Fear Fare? No! Let’s make this a FairFare
The Real Reason We Started FairFare
I often get asked why we started FairFare and I tend to give the evolved reason of “we wanted to democratize the ride share space in NYC and we are annoyed by toggling between the various apps that are constantly coming into NYC, and also who can remember which company is surging more when one is a bit inebriated?” Although that is all true, it isn’t the initial reason why we created FairFare.
Prior to FairFare, I started another app based out of Kenya called PoaPost (Poa =Cool in Kiswahili) which was an on demand courier service that focused on moving parcels between rural/urban communities in Kenya at an affordable price that your average Kenyan could afford. While testing and piloting I happened to meet folks at Uber who had just moved into Nairobi and were establishing their presence in Kenya. Long story short I was invited to apply for the General Manager position in Nairobi, Kenya. I thought it made sense as I would gain knowledge about logistics in Kenya that could be applied to PoaPost, so I applied. I went through 5 or 6 rounds, timed 2 hour analytics test, phone interviews, in person interviews, created a marketing plan, and business plan for the region etc. In going through these rounds I noticed that Uber was giving me problems in the market that they had not yet solved. I was a wee bit wary of this as it felt like idea creeping, and being versed in the job application process I knew that companies generally provide applicants with a case study that has already been solved to ascertain how one approaches problem solving. However, I ignored my intuition (bad move.. I do not recommend such foolery) and continued on in the process. During the process the team was very responsive to emails, answered all queries, generally a swell bunch of folks that quelled my fears of the possibility of idea creep. So final round comes along and I’ve submitted a growth focused business plan, marketing plan, the works. Wait for a reply…..crickets. So I think to myself that’s strange. I reach out to see if it is a yay or nay…crickets still. Ok, so now nervousness begins to rear her pretty little head and I check GlassDoor…and would you believe I found 4 other people who were interviewing for the same GM position in different markets that Uber was launching in. They had the same experience as myself AND saw their ideas implemented in said market! Irked was an understatement as it relates to how I felt…irate encompasses it a bit better. I began to stalk their Kenya Twitter feed and sure enough my ideas were being implemented and they are doing quite well in Nairobi as of last year anyway when I was back in Kenya.
Later that summer on a family trip to Rhode Island, I lay by the water and I thought to myself “how can I disrupt their market share?” It makes me laugh now as my reasons have evolved from minor vengeance to genuinely wanting to democratize the rideshare space and put the power of choice back in the hands of riders. Further, I hope this gives some insight into how a “no” or seemingly negative situation wasn’t really that negative at all as the experience has led me to create and work on a challenging startup, bootstrapping, and the learning curve is amazing and fast.
So the truth is out. The initial catalyst for the FairFare idea (We compare the fares of ride shares in NYC..Compare.Choose.Book.Ride=FairFare…I know shameless plug)was a result of experiencing a very base feeling and acting on it. However that base feeling led to me creating opportunities for fairness for the urban traveler; democratizing the space to to speak just because I wasn’t treated fairly does not mean I’d want the same for others. So why not create fairness.. was my line of thinking. Time and hustle will tell if we democratize the space, but one can’t knock the inital catalyst. #FairFare #Choosewisely