Founder Tawheed Abdul-Raheem told Innovation Destination Hartford about what makes his startup innovative and discussed what he hopes to gain from participating in the accelerator.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Describe your company. What makes it innovative?
TAWHEED ABDUL-RAHEEM: tripBuddy Inc. is a carpooling startup with the sole mission of reducing the number of cars on the road during peak commute times. We have developed a custom algorithm that optimally matches users who live or commute on the same route lines and pair them together. Our ride matching platform helps users save on commute costs and reduces their carbon footprint on the planet.
IDH: When and why did you start your company?
TAWHEED: The story behind tripBuddy dates back to 2008 when I arrived in the United States to study for my undergraduate degree. There were multiple occasions when I needed to leave my undergraduate campus to go to the store, but realized that transportation such as the college shuttle was unreliable.
Most of those times I would find many other students at the store as well, but I was too shy to ask for a ride. I wished a platform existed to connect me to other students. This encouraged me to devote my senior thesis to the creation of an application that would effectively track his campus shuttle bus.
Fast forward a few years, I was faced with a less than optimal situation once more, having to commute about an hour and a half each way daily to get to my new job in a city a bit too far from home. This transportation experience, along with many others, led to the development of tripBuddy in 2016. The application intends to facilitate commuting and ride sharing for those who do not wish to take a train for two hours.
The tripBuddy family hopes to engage users, drivers, and riders to hopefully one day contribute to the reduction of traffic.
IDH: Why did you become involved in reSET Accelerator program?
TAWHEED: We got involved in the reSET Accelerator program because we looking for a launch pad to accelerate our growth and get us in front of decision makers. Additionally, we felt the program would provide us with much needed resources and networking opportunities an early-stage company needs.
IDH: In what ways is your company making a social impact?
TAWHEED: The goal of tripBuddy is to minimize commuter traffic and present a platform for commuters to meet, while riding together. The backbone to tripBuddy is the riders and drivers, so our role is to provide the most efficient medium for these interactions to occur—all while improving commuter/travel time and expenditure. Our company creates more human-to-human interaction, while also reducing costs, like many other companies have done in recent years.
IDH: What has been your biggest challenge as a startup?
TAWHEED: Our biggest challenges thus far have been the fact we are still relatively new and our lack of connections to key decision makers in big firms to help drive our message.
IDH: What resources do you need most to move your company forward?
TAWHEED: They say cash is king in the startup world. We are looking to raise a seed round to boost our reach and create brand awareness.
IDH: Any advice for other startups?
TAWHEED: Sales is a numbers game—to increase your chances of success, make sure you reach out to a ton of potential customers.
Learn more about tripBuddy Inc.
Find out more about startups participating in the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator: