Welcome to another episode of Jungle Connect and join our founder and CEO, Mr. Samar Singla, in an exciting conversation with Mr. Dwight Housend. He is the co-founder of one of the biggest ride-sharing companies in Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Housend has a very interesting story to share with you about bootstrapping his start-up. He, along with his nine co-founders, is running a successful ride-sharing business in the country. Let’s make you all a part of their entrepreneurial journey and give you an experience of how to grab an opportunity in your best interest.
About the co-founder of TT RideShare aka Mr. Dwight Housend
Dwight is a young entrepreneur, who before his start-up, was working with a local bank named Republic Bank as a customer care coordinator. It’s been 2.5 years since the team started TT Rideshare. Dwight is one of the youngest co-founders amongst the ten founders. After starting his business, he continued to work for the bank as a part time job to avoid risking his income share. He is now working full time for his ride-sharing business and giving his best to turn the team’s dream into reality.
The journey of TT Rideshare
The journey of TT Rideshare started when the journey of uber ended in Trinidad and Tobago. Yes, it might sound weird, but it’s how this business got its reality. Uber was facing many challenges while operating in the country and had to shut down. Amongst the co-founders of TT Rideshare, many were themselves driving for Uber and were left unemployed as the services were shutting down. So, this led them to think of taking a chance to earn their bread n butter. TT Rideshare is a bootstrap start-up that was started with a minimal amount of just 12000 US dollars, which means the 10 founders individually invested their savings of 1200 US dollars. This was how the company got its funding.
The last task was to arrange for a ride-sharing application that could help them and their customers to book the services with them. And after evaluating the different software, T T rideshare chose Jungleworks for tech support. After this, the company started rendering services to its customers and became one of Trinidad and Tobago’s largest ride-sharing companies.
Q&A session with Dwight Housend
Q1. How did the company acquire its initial set of drivers for their taxis?
The company did not have to make much effort to get their drivers on board as the country had just lost one of the great taxi services, and due to which many were unemployed, and the team of founders used their connections too. So this led them to have 300 drivers in their initial stages, reflecting a considerable number for any start-up company. Dwight also said that hitting the target right at the time of opportunity has helped the company in many segments.
Q2. What’s the business model for TT Rideshare?
TT Rideshare works on a commission basis, where they charge a commission of 20% from their drivers. For more significant projects, they would allow drivers to ride for free for 3 months. The company also believes a lot in local partnerships to make people understand that they are local and work for the local people. The company stuck to these grounds and created a better image for themselves in comparison to others.
Q3. How did Covid-19 affect the company?
Pre-covid, the company was expecting a global rise of 300% in the ride-sharing business by the end of 2023. Still, as the covid hit the market, the company’s business went down by 90% within the first month because the government implemented many restrictions on the country and the communities. So, when the restrictions were lifted, the company could show their value to the people by setting up their own set of guidelines followed by the drivers and riders. This allowed people to transport without any interactions with other people to follow covid safety measures. And this made the company get better with their business, but the conditions will get better as the pandemic will be over.
Q4. What’s new that TT Rideshare is planning to add?
The company plans to add corporate accounts to help bigger companies monitor their employees’ transportation and costs incurred on the same. While the company is also planning a new delivery business model, that could help vendors start their product’s delivery.
Q5. What’s the biggest challenge in a cab business?
As a cab business, the company faces many legal challenges in terms of how the company should operate and how they have to operate. So, it’s essential to judge a country’s legal terms to work around your business policies and operations.
A piece of advice by Mr. Dwight Housend to all the budding entrepreneurs:
Always be prepared in advance to grab any opportunity because you never know when it comes right in front of you. So be ready with your action plan and hit the right spot at the right time because it’s not only about the right business idea but also about the right time to start it!
We absolutely enjoyed having this motivational and interesting conversation and taking away many learnings, and we hope the same for our readers. To catch the complete interview, you can watch it on our Youtube channel, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to the video for more updates from JungleWorks!