stay classy

New tech-enabled chauffeur service stretches into Houston with upscale ride options

Drvn offers tech-savvy service, high-end cars, and various ride options. Photo courtesy of drvn

Discriminating Houstonians who opt for luxury/executive car services (and who don’t, unfortunately, have a limo and driver of their own) now can choose an innovative, tech-savvy option.

Drvn, a global chauffeur service, has just rolled into Houston. Customers can look forward to on-demand rides — 24 hours a day — in various, upscale vehicles. Options start with first class; cars offered include sedans (Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series, or similar); SUVs (Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, or similar); and even vans (such as the Mercedes 1500).

Business class also offers sedans (Cadillac XTS, Lincoln Continental, or similar); SUVs (Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, or similar); and also vans (Ford Transit or similar).

Private charters for posh parties or travel parties include Grech minibuses (or similar) that can seat up to 36 passengers. Limousines are available upon request and subject to availability. All vehicles are black, for a more classic touch.

Just in time for society/gala season, drvn offers locals rides to events all around Greater Houston, as well as both major airports. (Drvn’s CEO David Medina tells CultureMap that the service is a hit in its Coral Gables, Florida headquarters, where well-heeled customers use it for event travel.)

Other service areas include port transfers to and from the Port of Galveston; drvn’s long-distance car service to Dallas; Oklahoma City; Shreveport, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; and beyond. Drvn staff expects major demand for events, conventions, and conferences, plus executive car service for business clients.

Currently, those interested can book rides via the drvn site. Medina notes that a customer app is scheduled for later this year.

As for the cost: A simple search from the Memorial Park area to Bush Intercontinental Airport yielded point-to-point rides starting at around $226 in an executive class sedan. Users can also schedule and even request special cars and opt for hourly service (perfect for weddings, occasions, and that visiting celebrity friend).

Aiming to separate itself from local high-end car services, drvn promises “five-star, white-glove transportation” options, cutting-edge booking technology, and drivers who meticulously train and even undergo secret rides from drvn staff to assure quality control. Drvn hopes to entice business/executive car service clients with tech such as God’s view and GPS tracking (to keep tabs on the boss’s car), a live manifest, and uniform billing and communication.

Medina also hopes to separate his company by redefining what luxury actually means when it comes to car service.

“‘Luxury’ does not mean luxury for high-end private car service,” he says. “Luxury is a Flying Spur or a Bentayga, not a Mercedes S Class or an Escalade. But, a Bentley is not what is in the mind of professionals who seek ‘luxury’ private car service. It is a state of being. It is knowing, without saying, that your chauffeur not only has your best interests in mind, he has your experience in mind. It is part of his duty of care to know what you expect and deliver it with elegance and with no visible exertion. It is through the simplicity of this balance that drvn’s chauffeured service delivers a ‘luxury’ experience. Not the Bentley.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

A Houston startup that created a remote monitoring and care platform has raised millions in financing. Image via michealthcare.com

A virtual health care and analytics provider startup has closed its latest round of funding for a total of $27 million in financing.

Medical Informatics Corp. closed a $17 million series B co-led by Maryland-based Catalio Capital Management and California-based Intel Capital. The financing also includes an additional $10 million in debt led by Catalio through Catalio’s structured equity strategy, according to a news release.

“We are excited to have had this round co-led by Catalio and Intel Capital," says Emma Fauss, CEO and co-founder of MIC, in the release. "Catalio brings significant financial and technical resources, while Intel Capital possesses strong operational and industry experience, and we look forward to continuing to leverage both firms’ expertise as we continue to scale.”

MIC created an FDA-cleared virtual care platform, called Sickbay, that gives health care providers and hospitals away to remotely monitor patients in any setting with vendor-neutral real-time medical device integration, workflow automation and standardization.

“We have seen an increased demand for our solution as our clients face significant staffing challenges and are looking for ways to amplify and empower their workforce," Fauss says in the release. "Some of the largest health care systems in the country are standardizing their infrastructure on our Sickbayplatform while consolidating IT spend."

Other participants in the round included new investors TGH Innoventures, Tampa General Hospital’s innovation center and venture fund, and Austin-based Notley — as well as existing investors San Francisco-based DCVC, the Texas Medical Center, and nCourage, a Houston-based investment group.

As a part of the round, two individuals from Catalio will join the board at MIC. Jonathan Blankfein, principal at Catalio will join the board of directors, Diamantis Xylas, head of research at Catalio, will join as board observer.

“Health care systems’ need for high-caliber, cost-saving, data-driven technology is only going to increase, and MIC’s proprietary platform is perfectly positioned to address some of the most critical clinical challenges that health care organizations face,” says Blankfein in the release. “We look forward to continuing to support MIC’s strong team as it continues to deliver better outcomes for health care organizations and patients alike.”

Amid the pandemic and the rising need for remote care technology, MIC scaled rapidly in the past two years. The company will use the funding to continue fueling its growth, including hiring specialized talent — deep product specialists and client engagement teams — to support long-term strategic partnerships.

“One of the main barriers to advanced analytics in health care is the siloing of data and today there is a significant need for a platform to enable flexible, centralized and remote monitoring at scale and on demand,” says Mark Rostick, vice president and senior managing director at Intel Capital, in the release. “Medical Informatics is setting a new standard of health care by removing these data silos for health care providers of all sizes and transforming the way patients are monitored from hospital to home with real-time AI.”

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