Startup News & Analysis

Unfazed by competitors, female-focused ride sharing startup Shebah expands nationally

Dominic Powell /

After launching on International Women’s Day last year, female-only ride-sharing service Shebah now has operations in all states of Australia, just weeks away from the startup’s one year anniversary.

Having already been operational in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, the company announced this week it had begun to roll out service offerings in Hobart, Canberra, Darwin and Adelaide.

Shebah founder, comedian, and former broadcaster George McEncroe founded the startup after noticing how concerned women remained about safety when travelling in traditional ride-sharing options such as Uber. The service also provides rides for children, but boys outside of primary school age must be accompanied by their mother or guardian.

The goal of Shebah is “guaranteed safety for all passengers, equal opportunity for our drivers, and comfortable rides that raise the industry standard”. It has completed over 15,000 trips with more than 800 drivers on the road, with that number set to increase after its expansion.

“Our youngest driver is 22 and our oldest driver is 72. It’s a cracking team. We’ve got transgender drivers, we’ve got drivers with disabilities, drivers who have stepped out of really high-ranking CEO worlds, we’ve got academics, writers, poets, actors, drivers who live in the burbs and raising a couple of kids. It’s a really mixed group,” McEncroe told Fritz.

At Shebah’s launch, market incumbent Uber was the main rideshare operator in Australia, alongside outliers such as GoCatch and Hop. However, less than a year later, two more ridesharing giants have rolled out Down Under, with Estonian company Taxify and Indian company Ola establishing a presence.

Despite this, McEncroe told The Australian this week that the other players in the ride-sharing market were still not addressing the needs of women.

“We’re doing something really different. It’s a bit of a wake-up call that other services haven’t been responsive enough, there’s a growing resentment to the 60 per cent passengers of Ubers and cabs, who are women and who want a safer option,” she said.

“Families are under a huge amount of stress and it’s a ridiculous notion that if you’ve got two parents at home, there’s a 1950s Carol Brady-type person who can always run the kids to and from football.”

The Australian also reports the company is seeing 35% month on month growth and is hoping to be launched in New Zealand by March 8.

NOW READ: Indian ride-sharing giant Ola announces Australian launch: Here are all the Uber competitors in Australia

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is the lead reporter at StartupSmart.

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