Tech Pitch: HiyaCar

Do you really need to own a car? Startups meets the peer-to-peer car sharing platform that's hoping to make drivers reconsider buying their own motor...

Company name: HiyaCar
Founders: Graeme Risby (35) Rob Larmour (34)
Background: Risby previously worked as a performance and risk analyst at a top tier investment management firm, where he saw how good ideas could turn into powerful businesses. Meanwhile Larmour – an old friend of Risby’s – set up and managed complex online platforms with thousands of members, fostering technical know-how and an understanding of scalability.
Based in: London, UK
Launched: February 2016

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

HiyaCar connects people who don’t own a car with nearby people who do.

By using keyless tech and other technology we make the car hiring process more streamlined than ever, while also allowing motorists to recoup some of the ever-rising costs of car ownership.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

We are an entirely peer-to-peer sharing platform, which means that unlike other companies we are leveraging cars that belong to people, putting money back into the pockets of owners rather than owning our own fleet.

As a society we need to reduce the amount of cars being bought each year. Just last week it was was revealed that new car sales are surging due to incoming tax increases, despite the fact that there are more efficient and cheaper alternatives to ownership.

We need to become better at sharing assets like cars when they’re not being used. Which, for city dwellers, could be days on end as they commute. By providing keyless technology, we’re making sharing easier than ever – and that will encourage people to really reflect on whether they need a car full-time.

Is HiyaCar funded?

Yes; last year we launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. This brought in £2.2m funding over a period of 12 months and, in total, came in at 215% over our funding target. One of the key backers of that campaign, among others, was Photobox – another start-up success story.

What were you doing before you started HiyaCar?

I previously worked as a performance and risk analyst at top tier investment management firm Smith & Williamson, with over £15bn of funds. It gave me a great insight into how great little ideas can transform into powerful and beneficial businesses.

While I worked full time as an analyst, I dedicated my weekends to creating the premise of a service that let people monetize their motors. It was my wife Jodi’s knowledge of the insurance industry that helped me formulate a scalable business model that would later enable people to share cars in their local community – the birth of HiyaCar.

An old friend, Rob Larmour, is the co-founder and COO of HiyaCar. Previously, he set up and managed complex online platforms in the UK and Ireland that processed thousands of transactions for thousands of members, and has bought this essential technical know-how and understanding of scalability to HiyaCar.

What’s the best thing about being based in London?

London is a great place to live. The nature of the city is fast-paced; it lives and breathes new technology and more efficient ways of working and living. As such, it’s a great place start up a business, especially in the sharing economy. Londoners will be the early adopters of keyless technology in peer-to-peer shared cars and will pave the way for other people in the UK.

Keen to start a business in London? Browse Startups’ free guides here.

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