in its infancy and its press materials remain pretty basic. (Photo: Juno)

Marco is hoping to capitalize on employee dissatisfaction at companies such as Uber, which takes a hefty fee – around 20-30% – and doesn't allow tips. Juno plans to take only a 10% commission from drivers and will allow a tip option. Additionally the company is promising 24/7 customer service for drivers and passengers, and it says 50% of its founding shares have been set aside for its employees.

“At the heart of Juno is a belief that it’s time for a ride sharing service that treated drivers right,” Marco, a graduate of Tel Aviv University, told Forbes. “It’s time for an ethical, socially responsible ride sharing service. And that’s what we are doing.”

An Uber on the streets of New York. The company has angered many of its drivers with its policies.An Uber on the streets of New York. The company has angered many of its drivers with its policies. (Photo: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com)

Word leaked last week of its existence after several Uber drivers in New York were spotted testing the Juno app in beta mode.

New York has one of the largest ride-sharing economies in the world, with Uber already competing with the San Francisco-based Lyft and Israel's Gett and Via, not to mention the tens-of-thousands of other taxis and private cab services in the Big Apple.

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