HOUSTON INNOVATOR PODCAST EPISODE 118
Before he started his current job, Winston Wright would have thought a startup attempting to compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft was going to fight an uphill battle. Now, he sees how much opportunity there is in the rideshare market.
Wright is the Houston general manager for Alto, a Dallas-based company that's grown its driving service platform into five markets — first from Dallas into Houston and then to Los Angeles, Miami, and, most recently, Washington D.C. Alto's whole goal is to provide reliability and improve user experience.
"We're elevating ridesharing," Wright says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "With Alto, you get a consistent, safe experience with. a high level of hospitality. And that's a key differentiator for us in the market, and we're able to replicate that time and time again."
Wright, whose background is in sales and operations in hospitality, says his vision for alto in Houston is to expand the service — which operates in the central and western parts of the city — throughout the greater Houston area.
"The vision I have for this market is that, as we move forward and continue to expand, that we're covering all of Houston," he says.
This will mean expanding the company's physical presence too. Alto recently announced its larger space in Dallas, and now the Houston operations facility will grow its footprint too.
Wright says he's also focused on growing his team. Over the past two years, pandemic notwithstanding, the company has maintained hiring growth. Alto's drivers are hired as actual employees, not contractors, so they have access to benefits and paid time off.
The company, which raised $45 million in its last round of investment, is expanding next to the Silicon Valley area, followed by three to five more markets in 2022. Then, by the end of 2023, it's Alto's mission to have a completely electronic fleet of vehicles.
"Our goal is to have over 3,000 EV cars and be the first company with a 100 percent electric fleet by 2023," Wright says.
Wright shares more on Alto's future in Texas and beyond, as well as what's challenging him most as he grows the team locally. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.