Selfdrive.ae – Makes you seamlessly mobile

Interviews

Soham Shah, CEO of Selfdrive.ae, explains how the super app is spearheading digital transformation in the mobility space.

Please introduce Selfdrive to our readers.

Selfdrive, is a smart mobility Super App, that allows users to rent a car on demand in a simple, safe and flexible way. The app is designed on a proprietary tech foundation concept known as search–select–pay, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to match users’ profiles with the cars they wish to drive. It’s currently available in the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, and we plan to add further new markets in the near future.

How did you conceive the idea of Selfdrive and how do you compare it with a regular car rental service?

The idea to start Selfdrive spurred when we realized that the car manufacturers and dealerships have a unique problem – they have a lot of unsold inventory standing. This led us to come up with the idea of having a platform that facilitates deals for consumers and gives them direct access to dealership vehicles.

As compared to other car rental services, Selfdrive is a Super App, which basically means that it is end-to-end integrated. The app offers a 3-step convenient process of SEARCH- SELECT- PAY with a flexibility to subscribe from 1 day to 36 months.

In addition, our AI integration helps us to profile customers based on their specific requirements. For example, if you are a registered customer on our platform and have been driving a certain segment of a vehicle, say BMW – every time you return to the application, the look and feel of the application would typically change based on your client profile. This helps us better understand that this client is within the luxury segment, and so he doesn’t have to waste his time navigating through the entire app.

How was this disruptive idea received at the beginning in the auto frenzy GCC market?

The UAE has always been open to digital transformation, which in a way helped us establish our presence in the market. Our rental service is simple and straightforward and comes with its own perk as –

a. You get to drive the latest car models across the block
b. You don’t need have an eligibility to be approved for a car loan – (No Loan = No financial commitments)
c. Don’t have to worry over maintenance or Insurance (As its all included)
d. You also get the option to swap the car every month or year
e. You also have 24×7 Roadside assistance – so in case of any incident you are covered.
f. Invest that money rather than paying for a depreciating asset.
Car rentals have come a long way from where it started, the way it works now is a seamless car ownership experience without the need to own it. – It’s just takes away all the hassle of car ownership, which made our business idea fly with this market.

What were the initial roadblocks you had to overcome to get to where you are today?

Every company faces initial roadblocks, however our persistent efforts to offer customers service excellence, cost-effective rates and access to the cars direct from dealership via our super app have led us to cement our position in the industry today.

Please share with us your plans to expand Selfdrive into new markets

Being a pioneer in the digital car rental industry in GCC, we are looking to lead the digital transition/transformation in the Mobility space by offering seamless customer experience and ease of access for mobility across GCC, Europe, UK and Western Markets.

Currently we provide an all-in-one portfolio of services starting from 1 day to 36 months. As we see an exponential growth in the mobility space – we plan to be a global leader in mobility sector & have plans to launch EVs, Digital Charging Network, E-scooters & end integrated mobility network across channels.

What advice would you like to offer to the budding entrepreneurs who are looking to start off with their dream ventures?

• Start with a purpose: Identify a gap in the market, and then capitalize on it
• Build a strong team: A business is as good as a team
• Watch Competitors: Focus on creating the best and bringing genuine value to your customers
• Keep Exploring: Innovate, Develop and Repeat
• Never Stop Learning: Be open to suggestions and ideas. Be Inspired and continue your journey to excellence.

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