Sunil Paul

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Sunil Paul
Born (1964-11-12) November 12, 1964 (age 58)
Alma materVanderbilt University
OccupationCEO at Spring Free EV

Sunil Paul (born November 12, 1964) is an Internet entrepreneur who launched Spring Free EV in 2021.[1] He has previously founded companies such as Brightmail and Freeloader, Inc. He was the co-founder and CEO of Sidecar, a San Francisco, based an on-demand peer-to-peer taxi service that later pivoted away from ridesharing toward deliveries of various items.[2][3]

Early life and background[edit]

Paul was born in Punjab, India. At the age of 4 his parents immigrated to the United States where he was raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Paul holds a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.[4]


Starting in 1994, Paul served as an Internet Product Manager and Director of Corporate Development for America Online, Inc.

In 1996, Paul co-founded and launched his first startup with Mark Pincus, Freeloader, Inc., a web-based push technology service.[5] Freeloader was backed by Fred Wilson and Softbank.[6] Paul served as the Chief Executive Officer from January 1996 - June 1996 when Freeloader, Inc. was acquired by Individual, Inc., for $38 million.[7] In 1998 Paul founded Brightmail (previously known as "Bright Light Technologies"), an e-mail filtering company, and raised $55 million in three rounds of venture capital led by Accel, TCV and Symantec. Brightmail was acquired by Symantec on May 19, 2004 for $370 million in cash.[8]

Paul is an angel investor with investments in companies including LinkedIn, Solazyme and has served on the board of Zynga since November 2011.[citation needed] In February 2012 Paul co-founded Sidecar, an on-demand peer-to-peer ridesharing service with Jahan Khanna, Adrian Fortino, and Nick Allen. Sidecar was based in San Francisco, CA [9] and raised $10 million Series A funding in October 2012 from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures.[10][11] Sidecar operated in Seattle,[12] Los Angeles, Austin, Philadelphia,[13] Chicago,[14] Boston, New York City[15] and Washington, D.C. Sidecar closed on December 31, 2015. The company raised $39 million over its life and sold to General Motors in January of 2016. The price of the transaction was not disclosed, although a person familiar with the matter said it was less than the roughly $39 million that Sidecar raised.[2][16]

Paul launched Spring Free EV in 2021, a fintech company designed to have climate level impact by accelerating adoption of electric vehicles.[1]

He is also active in clean technology non profit projects such as Clean Economy Network, Gigaton Awards and Gigaton Throwdown,[17][18] Carbon War Room and MapLight.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Ride-Share Pioneer Has a New Company to Spur Electric Cars". 20 September 2021. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  2. ^ a b "General Motors confirms acquisition of Sidecar's technology and assets (updated)". VentureBeat. 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  3. ^ Constine, Josh. "Hail A Fellow Human, Not A Taxi With "SideCar" – The New P2P Uber". TechCrunch. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  4. ^ Fones, Mardy. "From Startups to Success: VUSE engineers thrive as entrepreneurs in businesses large and small". Vanderbilt Magazine. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. ^ Sreenivasan, Sreenath (30 September 1996). "The World Wide Wait: Don't Get Mad, Get Off". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  6. ^ Kincaid, Jason (2009-10-25). "Startup School: Mark Pincus Talks About Becoming A Great CEO, With Tony Robbins' Help". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  7. ^ "Individual buys FreeLoader for $38 million". Advertising Age. 4 June 1996. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  8. ^ Fordahl, Matthew (20 May 2004). "Symantec to acquire anti-spam firm Brightmail for $370M". USA Today. Retrieved 20 May 2004.
  9. ^ Riddell, Lindsay. "Entrepreneur Sunil Paul launches ride-sharing app". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  10. ^ Geron, Tomio. "Sidecar Raises $10 Million From Google Ventures, Lightspeed". Forbes. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  11. ^ Gannes, Liz. "Sunil Paul's Sidecar Ride-Sharing App Will Flag a Stranger's Car for You". All Things D. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  12. ^ Parkhurst, Emily. "Sidecar launches ridesharing service in Seattle". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  13. ^ Geron, Tomio. "Sidecar Acquires Austin's HeyRide, Launches In Los Angeles, Austin, Philadelphia". Forbes. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  14. ^ Robertson, Adi (15 March 2013). "After suing Austin for the right to operate and failing, Sidecar expands ride-sharing to Brooklyn, Boston, and Chicago". The Verge. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  15. ^ SLOANE, Garett. "Upstart Sidecar zips into Big Apple traffic". New York Post. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  16. ^ "General Motors Salvages Ride-Hailing Company Sidecar for Parts". 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2023-02-01.
  17. ^ Coben, Larry. "Time for the Gigaton Throwdown!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  18. ^ Makower, Joel. "The 'Gigaton Throwdown' and the Big Hairy Audacious Question". Retrieved 24 June 2009.

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