Ben is a web enthusiast and startup entrepreneur, passionate about the sharing economy. Before Co-founding Carpool Arabia, he worked as a management consultant for five years. While commuting, everyday, from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, CarpoolArabia.com founder, Benjamin de Terssac, made a few simple observations that led him to the launch of the first ride share startup in the Middle East. Seeing the massive need to alleviate traffic congestion and eradicate the frustrations of consumers who need a quick and reliable way to get to their destinations, Carpool launched with great market traction in Dubai.
Carpool Arabia is one of the most talked about startups out of Dubai following the footsteps of Dubizzle, Cobone, Just Falafel and Nabbesh. The startup aims to be the Uber of the Middle East. It was during Startup Weekend Dubai, in late November 2013, that Carpool Arabia came to life. Coincidentally, it was the very same weekend de Terssac would meet his business partner – now cofounder and Chief Product Officer – Guillaume Arnaud (pictured below, left).The company was bootstrapped with a $50,000 investment from the founders, and six weeks later, CarpoolArabia.com was open for beta users. The website officially launched on February 18, 2014. The growth rate for this small scale startup is looking promising. As of December 1, 2014, 35,667 seats have been offered across 667,354km throughout the UAE (the average trip being 46km). According to the CEO, this marks an increase of 58% month-on-month, with the number of users now reaching 965 (an increase of 36% month-on-month). http://www.carpoolarabia.com/
Some of the best learning points from this interview will be
- The Hidden Story: Ben’s entrepreneurial journey and advice to first time entrepreneurs
- The Strategy on Exposure: Carpool Arabia has been featured in the national, Entrepreneur Middle East, Wamda, and Arabian business.com
- Bootstrapping 101: The company bootstrapped up to $50k in funds prior to launch
- Accelerator Opportunities: Carpool Arabia was born of Startup Weekend Dubai- one of the most disruptive global 3 day weekend events that puts entrepreneurs on the map
- Investment Funding: Carpool Arabia raised close to $80k in funds on the crowd equity platform Eureeca- a platform also used by Nabbesh.
- Government Perspectives- Carpool Arabia like Uber faces challenges from governments and law precedents. Their impact on RTA is one to note