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“Brave enough to try”: How Jayride’s IPO propelled it into a wild new phase of global growth

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Jayride

Jayride founder and chief Rod Bishop. Source: Supplied.

Going public is paying off in spades for Sydney startup Jayride, which has expanded into more than 60 additional countries since listing on the ASX in January last year.

Founded by Rod Bishop in 2012, Jayride is a platform allowing travellers to book airport transfer services from local providers, ahead of time.

The Sydney-based startup raised $1.5 million in March 2017, and $8 million in September the same year.

Jayride also raised about $700,000 in equity crowdfunding. After it listed, it became the first equity crowdfunded startup to allow investors to exit, offering them 108% returns.

Currently, Jayride has a market cap of $23.6 million.

Speaking to StartupSmart, Bishop says when Jayride was a private company, it was operating in five countries.

Now, it’s expanded to 69, spanning every continent.

It’s operational at 1,500 airports globally and has some 3,500 ground-transport partner companies on the platform.

Jayride also has partnerships in place with the likes of Flight Centre, Expedia and Skyscanner, as well as with fellow Aussie startup Rome2Rio, and is processing a total of about 1,000 passenger trips every day.

This rapid expansion has been more than three years in the making, Bishop says.

“But, it was only last year that we had the technology we required,” he explains.

Back in 2016, Jayride was seeing “very big success” in the US, the founder says.

At the time, he told his team he wanted to replicate that success in 180 more countries.

“The company essentially said ‘you’re mad’.”

In order to scale the platform to such an extent Jayride had to effectively re-architect its whole platform.

“The pre-IPO and IPO raised the capital for us to build the platform and do the expansion. And, by and large, we’ve done it,” Bishop says.

“In 2018 we launched the technology, and now in 2019 … the first chapter of our global rollout is now complete.”

“They want it to work everywhere”

For Bishop, it was important to roll out in as many countries as possible as quickly as possible, simply to meet customer demand.

He recalls an incident with an elderly couple who had been using Jayride to book all their airport transfers on their multi-stop round-the-world trip.

When in Sydney, the couple happened to be staying in a hotel opposite the Jayride offices, he says.

“They went to the internet to try to book Jayride in Fiji, and at that time, we weren’t live in Fiji,” Bishop explains.

“Rather than assume that we weren’t there … they walked across the street to our offices to book it with our receptionist.”

This was an eyeopener for Bishop.

“Travellers, once they’ve got something that works, they want it to work everywhere.”

However, actually getting the expansion underway wasn’t as easy as just getting on the phone to every airport transport company in the world and asking them to join the platform.

If it was, “it would have been done before”, Bishop says.

Once the startup had technology that was scalable it had to make it work for small-business owners.

Jayride allows companies to represent themselves, their vehicles and their prices in whatever way they please.

“It doesn’t matter how you run your business … we will present you in the best possible light,” Bishop explains.

For the businesses, “it’s typically the first time they’ve ever heard a pitch like that”, he says.

Jayride has also partnered with PayPal-owned payments platform Hyperwallet to ensure it can pay transfer providers quickly and, crucially, in their own currency.

“We have to make sure we’re treating transport companies in the way they want to be treated,” Bishop says.

“Paying them in their country and in their currency without ludicrous fees, and making sure they actually have good business coming through Jayride, with terms they like.”

In small businesses “cashflow is often king”, he adds.

“If we can be the best at remitting to them, then they’re more inclined to work with us as opposed to anyone else.”

“Brave enough to try”

Having seen Jayride through early growth and capital raising, listing on the ASX, and the monumental growth that came afterwards, Bishop’s role as founder and chief has changed exponentially since he launched in 2012.

When it comes to adapting to such growth, he says the trick is to think big from the beginning and to remain confident about what the future could hold.

“Don’t be afraid,” he says.

“If you know what the future is going to look like, don’t be afraid to hold that long-term view and to go and get stuck into making it happen.”

For any startup founder, small problems will demand your attention on a daily basis.

“Always try to put them into context of something that’s bigger and longer term,” Bishop advises.

And, talk about your big vision and the long-term strategy, even if it seems like it’s a long way away.

“If you can see it and you can communicate it and you can make it happen, that’s catalysing for people,” Bishop says.

“That’s the sort of thing others can rally behind, and want to get stuck into themselves.”

This kind of confidence doesn’t always come naturally, especially to founders from Australia and New Zealand, the founder notes.

Here, founders “tend to be a bit modest, a bit shy”, he adds.

“We needn’t be.”

For Bishop, there’s no reason why the best company in any given industry couldn’t come out of Australia.

“We can do if only we’re brave enough to try.”

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is the editor at StartupSmart. You can contact her at [email protected].

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