Summon (company)

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FounderAarjav Trivedi
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served
San Francisco, California, United States
ServicesVehicles for hire, Ridesharing

Summon is a transportation network company. It uses a mobile application which matches customers needing transportation with a taxi driver or a personal driver who is willing to provide a ride.[1] Summon is currently available in California, in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, and portions of the East Bay.


The idea for Summon was born after Aarjav Trivedi, its CEO and Founder, waited for over an hour for a bus and then a cab to take him to the airport.[2] He missed an international flight because both were late.[3] Trivedi created InstantCab (since rebranded as Summon) to give people a simple, fast, reliable, and inexpensive form of transportation.[3] Previously, Trivedi founded RideCell which focused on fleet automation to making on-demand transportation fleets easier to manage and access.

During Winter 2012, Summon was selected to participate in Y Combinator.[4] Summon received venture funding in 2012 from a group of venture capital and angel investors in Silicon Valley including Khosla Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz, Facebook Ex-COO Owen Van Natta and Delicious founder Joshua Schachter.[4] After rebranding from InstantCab to Summon, the company raised another round of funding from existing investors and new investors such as BMW Ventures.[5]

Summon’s offices are in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco.[6]


Taxi drivers can sign up to drive for Summon. Taxi drivers can also get a credit card swiper from Summon for use with street hails or non-Summon customers.[7]

Surge pricing[edit]

Summon has indicated its opposition to a dynamic pricing model,[8] which has been a source of controversy for competitors Uber and Lyft. Instead of surge pricing, Summon uses flat fares on busy times and event days.[9] In addition, it implemented a FareBack program, which gives customers a portion of their ride cost back as credits to use on future Summon rides.[10]

Regulatory responses[edit]

On December 20, 2012, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) initiated a rulemaking proceeding to determine whether ridesharing apps like Summon fall under its jurisdiction and, if so, how to regulate such apps.[11] The CPUC issued a decision on September 23, 2013.[12]

On March 8, 2013, Summon received a cease and desist letter from San Francisco International (SFO) Airport, claiming that its community drivers were unlawfully conducting business operations on Airport property without a permit.[13] Summon responded that its personal drivers were complying with the law because they were not picking up customers at the Airport or engaging in commercial activities on Airport property.[14] Other ridesharing apps in San Francisco have received similar cease and desist letters from SFO Airport.[15]

In September 2013, the CPUC unanimously voted to make the agreement permanent, creating a new category of service called Transportation Network Companies. The decision made California the first state to officially recognize and approve TNC services.[16][17] Summon was the first TNC to receive its operating permit from CPUC on February 24, 2014.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Community Drivers". RideCell, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "Our Story". RideCell, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Our Story". RideCell, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Lawler, Ryan. "Y Combinator-Backed Summon Provides a Hybrid Alternative to Ride-Sharing and Taxi Apps". AOL, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Summon HQ". RideCell, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "RideSharing Proceeding". California Public Utilities Commission. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Letter From the San Francisco International Airport". Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  14. ^ "Letter from the San Francisco International Airport". Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  15. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "SFO Serves Cease-And-Desist Letters to Keep Ride-Sharing Companies From Operating at the Airport". AOL, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  16. ^ Yeung, Ken (19 Sep 2013). "California Becomes First State To Regulate Ridesharing Services benefiting Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and Summon". TheNextWeb. Retrieved 19 Nov 2013.
  17. ^ Healey, Jon (30 Jul 2013). "State to L.A.: Hands off Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Summon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 Nov 2013.
  18. ^