Over the past few months I have received a lot of DMs from first-time founders on how to formulate an exit plan. Instead of writing the same short answer over and over again I’ve decided to write a more detailed post about this matter so I can easily share the link, and include additional thoughts based on each case.

Back when I was at Bentley University for my undergraduate degree I had taken an Entrepreneurship class in which our most important assignment for the semester was to complete a business plan. The section I remember struggling with the most was the “exit strategy” of the venture. Today, prior to launching a new business many founders/entrepreneurs still feel this unnecessary burden and obsess over a potential exit. …

As a first-time entrepreneur and solo-founder looking to launch a start-up, are you are probably looking at retaining a development agency. The excitement that comes with launching your new business as soon as possible will push you to make a rushed decision to hire either the cheapest agency, or the one that has been the most responsive to your questions and concerns. When you retain a development agency, you are putting them in full control of your product and timeline’s fate; they can make or break your start-up.

Before I start sharing my thoughts on remote development agencies and how to manage them, remember that they are a for-profit business and they only make money as long as you remain their client; so, it is important to always keep in mind that your interests aren’t aligned. …

Understanding who your customers are and how they interact with your platform is the only way to drive demand and increase the ROI on your ad spend. Without a clear understanding of these two, you are setting your company up for failure. At CarHopper, we followed a 3-step plan to unlock demand.

Reaching out to our users

To understand who our customers really were, we first reached out to them and initiated a friendly conversation:

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If a customer wrote back, we would immediately follow up and ask to jump on a 15 minute call to interview them in exchange of a discount code for their next rental. …

An online marketplace is a platform that matches suppliers and consumers of a specific product or service and that brokers the subsequent transaction. Marketplaces make money by taking a commission from each transaction. Some of the most popular online marketplaces are Amazon, Ebay, and Airbnb.

The most common obstacle marketplace founders face when building their platform is the lack of an existing supply and demand. It’s difficult to earn the loyalty of early suppliers without any demand, and it’s as difficult to get consumers without enough variety.

As the first online marketplace connecting local and independently owned luxury car rental companies in the United States with travelers from all around the world, at CarHopper we were able to onboard tens of thousands of high-end cars with a total inventory value of more than $100 million within just 3 years. …

The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every company in every industry. With consumption having significantly slowed down in the first quarter of 2020, companies that have been losing out on cash flow have started mass layoffs. Workers that have not lost their jobs yet have started wondering how secure their job is, and for how much longer. The subsequent fear of unemployment has caused an additional decrease in consumption and economic activity, and consequently even more unemployment. The U.S. Labor Department reported on April 2nd 2020 that 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits. To prevent unemployment numbers from going up even more, companies must use all the tools available to them before making the drastic decision to start layoffs. …

The COVID-19 virus is an unprecedented challenge facing policy makers, communities, entrepreneurs, and employees around the world. Transportation and travel are one of the most impacted industries, and the sharing economy is consequently a casualty of the current pandemic. While some companies are having to temporarily suspend their operations in certain cities, some are already preparing layoffs. The novel virus is undoubtedly a Black Swan. However, these times also present an opportunity for the sharing economy to remind the world once again that its disruptive nature is one that is reliable and necessary.

Though the temporary measures taken by governments all around the world are certainly understandable; the level of fear, paranoia, and exclusion that this virus has brought into our lives is just not sustainable. As social beings, we cannot indefinitely lock ourselves in until the curve flattens. Policy makers, regulators and principal actors of the sharing economy have a historical opportunity -and duty- to work together towards normalizing our lives. …

When I founded CarHopper a few years ago, I decided to base it out of Miami. The decision of keeping the company in Miami to keep my costs under control led me to master the art of hiring and managing remote employees. While it was financially rewarding to hire remote employees, the management style required to manage off-site employees and contractors based out of different timezones was definitely a learning curve. I thought putting this article together could serve as a resource during these difficult days we are forced to work from home due to the pandemic.

Project Management Tools

If your company does not already use in-house project management tools; products like Trello, Jira, and Slack are the essentials you should immediately sign up for. These platforms will allow you to assign and track progress on tasks, set deadlines, and communicate efficiently which will eventually lead your colleagues to take ownership of their projects. …

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When we founded CarHopper, we set out to democratize access to high-end cars while providing hosts with a service that delivered. Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have taken our founding vision to new heights by joining the world’s leading car-sharing marketplace, Turo. Our users will now have even more choices from Turo’s 450,000+ cars across 5,500 active markets. Since its launch in 2010, Turo has raised a total of $500M and built a vibrant community of over 14 million hosts and guests.

Combining the strengths of CarHopper and Turo will create an unparalleled offering for car enthusiasts and hosts across the United States. Together, we will give our guests more choices, and our hosts a cooperative partner to connect them with those guests looking for memorable experiences. …


Bora Hamamcioglu

Founder & CEO of CarHopper. I also consult for firms like Bain & Company and McKinsey & Company in the spaces of fin-tech and online marketplaces.

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