In today's San Francisco, the act of commuting is really a statement about your station in the hierarchy of America's Smuggest Techiest City.
For instance, most San Franciscans spend their mornings trudging to dirty street corners where they are picked up by spartan, overcrowded, public buses and then sit in snarling traffic, watching the clock turn as they get increasingly late to work.
But those people are plebes.
For the technoscenti that make the commute from their hip pads in the city to the campuses of Silicon Valley however, there is a superior option. WiFi-enabled mini-buses that often seat less than 20 and get the people that are "making the world a better place" to work in relative comfort.
As in any caste system though, the rabble are causing some friction.
Not everyone is enthralled. Private shuttle services such as Chariot and a local rival, Leap Transit, as well as the private buses of tech giants like Google and Apple, have been criticized for adding to congested streets, undermining the use of publicly supported buses and trains, and catering exclusively to white-collar techies while shutting out the elderly and disabled. But that hasn't stopped investment dollars from flooding in.
In the face of widespread protests, loud complaining and San Fran-style lazy rioting what kind of elitist asshole would fund a private bus startup?
Today, Chariot is announcing it has raised $3 million from a group of early-stage investors that include SoftTech VC, Maven Ventures, and Haystack. The startup anticipates using that money to continue expanding its reach.
Oh, so the Valley VCs that pay $5 a ride to take these things are now funding the shuttle startups to get more buses and pick up their friends on the way to Mountain View and Cupertino.
Maybe someone should just tell these dudes about that app Uber.