The Nashville Technology Council (NTC) on Thursday night awarded a local ride-sharing company its 2018 Emerging Company Award.

Hytch, a soon-to-launch ride-sharing app created by Williamson County entrepreneur Mark Cleveland (second from left in above photo), beat out two other finalists for the Emerging Company award. The 9th Annual Awards were at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.

Hytch plans to incentivize people to carpool by paying them for riding together.

“Winning this means everything, particularly right now when we are about to launch a revolution, with our app, in the way people view incentives and rewards for improving traffic conditions for everybody,” Cleveland said. “We’re thrilled that the NTC recognized a company focused on using technology to reduce congestion.”

Hytch’s core concept, to pay people to carpool, is simple. But the idea of combining the technology of a smartphone application to attack a problem like traffic is what made it stand out above other finalists.

‘Hytch is an extremely innovative idea,” Brian Moyer, president and CEO of the NTC, said. “It’s one of those things you hear about and think, ‘Man, why didn’t I think of that?'”

He said the company’s innovation was what won it the award, rather than their focus on traffic reduction.

“Traffic and transit is maybe the most talked about topic right now in Nashville,” Moyer said. “I don’t know that there is a single silver bullet solution for all our traffic woes. It’s a puzzle to put together. Certainly the technology that Hytch has developed is a piece of that. It’s brilliant.”

Hytch will officially launch on February 9th, and is encouraging people sign up early.

They will be promoting a Valentine’s Day push in Middle Tennessee.

“We are expecting Valentine’s Day to be our coming out party in Middle Tennessee,” Cleveland said. “We hope to reward more shared rides than ever before. It is a great way to say ‘Hytch a ride with someone you love to show you love Nashville.'”

Cleveland said his biggest goal is to hopefully make traffic, and thus life, just a little bit better for everyone who uses the app. And the more people who use it, the better things can get.

“Life is better when we ride together,” he said. “We are paying people to share rides from Murfreesboro to Nashville, from Spring Hill to Nashville, Mt. Juliet to Nashville.”

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