Godwin Gabriel believes the ride-hailing industry in America is ready for a new challenger.
That’s why he began rolling out Moovn’s on-demand transportation app in Seattle in February. Gabriel lives in Seattle but as a Tanzania native, he saw African markets as the best place to begin growing Moovn. Uber and Lyft were dominant and growing in the U.S. when Gabriel launched the app in 2015 but countries like Tanzania had more opportunity for newcomers.
He spent the past three years growing Moovn’s consumer rideshare business in Africa and developing partnerships with hotels and event centers in the U.S. to provide transportation services.
“Uber and Lyft were already heavily saturated in the mainstream consumer side of the technology,” Gabriel said. “We knew that being as startup, we needed to use our money sparingly and use our money carefully.”
But now he thinks the landscape has changed and the U.S. transportation industry is ready for a third entrant. Gabriel believes Moovn can gain an edge in the competitive space by doing a few things differently. Moovn doesn’t engage in surge pricing at popular times, for example.
“Uber’s scandals definitely played a major role in influencing our decision to officially jump into the rideshare space … we’re certainly calibrating our niche and learning from their mistakes,” Gabriel said.
Whether that’s enough to siphon off customers from industry titans Uber and Lyft remains to be seen but Moovn is gaining some early traction. Gabriel says the app is facilitating between 500 – 3,000 rides per day. The startup has raised $1.5 million in early-stage funding and is currently raising its Series A.
This week, the app will come on in five additional cities: New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Gabriel says there are drivers lined up in those markets.
“In the United States right about now I think there’s a growing need for a differentiator,” he said.