After gaining a foothold in Dubai, Udrive has expanded its operations to cater to Sharjah and is looking to grow its capacity in both cities. CEO Hasib Khan shares how the market for the company's services is growing.
Where does Udrive’s value lie considering services such as Uber, Careem and other taxi services?
Udrive’s key value lies with its customers and in providing an affordable service. The more you drive, the more you save compared to any other on demand car rental service. Additionally, Udrive gives you the assurance that you will have a car at the mall parking bay after a shopping trip or even a football match. The flexibility of using the service for a short trip with convenient billing and no minimum charge, as well as the option of keeping a car for the whole day makes Udrive’s service unique.
Moreover, a lot of our customers appreciate the usability of storing their belongings in the car whilst they shop or run errands.
How do you evaluate which cities/locations are best poised for Udriver’s services?
The demand for car sharing continues to increase year on year, while smart mobile solutions continues to gain popularity.
With this in mind, we are focusing on providing a flexible mobile service in high-population areas where the current infrastructure lacks a reliable, easy and well-connected mobility solution. This is where we help with our service, and this is why customers use our service. This is the case in many cities of the Middle East, and this is where you will see Udrive more and more often in the future.
Can Udrive cars be dropped off anywhere, or do they have to be delivered back to specific point?
Udrive cars can be dropped at any location within the same city from where it was picked up. That means if a customer has rented a car in Sharjah, he is requested to return the car back to Sharjah. The location is free to choose as long as it’s covered by our parking permit from the Sharjah municipality or it is an unlimited free parking which is not covered by a ceiling to ensure the communication between our system and cars.
We are also looking at providing inter-city solutions in the future to allow customers to return a car from Sharjah to Dubai and vice versa.
Why Sharjah and not more cars in Dubai?
The overwhelming demand received from existing customers for the service availability in Sharjah led us to the current expansion to Sharjah. We are growing our fleet in both cities now and will ensure to have enough vehicles around in the next couple of months to satisfy our Udrive community to the maximum.
Where next? Any plans beyond the UAE? Or is Abu Dhabi where you are looking at next?
We would like to expand within the country before we continue within the region. Our service is well known in the UAE, and a lot of our customers come from different emirates even though they do not live in Dubai. This shows us there is demand for further expansion along with several other factors. So yes, Abu Dhabi and the northern Emirates are the next cities that we are looking at.
When did Udrive begin services and how many staff does the company now employ?
Udrive officially started in January 2017 and has now around 40 people in the team.
Is the company privately owned, or backed by investors? Would it be possible to name whom?
The majority of the company is owned by me being the Founder and CEO. We have recently received a backing by investors from India, and we are looking at raising more funds within the next 3-6 months to support our ongoing expansion plans.
Can you share a few details about your personal journey before you began Udrive, and what led you to start the company?
I came to Dubai because of work. In 2011, I started up a business which focused on logistics and transportation for the US Army, British Ministry of Defense and German Bundeswehr in areas like Afghanistan.
After living in the country for several months, I fell in love with the place, the culture and the people- which led to my decision to settle here and operate my business from here. A couple of years later, I was eager to open up other businesses, one of them a car rental company. The necessity of a quick mobility solution (within my businesses that I was operating at that time), which a regular taxi or car on demand could not fulfil, brought about the idea of car sharing. This resulted in the transformation of Aimex Rent a Car LLC to Udrive.
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