Sydney-based airport transport startup Jayride raises $8 million to grow its US operations


Jayride co-founder Rod Bishop. Source:Supplied.

Sydney-based airport transport startup Jayride has raised $8 million in funding as it looks to expand further into the US market off the back of a $1.5 million raise in January this year.

Jayride aggregates transportation options like ride-sharing services, taxis and rental cars, providing a single platform where users can find transport from the airport to their destination so they can avoid trumped-up taxi fares and added stresses when on holiday overseas.

“Travellers often have a lot of problems when they are travelling,” Jayride co-founder Rod Bishop tells StartupSmart

“We thought, ‘how do we collect the information to solve those problems for the traveller and tell them everything they need to know.” 

The funding round was led by $50 million venture capital fund Follow[the]Seed and Artesian, as well as crowdfunding platform VentureCrowd and Rimon Group, according to the company, which also raised $1.5 million with contributions from Follow[the]Seed in January this year.

Jayride has now raised $13 million since it was launched in 2012, and will be using the latest funds to further expand operations in the US, where it launched its offerings in 2015. Bishop says the US market already accounts for over 50% of Jayride’s business, where it now services 250 airports and has partnerships with international travel brands including Rome2Rio, Amadeus, Flight Centre, Skyscanner and Expedia.

Bishop says the startup is tripling in revenue and users each year, currently servicing 400 airports in Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK and Ireland, and sees “hundreds of thousands” of passengers using the service per year.

Jayride is now “working fast towards an IPO” and will have more to share on this in the future, Bishop says.

“Your shareholders are your best friends”

Bishop has said in the past that founders should be prepared for rejection when approaching investors, but Jayride managed to achieve success in this raise by engaging existing shareholders — such as Follow[the]Seed partner Andrey Shirbin, who previously contributed to a $400,000 funding round for the startup in 2012 — and maintaining strong investor relationships.

Bishop suggests other startups looking to raise should be “really engaging with the existing shareholder base and continuing to build a strong base”, because they can “create a growth plan together” and provide key sources of ongoing funding.

“Your shareholders are your best friends when it comes to raising funds,” he says, because they “can see the investment in previous rounds has come good”.

“Raising money from investors is really a matchmaking process — if you can find someone who sees and values the world in the way you do, it’s a great match for an investment partner,” Bishop adds.

Going global from day one

Jayride intends to use the latest cash injection to expand its ground transport offerings in the US market in the short term, and will then look at entering “new regions around the world including Europe,” according to Bishop.

Jayride currently has a team of 60 in offices in Sydney, the Philippines and Ukraine, but Bishop says any expansion into international markets is still done from the company’s Sydney headquarters.

It’s a real strength of Jayride that we can run [our international operations] remotely — we like having our head office in Sydney,” he says. 

“Sydney is a great place to work, it has world-class engineers, a great talent pool that can attract international talent.” 

However, the startup isn’t “even considering opening physical offices” when it looks to expand into Europe, says Bishop. Instead, Jayride will seek to partner with ground transport services in the region and managing their operation remotely.

Bishop says Australia’s remoteness and relatively small size can “actually be a strength” because it means startups are pushed to go global from day one.

“Australia is a small country at the end of the day,” he says. 

“What it means is from the get-go, if you take a global outlook then you’ll learn the discipline of running a remote international company.”

“If you look at the successful Australian tech businesses, they are not limited by geography. They are location independent, and it’s a thing you need to be conscious about starting business in Australia.

“It’s a strength — if you can learn those skills from day one that puts you in a really strong position on the world stage.”

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