Madhavan Thiruamalai

Madhavan Thiruamalai is the founder of Let'sGaggle (, an exchange for flexible carpooling whose name is inspired by the geese in the movie "Winged Migration". The geese migrate thousands of miles each year by flying in formation, drafting off each other, and could not make that journey individually. Most people are open to carpooling but do not or cannot because they need schedule flexibility. The goal of Let'sGaggle is to provide an exchange and build a community large enough to give people that flexibility.

Madhavan will describe how Let'sGaggle works and envision a future where it will be as easy to gaggle a ride as it is to hail a taxi in NY city today.

Madhavan began his talk by explaining that he was inspired to start by the informal carpooling that has worked for twenty years to get people across the Bay Bridge. He pointed out that in all that time many thousands of people have participated, some many times a week. There have been no serious problems reported. He wanted to see if he could take that idea to the next level.

LetsGaggle is a way of organizing rides from here to there that works through a website that is loosely modeled on the way eBay does auctions. That means that as users develop reputations through reccomendations and so forth they become more known quantities for other riders. Signing up is a matter of filling out a form at Requesting or offering a ride is another form. Both are easy to figure out.

There is a protocol for getting picked up. Passengers and drivers meet at a public place that they agree on ahead of time. Both have an idea what they are looking for. Passengers know the license plate number of the car and what it looks like. Drivers are confirm that they have the right passenger with a confirmation number. Driver and passengers have pre-negotiated a small payment to the driver to help cover the cost of the trip.
Let’s Gaggle’s offering will be free for the next 2 years. After that it will charge a small fee (about 35 cents) for the match.

At this point the software all works, and Madhavan is looking for ways to get the word out, and users to build the system. To find out more please visit .

Future versions will include premium features like a guaranteed ride home if the ride falls through, phone matching, and an infrastructure for micro payments.

Tian Harter