Ride-share company Aryvve in expansion modeSunday, April 25, 2021
BY KELLARAY MILES
As the ride-share industry heats up with companies seeking to bring additional offerings to market, local firm Aryvve Limited says it is now fine-tuning plans to undertake a full expansion of its services locally and regionally.
The company, which was launched in 2019 and went live last year, was developed to bridge gaps in the market and provide transport for tourists along the island's north coast.
With an intention to provide tourism-centric travel, along with other general services to the Corporate Area starting next month, the company is also seeking to create more opportunities for hackney and tour operators.
Through an existing partnership with local operators, the company already has some 80 drivers registered to its platform and is hoping to add another 500 shortly.
“In our plans we always had an intention to expand to Kingston, and based on our research, we saw over 300,000 clients within the Kingston and Greater Portmore area that we feel would want to use this service,” said Aryvve CEO Ray Lee in an interview with the Jamaica Observer last week.
“The investment in the first phase of this expansion will be a little over US$100,000, but as we continue to onboard more drivers, moving from 500 to 1,000 and to 1,500, then we will incrementally invest more funds to support that growth,” he told Sunday Finance.
The company, which currently operates from the Island Village complex in Ocho Rios, St Ann, and a base at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, said that it will also secure new office space for its corporate operations, expected to be located somewhere in or around the busy Half-Way-Tree area.
With business steadily increasing since the restart of tourism on the island after the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company is anticipating improved top-line growth.
“What we saw with COVID was business becoming flatlined, but as things started to progress up north in terms of the vaccinations, we have started to see advance bookings. The numbers have been trending up and in the right direction, and we are now seeing some strong figures going into the summer, so we are upbeat about that,” Lee said.
“We want to grow by at least 30 per cent based on what we are seeing, and then move towards a 50 per cent growth,” Lee added, noting that the company was looking at a minimum of three to five trips a day per driver to fuel these projections.
He also plans to take the company public in order to acquire additional capital to fund its growth objectives.
“Within the next three to five years we are looking to take the company public and following that we will move to undertake other expansions in the Caribbean,” he said, indicating that countries such as Trinidad, Barbados, and Antigua, among others in the region, have already expressed an interest in welcoming the service.
The Aryvve app, which replicates some features of the model used by global ride-share Uber, allows clients to download the app from anywhere in the world and book their rides for any occasion. With Uber recently announcing plans to enter the local market, Lee sees this as not only a big move for the sector but also as welcomed competition for his company.
He, however, said that Aryvve's operations would differ, in that his company will only work with certified drivers approved by transport sector authorities. He cited robust training regimes along with strict standards for driver-customer relations as being atop the distinguishing features that would set his business apart.
“We want to elevate and really be the new way for transportation in Jamaica,” he said. “We feel that this industry has been largely underserved over the last 50 years. With the use of increased technology we want to become the trendsetter and innovator responsible for taking the sector to the next level as we seek to limit traffic congestion and also provide safe and monitored transport services to travellers.”
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