8 years ago

Hobnobbing with Graeme Risby from Hiya Car

So, what does Hiya Car do?

HiyaCar is a person to person car sharing platform for car hire between people. We aim to turn the millions of private cars sitting idle on drives and streets into a virtual fleet of cars for hire. This gives hirers more choice, convenience and value for money whilst car owners are able to turn their car into a second source of income that could even pay for the cost of the car.

What’s behind the business idea?

I’ve always loved my cars and from the day, I passed my driving test (a long time ago) I have owned nice cars and spent a lot of money doing so.  Turns out that my wife also likes her cars and the both of us worked in the city for a long time, which meant we would hardly ever use our cars as they sat in the train car park depreciating away and costing us a lot of money to own. On the other hand, I have friends in London who wouldn’t own a car but would use traditional car hire companies regularly when visiting friends and family outside of London but would always moan about their experience.  I’ve personally always liked the idea of using technology to connect people so it seemed obvious that there was a better solution for car owners and car hirers, that solution is HiyaCar.

Was there a breakthrough moment?

When we signed our bespoke Insurance policy with Axa! This was a huge barrier to entry and with the help of AON (global insurance broker) 12 months of hard work and lots of persistence, we managed to secure our policy with Axa.  Our policy covers both car owners and car hirers and supersedes the car owner's personal policy when hiring out their car.

Do you have any regrets?

No regrets as such but one slight oversight that comes to mind which was a lack of real research into potential users in Milton Keynes at the beginning of our journey, for example, we were looking to launch in Milton Keynes as the council and campus really embraced HiyaCar, but when we started to onboard members it was clear that the people of MK didn’t seem as keen as the council was unfortunately.

You advertise that you are helping the environment, how important is it to have a social purpose?

Hugely important, the sharing economy will have a huge positive impact as sharing is sustainable, sharing is infinite and owning is finite. People to people hires will lead to less cars being on the road through reducing car ownership, which will be good for traffic, creating lower emissions which are of benefit to the environment.

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

Good question! For us our members and communities are key. We exist because we want to see a world where communities have the freedom to have a better life. So for us, a positive member experience is one where our car owner feel they have more financial freedom due to the additional money generated from hiring out something they already own. For our car hirers, a positive experience is where our platform has enabled them to have the freedom to get out on the road and a destination of their choice whilst in the process connecting people within the same community and forming new friendships.

You’re currently reaching out to investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?

We will continue to develop our platform and look to integrate technology which will allow for keyless car entry.  We will be increasing our team numbers and will look to optimise our cost of customer acquisition before next year’s scale-up by testing our marketing channels.

What advice would you give yourself now if you were starting a business?

Be persistent, laser focussed and go with your gut instincts, 9/10 they are right!

There is no silver bullet or magic answer to help you get from A to B quicker than anybody else.  Keep on running tests, learn from data, adopt changes, test again, learn from data and so on.

My other piece of advice is only start up your own business if you are genuinely passionate about your company subject and only if you would personally use your service / product to improve your own life.  This passion will help you carry on when the chips are down as it’s extremely hard work if it was easy everybody would be doing it!

Finally, Graeme what is your favourite biscuit?

I’m not really a biscuit fan but my 4-year-old daughter loves a custard cream.