Jillian Anderson found that during her late-night Uber drives in Atlanta, she would often encounter women who’d felt safe with her, and requested her driving services outside of the app.
This sparked a million-dollar idea.
“After hearing those requests over and over again, I finally started listening to a podcast called How I Built This. And when I found out that it only took two people to found Lyft and Uber, everything clicked from there. And I’ve been locked in ever since.”
Alongside friend and co-founder DeVynne Starks, HERide was birthed in March 2020, with the mission of prioritizing the safety and empowerment of women. “Built with the needs of women in mind, we aim to improve the lives of women everywhere through safe transportation, job creation, and financial security,” the website reads.
Anderson and Starks said their drivers are personally vetted and undergo comprehensive background checks. The founders also said their drivers are paid more than the industry standard and incentivized to provide riders a premium experience every time.
The premise is ideal. But like most revolutionary ideas, it came with some pushback.
“We’ve had some people say its discriminatory because our platform prioritizes women drivers,” Anderson explained. “We’ve even had some men lie on their driver applications despite it being made clear that this is a company only for those that identify as a woman.”
Starks said the challenges are a sign for more greatness to come.
“We’re both very firm believers in shaking the table. Someone has to be the first to do it. And although we may not be the first women-owned and focused rideshare app, I think we are the first to have a very specific call to action behind what it is that we are hoping to educate people on.”
In the last two years, the app has been downloaded more than 26,000 times an impressive feat since the founders said they haven’t spent much on marketing.
“It’s mostly been word-of-mouth and earned media,” Starks said, who also serves as HERide’s head of communications.
Although the app serves only the Atlanta-area right now, there are plans to expand internationally.
“We are in the midst of fundraising and only plan to raise $1.5M,” Anderson said. An intentional strategy she set because both Uber and Lyft’s founders raised that same amount and managed to grow globally.
“HERide is just the beginning,” Anderson said. “We are here to empower women one ride at a time.”