Today's Entrepreneur: Nathalie Criou

Kristin Karaoglu · May 21, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/26ce

No. 1 mistake: Not believing in a vision and not validating assumptions quickly and reasonably

Today's Entrepreneur is Nathalie Criou, CEO of RidePal. According to her VEQ (an entrepreneur assessment test) Nathalie is good at  product management, technology design and team motivation.

RidePal is one of the top contenders competing in the Splash LA competition. Check it out here. 

Vator’s community is the home to entrepreneurs who embrace their passion and follow their dreams. Our profiles allow members to express themselves by sharing their interests, lessons learned, as well as bits and pieces of their roller-coaster journey.

These profiles give entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase themselves and tell their story. So if you are an entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, or even an aspiring entrepreneur, we'd like to hear from you.

I am a(n):
Entrepreneur

Companies I've founded or co-founded:
non-profit BeatSarcoma

Startups I worked for:
Google, AdMob, Meebo

If you are an entrepreneur, why?
I found a problem I really care about and I didn't find an existing solution that made sense

My favorite startups:
Airbnb, Uber

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
Everything feels slow around you!

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
It is important to believe in a vision – and validate assumptions as quickly as reasonably possible. all these data points from the market will give you the confidence needed to keep going full steam.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

  1. Prioritize is everything
  2. You need a fantastic team
  3. Green tea has caffeine in it

(Want to be profiled? Just fill out your Vator profile and we'll find you! Or you can email newsroom@vator.tv)

Image Description

Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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RidePal

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Provide a flexible, social, enjoyable and eco-friendly commute through time-shared wi-fi enabled shuttles.

Businesses or riders only pay for the capacity they need.

Riders get convenient commuting options and put their commute time to use. RidePal makes commuters happier.

Companies can extend their recruiting range, better retain employees and increase productivity. There is a diminushing return after a few buses, which can be reduced if buses are shared.

Also the more buses the more overhead in managing the program. Google has a full time team of several people to manage the program. For other companies, this was the reason why they dropped the program.

Transportation companies achieve more revenue and efficient utilization of their vehicles.

Market Size

Total Addressable market in the US is $1bn in revenue across all top 20 markets (> $500M in profit) -

We believe that there is also an opportunity internationally

Other trends that are helpful (see LA deep dive in uploaded documents, private space)

  • Companies organized in clusters (usually by vertical)
  • Residential areas organized in clusters too (societal change, people tend to gather up with like-minded people, similar education background, similar professional aptitude, etc...)
  • outdated public transportation networks and very expensive to adapt. Not matching current commuting patterns
  • Huge traffic issues
  • A lot of alternative transportation models already deployed in those areas and are changing people's driving habit, showing that the idea that 'Americans just want to drive' may be no longer true
  • Prioritized market and urban areas based on these configurations, usually leading to very congested roads + total number of commuters that drive alone to work today
  • We have already received inquiries from Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles
  • Urban areas with these characteristics represent $1bn in revenue for RidePal sustainably

 

Customer Problem: Companies have a hard time recruiting remote top talent because of a long Commute. They pay a 20% premium on salaries to compensate, or become a high cost transportation agency to remain competitive. Commuting is the daily task most injurious to happiness for people and present serious health risks. This forces people to make suboptimal personal and professional decisions.

 

Product/Services: RidePal pools demand across companies for shared buses with a turnkey solution. Using real-time ridership data, its route planning technology keeps the routes relevant and efficient for both riders and transportation companies. Social features personalize the experience and build tight communities around each shuttle. Ancillary services organized around RidePal hubs and buses increase loyalty and profitability.

 

Sales/Marketing Strategy: Seed: direct to Premium Plan companies as anchor  to cover Bus Minimums – neighboring companies on Professional Plan to ride along. There is therefore no need for companies to collaborate, they sign up with RidePal to buy seats or Rides as a professional plan, and Premium can create routes (and easily share cost with employeesm later further discounting themselves as they accept to share their shuttles). Create pull among Riders. Scale: Viral nature of product, HR  outsourcing/recruiting firms.  Distribution via WageWorks and CommuterChecks, on-bus branding, online advertising, local radio, word of mouth, online and social advertising and earned media.

 

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Nathalie Criou

Joined Vator on

Co-Founder and CEO of RidePal - Google Shuttles for the rest of us