Founder Q&A with Aussie Success Story Shebah (All-Women Rideshare)
Founded in 2016, Shebah has taken the rideshare industry by storm. It has grown to become the biggest ever female based investment on a CSF platform. When it comes to valuable insights centered around exponential growth, strategic execution and market penetration, there is no better source than the trailblazers from Shebah – Australia’s leading all-women ride share with 130 B2B clients and growing and with the achievement of reaching number 1 in the app store several times.
Listed below is the Q&A CRIISP Media underwent with George McEnroe, CEO of Shebah, who has answered them in full, generously sharing her experience and advice to budding entrepreneurs.
George to begin with, what made you decide this was a problem worth solving, and how do you justify the severity of this problem to the point that a solution is necessary?
There are two perspectives that made me realise there was a problem worth solving, as an all-women rideshare makes sense for both the women in the driver and the passenger seat.
- From the rider’s perspective – I heard the stories, read the stats, lived the experience. Women are constantly at risk and that’s as true of rideshare as anywhere. My own teenage daughter was experiencing unwelcome looks and remarks in transport services and I wondered how I could possibly sit with that.
- Then I experienced the driver’s perspective – as a recently divorced mum of four, I knew rideshare driving would be a flexible source of income however I didn’t feel safe picking up male passengers at night. Rideshare is such a great way to set your hours and earn or supplement an income, but there was a real lack of space for women in rideshare.
I really saw I had no choice but to create a solution.
Shebah has completed over 11,000 trips per month, growing in an industry size of $693 million p.a. with an expected growth of 13%
You also now have the necessary approval to launch in New Zealand and plans to operate there soon. What do you attribute this fast growth to?
Our growth story is quite simple – we’re solving a real human problem. We’re not ideating and creating a product that we need to match to a consumer insight in order to keep it relevant. We’ve created a solution to a problem, nothing more.
Word of mouth has been big for marketing the business, the team and I can only imagine how much further our footprint could stretch as we look to raise further capital and increase the marketing budget. We’ve come so far based on a strong sense of community. You know the product is strong when you see organic growth like this.
In 2017, The Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship reported that while the startup ecosystem in Australia continues to grow, businesses founded by women are still underrepresented, with fewer female-led businesses starting, scaling, and securing finance. Statistics indicate that in 20 years, the number of female led businesses has increased by just 3%.
Current and previous generations of female entrepreneurs have a trove of valuable experience from which insights are derived, as a member of this group what would you identify as actionable insights to pass on down to the next wave of females taking on the commercial world?
Two things come to mind here:
- Jargon is a gatekeeper – Don’t let jargon and industry practices in new worlds like tech or finance be a barrier to entry. Everyone who operates in emerging technology spaces had to learn them at some point.
- Women are not a ‘niche’ audience – In the early days of pitching for investment, I was challenged quite seriously on my ‘niche’ product. It’s just not the case. Women are half the population and what’s more, Shebah services families including dads. We’re here for the girls on their night out and the families who need help with logistics. In 2021 when we have more access than ever to details on our target audiences including breakdowns of demographics and psychographics, dismissing half the population as ‘niche’ is just incorrect. If I’d listened to people tell me Shebah was a niche market we would be in a very different place.
130 B2B Clients, and over 11,000 trips, what was your go-to-market strategy against the bigger players in the space, how did you get creative with market penetration?
Rideshare was a booming market when we entered and most of the players are competing on price. We have a crystal clear value proposition and knew to penetrate strong competition, we couldn’t stray from it.
I’m sure you’ve faced criticism with the idea that there is a need for a female-only ride sharing app, so can you highlight the criticisms you had to face and how you handled it, as it’s a testament to your communicative abilities and how others should speak to the market.
We are an all-women rideshare. We operate with exemptions and exceptions to anti discrimination acts because we’re recognised to be serving a real need. What’s more, we’re able to say with confidence we aren’t stopping men from accessing rideshare. Simply, we are offering a chance for women (particularly those who have experienced trauma) to feel safe in the passenger seat, and families an option to transporttheir kids with someone who is legally able to do so.
Lastly, for those who are keeping track of your progress, what should we be looking forward to over the next 6-12 months, and what is the end goal for Shebah?
Our big hairy audacious goal is to provide a safe passage home for women all over Australia and eventually, the world. In the short term, we are currently seeking capital for our next phase of scale. This will fund growth projects within our tech and marketing teams.
Shebah is currently undergoing a capital raise of $5million AUD to take their venture to the next level, they are open to speaking to potential investors via their deal room which can be found here.