Accusations of assault and discrimination have trailed leading ride-share companies for some time now, and women-focused startup Safr is aiming to change the experience for riders and drivers alike.
Safr promotes safety, community and empowerment in the ride-share industry and has received more than 7,000 driver registrations - the majority from women - since it launched.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.
Safr focuses on empowering women and families through safe transportation. Every component of our business is geared towards creating equal opportunities for women in the ride-sharing economy in particular and in the business sector in general.
Although we do not discriminate based on gender, background, color, religion, etc., Safr is committed to providing a safe space and equal opportunities for women.
Although sexual harassment has been going on in the ride-share industry for a long time, recent stories of misconduct and harassment by the drivers of leading ride-share companies have brought the focus on women's safety. Safr's value proposition of safety, community and empowerment offers the majority of the world’s population a safe mode of transportation.
The notion of safety starts with our onboarding process, which includes extensive background checks for each driver, one-on-one meetings with our captains and constant communication between our partner-drivers and captains. In addition, we feel proud to have pioneered some of the leading in-app safety features that are now being copied by industry leaders. Our technology platform allows both riders and drivers to feel safe during their ride-share experience through a variety of safety features like an SOS button, Emergency Notice, Color Match and more.
What inspired you to create this company?
The introduction of the ride-share market offered a significant promise of freedom of earning and movement to everyone, but unfortunately, it fell short when it came to offering equal opportunities to women as drivers and riders. Research showed that only 14% of the driver pool with the leading ride-share companies consisted of women, and most women who drove for the existing companies had their earning potential confined by the daylight hours.
The gender inequality was even greater outside of the United States and European markets. Many women riders also avoided to ride with the leading ride-share companies, opening a significant gap in the market.
Safr was the answer to the market demand of a women- and families-focused ride-share service. Since our launch, we have had more than 7,000 driver registrations, a large majority of which are women. Likewise, the majority of our riders are women, and we are getting significant demand from all over the U.S.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
We understand that there are much bigger and better-funded ride-share giants in the market, which also have a long lead time over Safr, but our strength lies within our mission and value proposition of safety, community and empowerment.
We believe that the overall transportation market, and in particular the ride-share industry, offers a promising opportunity for a women-focused ride-share brand like Safr. While focusing on our core competencies, we believe that we can not only create a healthy ride-share platform, but also create a brand that people can associate with and love to trust.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
We believe that women should be able to drive and ride whenever and however they feel without the fear of their safety. In an ideal environment, women would like to increase their earning potential by driving any time they like, and women riders would like to take rides without the fear or harassment or abuse.
Subscribe to our newsletter below
For women, the earning potential and contributions to their families and societies multiplies when they are offered a platform that understands and speaks their interests and needs. Unfortunately, none of the leading ride-share companies were able to realize the market need for a better service instead of a cheaper service. Safr offers that ideal environment to women through its commitment to provide a safe and powerful platform.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
We have been fortunate to receive tremendous support from women all across the U.S. With very little spent on marketing, Safr has been able to get significant downloads and both rider and driver registrations.
We are aligning ourselves with like-minded organizations and individuals to spread the mission of women empowerment. Of course any and all support from media, people and organizations who also believe in our mission can greatly help in our growth.
Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
Honestly, need for a safe and better ride-share company was already there, and it didn’t take much for us to gain interest and momentum. We are targeting the women and families market, and by doing so, we’ll be focusing on the majority of the U.S. population.
We believe that women should be able to drive and ride whenever and however they feel without the fear of their safety.
How and when will you make money?
We all know that ride-share, in general, is a capital intensive market and requires a long pathway towards profitability. Safr, however, has created both an operational and technical platform that allows us to scale with profitability in mind. We are confident that our growth will not impede our capacity to make profit for our shareholders.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Our founding team and advisors have extensive experience in scaling technology platforms. In addition to our team, our platform of safe transportation offers unique technology that helps fuel our operations and expansion throughout the U.S. and internationally. Not many companies at our stage can boast such capacity.
What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
By far, fundraising has been challenging, but we have gained significant support from resourceful and empowered women from across the country. The unwavering support of business leaders from all over the U.S. has helped us in our early growth.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
We pride ourselves as a startup with the right social mission and soulc and we have been true to our mission at every level. This is what makes us unique when a comparison has made between Safr and other transportation-related startups.
What markets are you currently operating in, and what’s your growth plan?
We are currently operating in Boston and Orlando in the U.S. and Lahore and Multan in Pakistan. We plan on expanding to other U.S. cities in the coming months.
To learn more about our profiling of new travel companies and how to apply.